For my Winter look this year, I used black, gold and Venetian masks to decorate the house. At the same time, I was preparing for the tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras around the world! Last year, we had an Austrian focus, and this year we celebrated Venetian style!
I carried the color scheme and masks throughout the rest of the house for my Winter decor look.
The dining room standard decor features our collection of Venetian masks as well as our Italy artwork. The symbol of Venice is the lion, so it is fitting that the arm chairs and table pedestals feature lions. For the chairs, I alternated using the black and gold seats and pads. (I love having the ability to customize my chair colors to the themes).
I reused some of my decor items from last year, but made adjustments and added a few new things. I found the Lion head elevated platters at Zgallerie last year, however they are no longer available. I know some people think I am crazy for planning so far in advance, but if I didn’t I would miss out on interesting pieces and sales!
The featured arrangements are black ostrich feathers in 28″ black glass Eiffel Tower vases. I fill the vase with black pebbles to stabilize them. Using floral clay I secure a floral foam bouquet holder to make building the feather arrangement quick and easy. I started by placing beaded runners down the table center. After centering the feather arrangement on a square black plate, I place two lady’s face masks at the base to give it more scale and impact. I then place the lion head platters equidistant from the center. I make an arrangement using black hydrangea (removing the stems) and allium spheres around a gold mirror mosaic candle, finished with small feather clumps. Leaving another gap, I then place an arrangement of two men’s Bauta masks, small allium spares and black votives. I place some feathers to fill the gap between the masks and give a little more flair.
Between the gaps on the runner, I use large votive candles and around the lion platters, I use a smaller version. Black round placemats provide a backdrop to the chargers. (They also look nice and keep the table clean as plates are changed throughout a meal service.) Gold flatware and black wine and water glasses finish the place settings. I tucked the black napkins into the water glass to keep it clean and simple. On the side chests flanking the fireplace, I stage a 3/4 feather arrangements centered on the mirror. At the base, I use a black placement, two large allium spheres, black hydrangea, two black votives, and a black ladies feather mask. On the opposite side of the room on the side table, I use another lion head elevated plate arrangement to fill the space below the masks on the wall.
The party planning begins with a Save the Date Evite sent many months in advance. Once people indicate their interest and availability, in December they receive a gift bag containing the full invitation as well as their masks. It lets them know about the event, how to prepare, sets the stage, and builds the excitement!
After my events, I like to make memory books. So, before the party starts, I take a photo of each wine, coffee, and the party favor.
The caterers use the kitchen, dining and bar areas for service. I do my best to get everything prepped for them providing written instructions for each course with wine pairing, course dishes and flatware, and organize glassware to help them with a smooth service. Having the event catered allows me to enjoy the evening along with my guests! We are blessed to have a great catering company nearby and the Chef and servers are top notch! Experienced servers give the added benefit of low stress for me. If your budget does not allow for catering, consider hiring local high schoolers to help you out and elevate the experience for everyone!
Once I have everything prepped, I get myself ready and dressed for the evening!
As the party will take place in the Foyer, Living, and Dining rooms, I move some furniture and add chairs. We start the evening by greeting the guests and getting couples’ photos in front of the table decor. Guests are provided with a drink, this year a Bellini of course, before taking a seat in the living room for the live music concert. This year we had piano and Italian opera!
Here are the appetizers served during the concert. So tasty!
In the dining room, I add place settings to each end of the table as we were twelve. I made and placed individual menus providing notes on history, each course, wine pairings, coffee and dessert. I also add name place cards. These are simple ways to elevate the experience and make guests feel they are royalty! I light the candles and place their party favors on the side table, so I remember to give them as they leave. This year, in keeping with the theme, they received a Limoncello scented candle and chocolates. This will allow them to remember the evening in the future!
After appetizers and the concert, we move into the dining room. The chargers are removed as are our masks to allow for an evening of conversation, a four course Italian meal, with piano playing in the background.
It was a wonderful evening of amazing entertainment, fabulous food, dramatic decor to fit the theme, and what makes it all worthwhile is sharing it with great people!
I hope you are inspired to try something new in your decor this winter. Consider decorating with a Venetian theme and maybe even throw a Carnevale party!
Happy New Year!
Be sure to follow my blog for more seasonal decor ideas – Spring is not far away!
Such beautiful decor (professionally planned and executed), fabulous food, fascinating conversation, attentive service, and lovely music! Thank you!
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This was a truly exquisite party. Not many opportunities to dress up and have such a wonderful evening. Definitely an occasion to remember. Every aspect was carefully thought out and beautifully executed.
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Natasha and myself were privileged to provide the musical entertainment and background for this beautiful dinner event. (Natasha sang a program of Italian opera while I provided accompaniment and piano background for dinner). The decor and table settings were amazing!
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