surprise! DIY table decor

One of my best friends had a birthday last week, and we celebrated with a little tiny surprise dinner party at our house. Her husband got a babysitter and told her they were going out to dinner and a movie (pretty special considering she's a full-time nursing student, Navy wife, and mother of three!).

But they swung by our house to pick up her gift on the way out to dinner and we surprised her with something even better: cocktails, dinner and dessert at our house :)

With just six of us total at the table, it was a pretty small group, but I'm a firm believer that you don't need a crowd to make a great party. We hung out until after midnight, capping off the evening with a screening of Dirty Dancing (one of her favorite movies). It was a total blast.

The occasion: best friend's birthday

The theme: the birthday girl's favorite things

The color scheme: shades of pink with yellow accents

Items used from around the house: bright pink curling ribbon, a neutral runner, letters from one of Ben's toys, glassware, wooden chargers + our fancy plates

Items purchased: conversation confetti from Target and pink and white striped cocktail napkins

Courtney's husband ordered the cupcakes. He told me in advance they would be decorated in pink, so I went with that as our color. When setting the table, I started with a neutral linen runner from Pottery Barn (we've had it for ages) and added two glass hurricanes from our wedding with just simple white pillar candles.

My Mom never needed an excuse to break out her fancy dishes and glassware, which made even ordinary Friday nights feel special. I don't use ours enough, but certainly this occasion called for the good stuff.

Another great friend of mine bought these little wooden letters for Ben for his birthday. The rectangle is wood and the letter on it is yellow sandpaper. The upper-case letters are blue, but these lower-case ones in pink and yellow worked perfectly on the table. Since Courtney's name doesn't have any repeat letters, I was able to spell it out in a circle in the center of the table.

I found this conversation confetti (the colorful little circles you see on the table) on clearance at Target. Hello, $3.00! The colors were so cute and I'll be able to use them again. They also gave us a few fun questions to answer during dinner. 

I did a little DIY design with the menus. I love creating a menu for a party. It makes everything feel a little more festive, like more of an occasion as opposed to just a dinner. It's not like we do this every night!

I'm also a fan of doubling menus as place cards. I do it often and find it saves time, paper and space on the table. I printed the menu on 4x6 grid cards from Project Life and added a little washi tape embellishment.

I carried the washi tape and menu format to the cocktail set-up as well. The drink stirrers doubled as name cards for glasses and the drink menu let our guests know what we had available. 

We chose all of the food and drinks because they're the birthday girl's favorites. And honestly, I never knew how good a wedge salad could be! The whole night felt really festive. It didn't take a lot of money to create a memorable party and hopefully - and most importantly - we were able to make the guest of honor feel special, loved and celebrated.

DIY design notes:

 The washi tape, conversation confetti and cocktail napkins all came from Target. The fonts on the menus are available for free online. I used Elsie Swash Caps for the headings and Oswald Light for the descriptions.

Leave a comment if you have any questions, and I'll be happy to answer whatever I can! Happy designing :)