Dana and I discovered our mutual love of cooking and entertaining while we were roommates in NYC. We also discovered that we both tend to do what some would call “too much.” “Too much” can get you into trouble, especially if you’re throwing a party on your own, but we found some simple tricks and essentials along the way (that would be the hard way) that we want to share. So this will be the first of many posts about party planning and entertaining and of course we would love for you to share your tips and tricks with us as well.

We’re talking about party themes today. It’s a really good idea to have some sort of theme for your party because it can help focus your thoughts for every other aspect of the event, whether it’s food, cocktails, party favors, etc. Your theme doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy. You can plan your party around an object that you love, even an article of clothing may inspire you. Dana and I once planned a ladies brunch so we decorated using “girly” items such as roses and we used a lot of pink (this is funny because you will rarely find either of us wearing pink). We already had the serving dishes but needed flowers, vases and paper supplies. We went to the dollar store and purchased small glass holders for the roses and the roses themselves were about $10 for 12 at one of the hundreds of bodegas in NYC. Then we went to Kate’s Paperie and bought a sheet of floral patterned paper as a table cover and construction paper to make name tags for the glasses. We didn’t spend more than maybe $35 on decorations.

If you have a favorite color or color scheme that you want to use as your theme it is pretty easy to find decorating items (as well as menu items) that complement each other. Below is an orange and blue theme which I like because it’s not the average pairing so it’s a little unexpected. But because blue and orange are both strong colors it is possible to go overboard and head into the tacky zone so proceed with caution.

Sources listed below

Look how simply the Phillips DeVeer table below is accented with blue and orange.

Source: Phillips DeVeer Interiors

Sources, clockwise from top left:

Orange and blue candy via Ellen Johnson for P Is for Party
Vanilla-Poached Oranges, MarthaStewart.com
Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail, MarthaStewart.com 
Coasters, Z Gallerie
Flowers and Vase, Real Simple
Blue appetizer plate, Crate and Barrel