Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Entertaining

Summer is just around the corner, the weather is finally warming, and yes, I know we are all thinking it, we can finally wear white without anyone shooting you a judgmental look along with the snide remark of “don’t they know that you aren’t supposed to wear white after Labor Day.” So yes, now is the perfect time to put on your favorite white outfit and throw an all white Memorial Day Bash celebrating the start of summer! Whether big or small, in your lavish backyard or on the terrace of your city apartment, I have some great ideas that will make your party a hit!
Let’s start off talking about décor. Shouldn’t be too difficult since everything should be white! Remember the one thing I always stress is to start off by “shopping at home.” Try and use items that you already have in the house, this will keep costs down. You will be surprised to find items in your home that you can use that you would have never even thought of! For example, if you have any left over white candles from a New Year’s Eve party they will work great as an addition to your centerpiece! But, just in the case you do not have everything you need for your all white Memorial Day Bash, don’t stress. White tablecloths and napkins are easy to find all year long and can be used over and over again. If you plan on doing a lot of entertaining this summer, I am positive you will get your money’s worth out of purchasing these items. Also, keep in mind that the Fourth of July is just around the corner! Many of the things you use for this entertaining extravaganza can be reused for a Fourth of July BBQ!
Speaking of centerpieces, don’t forget about flowers! Flowers don’t have to be expensive nor intimidating. Go to your local flower market, grocery store or florist and purchase a bunch of white carnations. What?! Did I just hear a gasp? carnations?! Yes, you heard me right, I did say carnations! Carnations have a bad rap for being a cheap and ugly flower or filler in overpriced under designed arrangements. But I beg to differ. Carnations are a great flower to use in tight clusters and to tell you the truth; no one will even notice they are carnations. However, if you are unwilling to give the carnations a chance you can stick with white spider mums, they are a beautiful flower, relatively inexpensive and they offer texture with fullness and modern elegance.
When I think of fun summer décor I think of pinwheels. Style Me Pretty has wonderful tips for DIY (do-it-yourself) pinwheels that you can create in any color (perhaps red, white, and blue or yellow to honor our troops). Let’s not forget what Memorial Day is really all about. This is a weekend to honor our troops who have fought and are currently fighting for our freedom. Therefore, adding a splash of yellow in your decorations will serve as a reminder to your guests to that we are all thinking about our troops.
These pinwheels do not only serve as a great decoration, but they can also be used as guest favors and/or place cards. These pinwheels will be sure to add a smile to your guests’ faces and will be a little reminder of days gone by; all the while keeping the kids entertained!
Now onto the good stuff, the food! Since this is your first party of the summer, why don’t we keep it simple! Everyone loves burgers, so bring out the grill and serve up some tasty Blue Cheese Burgers. Adding Blue Cheese to your classic burger will step it up a notch and take them to the next level. The ingredients are simple! Go to your local grocery store and buy ground chuck and ground sirloin, brioche buns, red leaf lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and Danish Blue Cheese. I personally recommend combining the ground chuck and ground sirloin in order to make the meat extra juicy and delicious. That’s all you need to fire these burgers onto the grill and your guests’ mouths will be watering in no time!
As a compliment to the burger, why don’t you serve tasty white corn on the cob? This can be served plain, or my personal favorite what I like to call, “Wally’s White Corn.” It’s simple! All you do is grill the corn on the barbeque, roll it in mayonnaise, and then roll it in Parmesan cheese. You are done in less than five minutes for this scrumptious side dish!
For a fun dessert idea, I LOVE these festive cookies from Eleni’s New York! You can choose a patriotic look or go for the “cookie cookout” which goes great with your Memorial Day Bash! Visit to find out more about her company and ordering information. Her cookies and cupcakes are great for any occasion!
Another fantastic idea for dessert is to do a “create your own ice cream sundae” station. This is easy and inexpensive! Just go to the store and buy your favorite Vanilla ice cream as well as a variety of fresh, festive berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Don’t forget whipped cream, cherries, and sprinkles! Guests will be able to make their own version of a red, white, and blue sundae exactly to their liking!
No party is complete without a festive cocktail, especially when you are kicking off the summer season! (at least no party that I am hosting!) A signature drink such as a White Sangria will be sure to keep the conversation flowing! Real Simple has a great and “simple” White Sangria recipe that serves 6! The ingredients you need are 6 cups of Chardonnay, ¼ cup superfine sugar, 1 cup white grape juice, 1 ripe nectarine that has been pitted and cut into thin wedges, 1 tangerine that has been thinly sliced, 1 cup of halved seedless white grapes, and 1 cup of club soda.
In a large pitcher, combine the wine and sugar until the sugar completely dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients except for the club soda. Place the pitcher into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, which will allow for the sangria to sweeten. When you are just about ready to serve, pour in the club soda, ice cubes, and enjoy! For the kids attending the event, you can come up with a non-alcoholic specialty cocktail or serve sparkling apple cider, which is always a hit!
Now you have all of the steps you need to throw a fantastic Memorial Day Bash! The possibilities are endless, so use your imagination and go for it! Until next time, enjoy your bash!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Wednesday's Wedding" - Reed Wedding

Welcome to my first “Wednesday’s Wedding” blog post! Each Wednesday I hope to showcase a wedding that I have designed for all of you to enjoy! This week I am featuring a fantastic wedding that I designed recently for a beautiful couple and their 120 guests at the W Hotel in Union Square. The bride came to me ONE week before because her florist backed out last minute because they couldn’t do the design she wanted! How rude is that?! Talk about a time crunch, but their loss was my gain and it became my goal to help out this bride and make her dreams come true for her big day. I designed a very elegant, yet affordable design that included roses, calla lilies, purple grapes, seeded eucalyptus, rice flower, and dusty miller.

The bride’s bouquet was designed with white and pink roses, dusty miller, cymbidium orchids, and mini white calla lilies as well as crystallized stephanotis. The handle was then tied with a cream ribbon that received an overlay of lace from her mother’s wedding dress, which became her “something borrowed”! I love adding a personal touch to the bride’s bouquet because it gives the flowers an extra special meaning while the bride makes her way down the aisle. We even added another extra touch for good luck by creating a horseshoe design on the handle made from Swarovski Crystals to finish the look.

The Groom’s boutonnière is designed with mini white calla lilies, dusty miller, stephanotis, and a dendrobium orchid. The stem was tied with a coordinating cream ribbon accented with a single knot and crystals.
For the bridesmaid’s bouquets, I designed a simple, fresh, yet elegant look with white spray roses, mini calla lilies, dusty miller, and loops of bear grass. Bear grass is an unexpected element that I often like to use to add a bit of drama and texture to bouquets and arrangements.
I had such a wonderful time designing the personal flowers that the inspiration for the table arrangements came easy! She wanted elegant arrangements that evoked a feeling of a fresh, traditional feel. I used bronze urns and silver candelabras, which created a fun juxtaposition (something I like to do as a designer). I then tied the two together with flowers that were designed in a traditional manner. The low arrangements were designed in a bronze urn with white and pink roses, purple grapes, seeded eucalyptus, and dusty miller. To give the arrangement body I added two satellite arrangements that were designed with all pink flowers and accents of seeded eucalyptus.

Often designers feel the need to create "high" arrangements on top of candelabras - this is something that I feel is dated and not always warranted in all spaces. The W Union Square has a stunning ballroom that shouldn’t necessarily receive high arrangements - I personally feel it should be celebrated and shown off rather than try to bring height into that room. Therefore, I designed the high arrangements with the concentration of flowers on the bottom where the guests could enjoy them - I then added a garland of seeded eucalyptus and grapes to wrap its self down and around the candelabra into a bed of coordinating flowers of pink and white roses, calla lilies, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller and grapes. Numerous votive candles were then added to all the tables to create a warm romantic glow.
In the end, the event was a success, the flowers turned out stunning and the couple couldn’t have been more pleased. I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I love all while making my client’s vision’s come true!

Until next time,

All photos above courtesy of Lindsay Flanagan Photography

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shawn's Suggestions

Happy Tuesday everyone! I know it has been a while since I last wrote a blog post, but I wanted to let you all know that things are going to change! I am hoping to write weekly blogs and also keep you updated with all the exciting things that are going on with Shawn Rabideau Events and Design via Twitter and my Facebook Fan Page! If you are not yet a follower, please follow me on Twitter @SRabideauEvents and the link to my Facebook Fan Page is below! Oh, and don't forget to set your DVR's! I will be featured on the upcoming Bravo Series, "Bethenny Getting Married?" airing Thursday, June 10th at 10:00/9:00c.

Until next time, Cheers!