Go behind the scenes with Dana Small, owner of Matilda's and Cabana boutiques in Stuart, Florida and find out how she pulled off this pink and green Lilly Pulitzer-inspired party.
"We have a saying in my business—go big or go home!" says Dana. "I love to use bright and bold color combinations when I'm entertaining. This party, inspired by the great Lilly Pulitzer, reflects the preppiest combo of pink and green. I also added a splash of turquoise to coordinate with the colors of my home's interiors."
Seat guests at skirted, round tables to allow intimate conversation. "My mom taught me the great trick of hanging paper lanterns and other festive details from the ceiling using thumbtacks and fishing line," says Dana. "It fills the empty space above a table, and the tacks barely leave any evidence."
"Don't layer your table with unnecessary glasses or utensils," Dana advises. "Use only what you need for your menu." But do take the time to try a napkin fold. "I have a book on napkin folds, and it's fun to re-create those!"
Custom tablecloths made of Lilly Pulitzer fabric. "I always have them made unlined so I can reuse the fabric for throw pillows later," she says. "I'm also constantly on the hunt for unusual vintage pieces that I can use in a party setting, such as this bar cart [below]. A fresh coat of bright paint gives it an easy update."
Flowers. "Keep in mind what's in season to make it affordable," says Dana. "Then add an element of surprise. The kitschy flamingos in these flower arrangements add that 'wow' factor."
Something personal and memorable. "I'll often display the menu in a take-home frame and have a photo taken of guests that they can later add to the frame," she says.
"I keep the first courses light so you can indulge with a simple sweet at the end," Dana says. "Be sure to test-run recipes a week before the party to avoid any last-minute surprises. I also like including a nonalcoholic drink, in this case a raspberry-infused pink lemonade with San Pellegrino."