5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Dinner Party

Feyi Bello / Thursday October 6, 2016


There’s nothing better than time spent with your best gal pals. Flowers, sweets, drinks, and your closest friends are the key ingredients for the perfect party. To inspire your own celebration, Courtney Shorter of RyanMorgan Events + Design assembled a dream team of event vendors at DC’s recently renovated Mayflower Hotel to create a sophisticated dinner party for her fashionista friends.

Starting with a simple and classic palette of black and white, Courtney added pops of vivid color to add impact and girly drama. Gorgeous floral arrangements of white hydrangea, hot pink and yellow roses were the center of attention. The table settings were classic and bold, with clear glass lattice chargers, pink satin napkins and menu cards edged in yellow. Attention to detail was captured in the yellow bar stools, silver pineapples and shoes on display. Good company, an amazing tiered cake, and a classic cocktail all set the mood for this girly soiree. AislePerfect #PrettyPerfectPartner Terri Baskin photographed this gorgeous styled shoot:





Here are Courtney’s Top 5 Tips for creating the perfect party:

1. Choose wonderful colors!

Having a great color scheme takes much of the struggle out of styling a party. Find inspiration on your favorite sites or browse Pinterest for ideas. Also, consider your favorite pieces at home, whether that is your favorite set of dishes, art piece or linens. Build a color palette from what you love and what fits the occasion.


2. Plan a themed menu.

Having treats that match the decor of your party will impress your guests! Now a theme can be a color, culture or a favorite pair of shoes. Get creative with cocktails, which are easily themed and dessert decor.


3. Fresh flowers are a must!

A beautiful arrangement is always the prettiest and quickest way to add elegance to a tablescape. Even if you don’t have any other decor, flowers can transform a table from bland to gorgeous. We worked with a professional florist for the arrangements here, but you can take a trip to your local flower market or grocery store and pick up a bouquet or two. Split up the bouquet into a few vases or make one huge arrangement. Bring home your bouquets a day before so the blooms have a chance to open beautifully.



4. Mix old and new.

It’s tempting to go out and buy all new dishes and accessories, but it’s certainly not a requirement. Show off your collection of great flatware or vases. Still mix in a few new pieces whether it’s decor, linens or a new cake stand.


5. Concoct a signature drink.

Whether you are cooking or a caterer is doing the bulk of the work, there will always be last minute things to do even as guests are arriving (one more candle to light or a few garnishes to add). Give yourself a little time by preparing a signature drink in advance. It’s a great way for everyone to try something new or indulge in a forgotten favorite. That way, come party time, all you have to do is pour and garnish.





Planner + Designer: RyanMorgan Events + Design//Venue: Mayflower Hotel//Photographer: Terri Baskin Photography//Make Up: Face Affairs//Florals: Eight Tree Street Floral Design//Dessert Table: Glam Candy Buffets//Cake: Rebekah Naomi Cake Design//Stationery: Creations by Sasha//Linens, China, Flatware, and Stemware: Select Event Group//Custom Bar and Draping: Electric Wedding//Acrylic Shoe Box: Diva Box Co.//Stylist: It Factor Boutique//Model: Nichelle Gibbs