brilliant bash

top party possibilities

Brilliant Bash: Ladies’ Afternoon Tea September 30, 2011

A friend of mine recently became a Mary Kay consultant.  To help support her in her new venture, and to find a fun way to get us girls together on a weekend day, I planned a Ladies’ Afternoon Tea.  And who am I kidding?  I just love entertaining!

This was a low-key afternoon affair, so I didn’t go all-out with decor and such.  I kept it simple with some tasty treats and colour coordinated flowers and napkins (pink, for Mary Kay, of course).

I set up my butler’s pantry with tea mugs and assorted teas.  The dining room table was the place to be, with tea biscuits, jams and spreads, cucumber sandwiches, fancy cupcakes, and buttercream dipped doughnuts (coloured in pink food colouring to go with the Mary Kay theme).

Tea Time

Assorted Delights

Tea for Five

Cupcakes and Tea Biscuits

DIY Dipped Doughnuts (Easy!)

Mary Kay Magic

Sunday Afternoon Splendour

It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon with friends: treats, makeup, lots of hot tea, and sun pouring in through the windows.  Maxin’ relaxin’.

Cupcake liners and napkins via Brilliant Bash.

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The Latest: Interactive Refreshment Stations March 27, 2011

One of the trends that is gaining quick popularity this year is the presence of interactive food and drink stations at special events.

Not only can these stations add visual interest to an event, they also add a participatory element to your guests’ experience, inviting them to “make their own” cupcakes, fondue, bagels, cocktails, etc.  Interactive refreshment stations allow your guests to customize their food/drinks to their own personal tastes.  And who doesn’t love that?

Some fabulous examples to inspire you:

Custom Bagel Bar (via Luna and Chloe Weddings):

Bagel Bar: Guests can make their own breakfast bagels

Fondue “Fundo” Party (via Amy Atlas Special Events):

Fondue Party: Fun and tasty for your guests

Smoothie Bar (via Hip Hooray Blog):

DIY: Smoothie Bar


Art Birthday with DIY Food Palettes (via Hostess Blog):


Art Party: Make your own food "palette"

Brunch Birthday (via The Sweetest Occasion):

Interactive Pancake Station

Customized Pancakes

Baking Party Birthday (via Amy Atlas Events):

Baking Party: Fun for all ages

S’Mores Spectacular (via Cookie Creatives):

Decadent DIY S'Mores Station

DIY Ice Dream Parlour (via Eat Drink Chic):

Pink & Pretty Ice Cream Parlour

Choose your own toppings!

Champagne Bar (via Eat Drink Pretty):

DIY Mimosas & Bellinis

These interactive food/drink stations are so much fun.  If you plan to try this concept at one of your events, make sure you have the time/staff to clean up the station periodically, as guests can often be very messy.  It would also be wise to have a helper nearby to assist small children and older guests who need help with the station.

I can’t wait to see the new ideas that come with spring and summer entertaining this year!

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Valentine’s Day Inspiration February 9, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen some adorable ideas for Valentine’s Day weddings and home entertaining, so this is a round-up of my favourite heart-shaped inspiration:

From One Charming Party

Valentine's Pizza

From Martha Stewart Living

Heart-Shaped Cuteness

From Audrey’s Edible Creations

Pretty, simple way to use a heart on your wedding treats

Heart-Shaped Table Numbers

Creative Touch

And from The Sweetest Occasion

Lovey Dovey Whoopies

These are all very simple projects to create at home.  Please post your Valentine’s project pics on our Facebook page and share the love!

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Brilliant Bash: Game Night February 6, 2011

Last night, we hosted a Game Night for a small group of friends.  I had so much fun planning this one, as I didn’t get too crazy with the details.  For decor inspiration, I looked to one of my favourite entertaining books, InStyle Parties, which has a great section on game nights.

Game Night!

Stack 'o' Games

Cozy Times

The colour scheme was red, black and white, with a black and white polka dot motif throughout (inspired by dice).  My husband’s grandmother gave us a beautiful vase from Pottery Barn for our wedding that has a small vase within the vase, which allowed me to jazz up the flowers while incorporating the party theme.  I placed dice and domino tiles inside the outer vase, while flowers and water were inside the inner vase.  Strategic placing of Scrabble tiles, playing cards, poker chips, and black and white polka dot cupcake wrappers helped to pull the theme together throughout the room, without creating too much work.

Poker Pedestal

Fun & Prizes

We wanted a casual, laid-back atmosphere, so I didn’t go so far as to include any hot items on the menu.  Most of the food was purchased from a grocery store, with the exception of the gluten-free domino brownies that I baked and decorated.  I also decorated the chocolate-stuffed shortbreads with red cookie icing in order to tie in the game theme.

Tasty Delights

Queen of Candies

Treat Tower

Cookie Close-up

Chips & Dips

Doughnut Tower

Poker Chips & Polka Dots

From the Top


Domino Brownies


More Brownie Action


Cheese Please


Even the vases are in on the game action


Treat Table

My husband created a cocktail menu with a die next to each beverage listing.  Guests rolled the die to determine which cocktail he would create next.  Very cute idea.  He also mixed a hot drink of apple cider and Pimm’s Winter, garnished with a dried apple slice.  As a non-alcoholic alternative, we offered milk in cute little milk jugs with black and white polka dot straws.  Yum!


Polka Dot Milk

Fun Times!

Game Night was not a lot of work to design, but was so much fun to plan and participate in.  It’s also seasonally appropriate, as the weather in Toronto is brutally cold and snowy right now, so it’s a great time to cozy up by the fire and enjoy a few cocktails and boardgames with friends.  Hot toddy, anyone?

Photos by Brilliant Bash

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Bash Planning: Candy Cane Christmas December 12, 2010

I have finally accepted the fact that I will not be hosting a holiday celebration this year.  Between friends’ Christmas parties and then flying home to spend the holidays with my family and friends, there just isn’t a free night to host a bash.

If I were to host a party during the yule this year, I would opt for a candy cane motif.  To start off the theme, I would order the “Christmas Candyland” printables created by Bird Crafts Shop.

Candyland Christmas by Bird Crafts Shop

Treats would consist of classic chocolate whoopie pies with candy cane sprinkles (recipe here), striped and polka dotted bags of chips and popcorn, skewers of tomato and bocconcini, and a red and white striped ruffle cake.  These are fairly easy to make, and tie in the red and white theme.

Candy Cane Whoopie

Tasty Treats

Tomato & Bocconcini Skewers

For refreshments, I would set-up a milk, eggnog, and spiked eggnog station for guests, using small milk jugs and stripey red paper straws as well as red polka dot paper straws.

Red Stripey Paper Straws

Red Polka Dot Paper Straws

Guest favours would be large, swirly red and white lollipops – fun!  You can find these in-store at Indigo and Chapters.

Guest Favours

I may not host a Christmas party this time around, but there’s always next year.  Have a lovely holiday!

Photos Courtesy of Bird Crafts Shop, Crave Indulge Satisfy, Furey and the Feast, Brilliant Bash.

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Brilliant Bash: Custom Bagel Bar November 26, 2010

Kristi from Luna and Chloe Weddings recently created a custom bagel bar in her home as an homage to a favourite snack she enjoyed in her college days.  What a fun, simple, and inexpensive idea this could be for a breakfast/brunch event or business meeting!  And guests love choosing their own toppings.  Yum.  I love the idea of adding a small grill on the side of the table for guests who prefer to heat up their sandwich creations.  A toaster, freshly squeezed juices or smoothies,  and some bubbly mimosas would also be welcome additions to this breakfast spread.

Custom Bagel Bar by Luna and Chloe Weddings

Gooood Morning!

Fresh and Fun


Yummy Toppings

Eat your greens!

Tasty Savoury Pies


Kristi's College Fave

This is what Kristi had to say about her bagel bar:

When I was in college (in a small Southern Illinois town), we used to head down to the strip on Friday and Saturday nights.  Well, sometimes Thursday too.  Anyway, each night on the main corner of the strip was the Bagel Man.  Man, did we love this guy!  Even more so after a night of drinking and dancing.  He was always there with his charcoal Weber grill and a little stand that attached to the side of it with bagels for sale.  And not just any bagels – oh no – these were bagels that were thrown on the grill and topped with just about anything you could imagine.  One of my faves was a bagel with cream cheese, fresh chives, cucumber slices and sunflower seeds.  Makes me sound so healthy…not so much anymore.  To this day, I want to open a bagel cart!  What a money maker it would be – in the mornings head into the corporate area, and in the evenings to the bars.  I have even tried to talk Mr. Big into it…who knows, maybe one day I’ll be on the corner selling bagels (hehe).

So this is where my inspiration came from!  While my little set-up is inside, with no Weber grill in site, it still is a bagel bar.  How perfect would this be at the end of a wedding?  Or on the morning of the big day for the bridal party?  Or for an after the wedding brunch the next day…you get the picture.  Even though mine was quite simple, I would go bigger for a real event, and include bacon, pancetta, fresh mozzarella, scrambled eggs, ham, and more…and of course the bagels would be grilled.

See more of Kristi’s great ideas at Luna and Chloe Weddings.

Images Courtesy of Luna and Chloe Weddings

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Brilliant Bash: Ladies & Gentlemen’s Evening Affair November 24, 2010

So, my birthday bash took place this past weekend – and it was a blast!  The theme was “Ladies & Gentlemen: An Evening Affair,” with a houndstooth and lace motif.  Our guests glammed it up and sported fancy dresses, suits, and darling hats and gloves.  So much fun.  My husband created a cocktail menu for the evening (thank you!), we planned some Victorian parlour games, and there were lots of tasty snacks to go around.

Cocktails and Parlour Games


Yes, indeeeed

For the Ladies

For the Gents

I made a ruffle cake for the first time (see a tutorial from My Sweet and Saucy), crafted a houndstooth-esque gluten-free cake, moulded and decorated moustache and lip-shaped sugar cookies, prepared cucumber sandwiches, ordered custom chocolate-dipped oreos from Sweeties by Kim, and picked up some fancy flavours of Miss Vickie’s chips.  Deeelightful!

My first attempt at a ruffle cake

Custom Chocolate Dipped Oreos by Sweeties


Fun Cookies

Pink Ruffle Cake for the Ladies

Houndstooth Cake for the Gents

Table from the side


Close-up on the pink, black and white

Ladies & Gents Table Spread

Ready for the Bash!

I printed the alphabet cake bunting from Tom Kat Studio, picked up houndstooth wallpaper from Hallmark (which served as a table runner, backdrop and vase wrapper), and doilies and pretty napkins from the local dollar store.  I printed, twirled and taped patterned paper cones (in order to jazz up the chips), and used cupcake liners as tea sandwich wrappers.  I also cut out cardstock moustaches, lips, bows and top hats and glued them onto wooden skewers for the houndstooth photo booth.  But I’ll save that for another post.  Phewf!  I loved designing this bash and hope you enjoy the photos.  You can see more images from the party on my Facebook page.  Thank you for visiting!

Photo Booth Fun!

Photos by Brilliant Bash

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