Posts Tagged ‘party planning’

Celebrate with Kate Landers: Pink & Gray Bridal Shower

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Pink & Gray Themed Bridal Shower from Layla Grayce
Styling and Photography: Kate Landers

Working in the high-end stationery industry together, the bride Jessica and I often helped brides and their families design extraordinary invitations for their weddings and the surrounding festivities. Jess and I would dream of what we envisioned for our events when the time came for us to say our “I Do’s”. I always told Jess that I wanted to throw her one darling bridal shower. Fast-forward a decade, and I finally had my chance to make good on my promise! I could not have been more delighted to do so.

She was going for an overall “rustic” feel, so I incorporated a whitewashed wood backdrop and large wooden crate with rope handles as the centerpiece of the dining table. A simple pink heart served as the symbol of love, keeping a romantic feel at the event.

It thrills me to share a few shower details with you. Please use these notes as inspiration for your bridal shower, engagement party or day-after-wedding brunch!

  1. Color Scheme: Using the color scheme of the wedding is a great way to tie in pre and post-wedding events to the Big Day. This is certainly not a requirement, but in my case, I loved Jess’ pink and gray color-scheme, and decided to use it for the bridal shower as well. Feel free to throw in an additional color, like a pop of gold or mint green, to make the colors of your event unique and current, all while honoring the bride and groom’s chosen colors.
  2. Theme: Bridal shower themes do not need to be highly detailed and elaborate. Knowing Jess wanted a rustic yet romantic look for her wedding, I chose a simple pink heart for the romantic element and whitewashed wood (for backdrop and centerpiece) for something rustic. Thematic elements can be incorporated through the invitation and printed designs, as well as in the desserts and hanging decor.
  3. Menu: A bridal tea was my initial plan, but Jess doesn’t like tea or traditional cake, so I decided I needed to come up with something unique that Jess would love. I opted for an afternoon of “Sips and Sweets”, which turned out to be just perfect. A mid-afternoon shower does not call for a large meal, and so I served fresh fruit kabobs, lots of iced summer beverages and several desserts (including the bride’s favorite, cupcakes!) for guests to nibble on while doting on the bride.
  4. Activities: We had a very small, intimate lingerie shower, which kept the gift-opening portion of the shower short and sweet. I had all of the guests hold up their lingerie gifts and pose in a group photo at the end. It was just hysterical, and I highly recommend it. My grandmother threw me a lingerie shower (yes, it’s true!), and when we had her and her “golden girls” hold up their lacy and racy gifts, it was a photo to always remember. We also played a “How Well Do You Know Jess?” game, which is lots of fun for the bride and guests alike, and Bridal Shower Bingo. Having a couple simple, optional activities can be surprisingly fun and create an afternoon full of laughs.
  5. Party Favors: Guests enjoyed fresh cotton candy (made and shipped just 24 hours before the shower!) as their take-home treat and little gable boxes to fill with sweet treats from the dessert table. I always recommend edible favors because they are often greatly appreciated by the guests. And if your guests are headed to a night on the town for a bachelorette party after the shower (as mine were), these sweets are much-appreciated treats throughout the night!



Celebrate with Kate: Event Photography Tips With Expert Lee of Lee Bird Photography

Children's Birthday Party Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Tips for Candid Photography at Kids Birthday Parties by Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Photography Tips for Kids Birthday Parties at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Event Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Photography Tips for Theme Birthday Parties at Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Candid Birthday Party Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Gorgeous Event Photography Tips at Layla GrayceStyling: Boutique Affairs Photography: Lee Bird Photography

Tips for Photographing a Child's Birthday Party at Layla GrayceStyling: Avie & Lulu Photography: Lee Bird Photography

It’s Kate here again, thrilled to share with you fabulous tips on photographing your celebrations! I had the privilege of chatting with one of the most talented event photographers in the business, Lee Bird of Lee Bird Photography, and she had plenty of great advice to share with you. Plus, we have included plenty of her photos to give you lots of inspiration and a little eye candy.

First, a lovely introduction to Lee Bird. Lee is mother to two beautiful young girls, Mia and Zoe, whom she refers to as her inspirations and muses. An editor of a travel magazine, Lee has allowed her passion for photography to flourish.

After the birth of her first daughter Mia, she began photographing her constantly. She continually practiced, learned much and soon realized she needed more variety, inspiration and different subjects. She then began taking photographs for friends, and from there her new business blossomed. Lee turned to mentor Wende Whitfield Trew of Timeless Image Photography, who graciously shared a wealth of information.

Lee absolutely loves her job, and enjoys learning and growing as both a business owner and photographer. She currently focuses on family, newborn, events and food styling photography, all of which she truly savors.

When asked to name a favorite or stand-out party she has photographed, Lee said it is simply too hard to select just one. I am absolutely thrilled she has shared so many images for us to enjoy!

Three Pieces of Advice To Improve Your Event Photography

These questions are geared for non-professionals who aspire to capture better pictures of personal parties using a digital SLR camera.

Q: Is lighting important in event photography? What do you suggest for providing the best light for your event photos?

A: Lighting is important in ANY photography. The ideal set-up for a dessert table is opposite a big window, which allows an even fall of light. Secondly, observe the spot carefully to determine during what time of day it receives the best light, and try schedule your photos around that time. You actually don’t want direct sunlight falling on the table or set-up, but instead a nice, even light that won’t cause harsh shadows.

It’s hard to specify the best shutter speed and aperture as it depends on the amount of light in the area. However, in an ideal situation, try keep your aperture around F/3.5 to f/5.6 and your shutter speed around 1/200 or higher (kids move fast and anything lower may cause a blur).

Q: What is your short list of shots parents should capture to ensure the most memorable moments of the party are caught on camera?


  • Child’s first reaction to seeing their party all set up
  • Child greeting guests and receiving gifts
  • Birthday song and blowing out candles
  • Party games and activities
  • Full shot of the dessert table
  • Close up of cake

Q: What is the best time to take shots of dessert tables, and what lens would you recommend using? Do you have any other simple tools that might make a big impact when trying to capture the details of the cookies, cakes, etc?

A: I would definitely recommend taking all the dessert table and event styling photos before guests arrive. You can even take them really early on and then put all perishables back in the fridge. I use my workhorse lens for the main images of the table – a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Most zoom lenses would work just great. For the close up shots I use a Tamron 90mm Macro lens which gives the most beautiful, crisp macro images. I have used a reflector in the past and it really helps lighten some of the shadows. If you don’t have a reflector, you can use a big piece of white cardboard or styrofoam to bounce some light into the shadows. Another trick I’ve utilized on really sunny days is having someone hold a big white sheet over the table so I don’t have harsh shadows or blown whites.

Five of Lee Bird’s Top Tips In Getting Better Event Photos

1. Capture even the small moments. Looking back, you’ll never regret getting those images of your child’s excitement upon her best friend’s arrival.

2. Try to achieve the best lighting possible. Help yourself out by preparing the light prior to the event so you’re not left floundering.

3. Avoid too many narrow stripes as they can go wonky in photos.

4. Avoid bright reds and yellows. They are difficult to photograph and process.

5. I am a stickler for straight horizontals in photos. I don’t enjoy extreme angles – more often than not it looks like that cookie plate or cupcake tower is sliding off the table and out of the photo. If you can’t fit it into the photo while it’s straight, take a few steps back until it does. You can always crop closer in post processing.

You can find Lee on her blog here, where you can learn more about her new event photography workshops. A tremendous thank you to Lee for sharing your expertise with us all!

Celebrate With Kate: Everyday “Hooray!” Moments

Kate Landers Ideas for Celebrating Everyday Moments @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Ruffled Cake Inspiration @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Paper and Bamboo Party Essentials @LaylaGrayceEvent design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

There are so many events in life, big and small, worth celebrating. This is Kate Landers, here to share with you a personal event, along with some tips on creating your own simple and unique party.

Our son Noah was diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly and torticollis as an infant, and underwent treatment including a helmet. You can read about our story here.

When Noah completed his physical therapy and helmet treatment, we decided to host a little celebration! You can also celebrate your own “Hooray!” moments, such as running in a charity race, performing in a recital or finishing a thesis, with very little prep time. Here’s how we did it:

1. Simple Decorations: In our light green and blue color scheme, we decided on two simple decorations for Noah’s party: Fluffy tissue poms on the cake table and surrounding floor (no need to hang from the ceiling with fishing line – this kept set up very quick) and a “Hooray for Noah!” garland.

2. Handmade Party Products: Handmade party products are on-trend, whether you craft them yourself or support your favorite handmade party business. My dear and incredibly talented friends of Icing Designs custom-created pennant garlands with festoon trim, ruffled crepe and hand-glittered letters, along with matching invitations, cake topper and rosette pins reading “Hooray for Noah!” for guests to wear.

3. Ruffled Cake: If you follow wedding and party sites, you’ve probably seen many ruffle frosted cakes. Whether frosted on the sides, top or all over, they add a festive touch. We went with a pale blue cake ruffled only on the sides so the cake topper would stand out.

4. Bamboo Cutlery & Paper Party Products: Finally, opt for simple and classic paper party products! I love using the ever-popular bamboo cutlery at my events. We kept ours plain, but there are many options to decorate with tape, stamps, glitter and more. In addition, we used rectangular paper plates with coordinating napkins. The best part? Each place setting fit perfectly into a darling matching paper favor bag, creating a pretty display of meal essentials that guests could easily grab. Noah absolutely LOVED sliding the plates in and out of the bags, so it served as a surprise dose of entertainment for the littlest guests!

Lastly, don’t stress with steaming those fabric table linens… a simple white table works perfectly. We even repurposed a desk drawer to display the place setting pouches as described above. These touches kept everything so simple, especially due to a quick and easy set up and clean up!

I am THRILLED to say that Noah’s helmet is nothing but a memory now, and we cannot wait for our next “Hooray!” moment as an opportunity to gather loved ones and enjoy cake and laughter.


Celebrate With Kate: Noah’s Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication Party by Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Baby Dedication Party by Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Baby Dedication Party by Kate Landers

Event concept, design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

It’s Kate Landers here, and I am absolutely thrilled to debut my latest personal event with you, our son Noah’s Baby Dedication. I have found there to be a shortage of inspiration online and in print of Baby Namings, Baptisms, Christenings and in my case, a Baby Dedication. It was a joyous challenge to create something unique and personal for this very meaningful event, and it’s a sheer delight to share it with you!

THE MEANING OF YOUR CHILD’S NAME CAN MAKE A PERFECT THEME: Noah’s name means “peaceful, restful, calming” and that is the exact effect he had on me during my pregnancy. I wanted to use the meaning of his name as a theme for our event, and therefore picked the visual symbol, a white dove carrying an olive branch, for printed details.

A NON-TRADITIONAL COLOR-SCHEME: I selected white and tan as the color-scheme for Noah’s Baby Dedication. It has a very sweet, soft, soothing effect, which carried through the theme of his name throughout the event details.

USE SIMPLE WHITE ELEMENTS FOR AN ELEGANT AFFAIR: I highly recommend floor-length white table linens, white cake pedestals and platters, as well as white decorations. I consider these investment pieces, as they can be re-used for other events in the future, coordinating with almost any theme or color-scheme!

USE A MIX OF CUSTOM AND STORE-BOUGHT PRODUCTS: I saw Kara of Kara’s Party Ideas use white eyelet for her son’s Baby Blessing last year, and I knew I wanted to use this as inspiration for our own baby dedication. The eyelet paper lanterns, paper rosetttes and favor bags are all available at large discount craft retailers online. Mixing them with custom printed banners and gorgeous ribbons, it can take something beautiful to an entirely new level.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: We opted for a very intimate gathering with a catered at-home luncheon. The dessert table offered guests beautiful custom cookies, fondant-eyelet-topped cupcakes, as well as a simple yet stunning cake. I was careful to keep the number of desserts under control, allowing me to display everything with room to spare. I have learned that sometimes too many desserts can distract the eye, taking away from the simple beauty of a dessert table.

INCORPORATE RE-USABLE DECORATIONS: You will note that beautiful stunning fabric wreath from our baby shower {from She’s Kinda Crafty} was given a facelift with a new gorgeous ribbon – another example of how a classic white item can be used for a variety of celebrations.

BLESSING BOARDS: I also created “Blessing Boards,” which you will see in the background of the dessert table. Guests each wrote a little blessing for Noah and inserted it into one of the eyelet envelopes on the boards. These boards are now in Noah’s nursery, and we look forward to reading them to him every now and them, reminding him of all those who love him!


Celebrate With Kate: Interview With Amy Atlas + Giveaway

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Robert Caplin

It’s Kate Landers here, sharing a personal interview with Amy Atlas, sweet stylist extraordinaire. Sweet tables have become quite trendy at celebrations across the globe. Amy is one of the pioneers who started turning a simple table of desserts into a stunning work of art. You may recognize Amy and her work from her appearance on NBC’s The Today Show, or from her many features in several print publications such as Real Simple, Martha Stewart Weddings, O Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, as well as thousands of blogs. She has been a personal inspiration to me and my work, I am so grateful she has shared such talent and inspiration with us all!

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Gemma Comas

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Gemma Comas

Amy Atlas Interviewed by Kate Landers
Photography: Gemma Comas

  • Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. What is it about designing sweet tables that drove you to start a business out of it? My father was my original partner in sweets and then there was my grandmother who was an incredible baker – I learned how to bake in her kitchen. So for me, desserts and sweets were always a source of happiness. Originally it was a hobby and then it organically grew into a business through word of mouth. Because no one had taken the Viennese table to the next level, I recognized that there was a niche that could be filled. Since dessert is the final vestige of a lovely gathering, I thought it should be the most memorable.
  • It is apparent from your blog and across the web that sweet tables are increasingly popular at all sorts of celebrations worldwide. What do you think sweet tables add to events making them so popular?
    It is a fantastic way to send your guests home with something sweet to remember the night.
  • What was your inspiration for writing your new book?
    A few things inspired this book, the first being my love for baking (and cookbooks). I’ve had ideas of dessert tables that I wanted to create for years that I needed to get on paper. My readers were also a big inspiration to me – I wanted to give them a step-by-step manual so they could create their own dessert tables at home.
  • Any hints you can share with our readers of what to expect to find in your latest labor of love? I wrote my book to give people approachable tips and tools to create their own memorable dessert displays. It is a baking book, paired with crafting instructions and styling tips. I deconstruct each of my displays so readers can see how they are made. Readers can use the book as inspiration, mix and match recipes and crafts from different sections, or recreate the entire displays. There are displays for intimate parties with a few friends all the way to to large, extravagant weddings. It makes a wonderful gift!

For a sweet ending, a surprise giveaway! One lucky reader will win a copy of Amy’s new book, Sweet Designs: Bake it, Craft it, Style it. Leave a comment on the blog and we’ll choose a winner at noon on Friday, May 4.

Thank you for your participation, the giveaway is now closed!

Celebrate With Kate {Spring Celebration Dessert Table}

Kate Landers Easter Table Decor Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Spring Table Design Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Easter Table Decor Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Easter Tablescape Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

Kate Landers Spring Mother's Day Luncheon Inspiration for Layla Grayce

Design, styling and photography: Kate Landers

It’s Kate Landers here, excited to share with you a spring themed dessert table I was asked to design exclusively for Layla Grayce! I am completely smitten with the new Rosanna products, as well as a spectacular new line at Layla Grayce, Pip Studio. This theme and color scheme works beautifully for Easter, but also is perfect for baby & bridal showers, a birthday luncheon or Mother’s Day brunch. All the textures (from linen ruffles to ceramic hobnails) keep it fresh and current, while still maintaining a classic look.

DESIGN INSPIRATION: This dessert table was inspired by the stunning Pip Studio table cloth which features bird, butterfly, branch and floral silhouettes, in a fresh white, pale aqua and soft linen color scheme. Note how the gorgeous cookies, cake and cupcakes were all created to mimic these designs and are artfully displayed on Rosanna white cake stands and compotes.

BACKDROP: I’ve always adored the look of Pine Cone Hill Ruched Linen Platinum Pillow Shams, so I had Sweet Tea & Linen create a custom backdrop in a similar design to make this table feminine, romantic and oh-so-Layla Grayce. The best part is it will repurpose perfectly as a headboard or wall art to use at home all season long.

LAYLA GRAYCE PRODUCTS: Many times I find mixing products from different artisans creates a spectacular end result. For this dessert table, we used the gorgeous Pip Studio table cloth, as well as the following items from Rosanna to display our sweets: Les Petite Sweets Large Compote, Small Compote, Medium White Pedestal, 2 Small White Pedestals, Bon Bon White Footed Cake Stand, and a personal favorite I used for a vase: Les Cookies Jar (this cookie jar was absolutely perfect to show off our pretty ranunculus and tulips).

The great thing about these white Rosanna products is they mix beautifully with white platters I already have at home. I used mini cupcake stands and oval cookie platters from my personal collection to keep the budget in check, and it worked out beautifully.

DESSERTS: I absolutely love a beautiful cake as a centerpiece, and this one turned out to be simple yet stunning. The edible bird’s nest is beautiful on a clean white fondant covered cake. In addition to the cake, I had white coconut cupcakes topped with fondant robin’s eggs, coconut jellybeans, french macarons, and a personal favorite–custom decorated cookies! Check out the beautiful hand-iced bird silhouette cookies, a lovely match to the table cloth. The edible 3-dimensional white flowers on pale aqua cookies are almost too beautiful to eat! The butterflies, ruched swirls, and dainty floral designs all compliment each other, but varying shapes give them a bit of contrast.

PRINTED DETAILS: Everyone’s favorite striped paper straws were a must, and Loralee Lewis provided the most beautiful cream and white ones with coordinating straw flags. I recommend having them printed with the event date and name of the guest of honor. I also wanted some dessert signs to identify the different flavored cookies. I knew that with the romantic ruffled look and feel of the table, rosettes would be perfect. Loralee created stunning double-layer custom dessert tags that I could easily stand by each dessert, serving a purpose and adding style as well.

I kept everything minimalist for this table, wanting it to be a real source of inspiration for your spring event. Note that keeping all items on the table crisp and uniform in white makes them easy to reuse, such as re-purposing the cookie jar as a vase for fresh spring blooms. Will you be hosting an event this spring? I’d love to hear about it!


  • Kate Landers {design, styling & photography}
  • Sweet Tea & Linen {custom fabric backdrop}
  • Edible Details {fondant faux cake and fondant robin’s eggs on cupcakes}
  • Holly’s Sweet Hobby {fondant bird’s nest cake topper, dogwood, 3-dimensional butterfly and eyelet cookies, 3-dimensional large white edible flower cookies}
  • Bambella Cookie Boutique {butterfly shaped and bird silhouette cookies}
  • Dainty Delights, Inc. {ruched loop cookies, dainty aqua/khaki/white flower and butterfly cookies}
  • Loralee Lewis {paper straws, straw flags and rosette dessert tags}
  • Bokolette {french macarons}

It’s Party-Time with Giveaway and Tips from Kate Landers!

Kate Landers Party Planner
Kate Landers Party Planner
Kate Landers Party PlannerIt’s party-time with giveaway and tips from Kate Landers!

Remember when you wanted to be a fairy, sprinkling magical pixie dust in your flowing frock and flowery crown? Kate Landers brings those childhood imaginations to life in the classic children’s parties she plans where no detail is too small for her special touch. Her Woodland Fairy Party featured stunning tablescapes, scrumptious kid-friendly food served in adorable chocolate nests, and fairy-friendly activities for the precious guests. Through her website and blog, Kate offers tips and techniques, as well as quality party supplies and her own planning services available for all budgets. Kate joins us to share her secrets for throwing a party with serious wow-factor.