Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Nutcracker Suite Ballet Party {Signature Party}

It is with tremendous joy that I share with you my newest {Signature Party}, a Nutcracker Suite Ballet Party.

After the great honor of its debut {in a most gorgeous post designed by Jenn} on Hostess With The Mostess two days ago, I am here to share with you even more details, images and resources I hope will provide a source of inspiration for you!

Above All Else

The truth is, this party, much like a performance of The Nutcracker Suite, is not brought to life without each performer, each prop, each backdrop....without every costume, make up and hair artist, conductor, musicians or score...without a lighting director, sound manager, stage manager, choreographer and director.

I want to share with you the important fact that each and every single artist, designer, seamstress, baker, decorator, the photographer--every.single.person. who contributed to this party is what made it what it is. I could not do this alone--I have tried that in the past, and failed.

My gratitude for each person and their incredible talents, is incredibly deep. Thank you for the honor and privilege of getting to know you, and work with you, and being a vital part of bringing this dream to a reality.

Doing what I do, each and every day, is a gift and a blessing, and I am so thankful to have so many to share in the joy of it.


This theme holds a particularly dear place in my heart. I was a ballet dancer for 17 years, starting at a very young age. At 14 my ballet instructor in Southern Calfornia asked my parents if she could take me (move) to Boston to audition for The Boston Ballet--a dream come true!

However, my family was moving to the midwest and my parents had their concerns about me living across the country without them, and my studies {now I totally understand--at 14, it was a bit harder}. I continued to study dance into college, and The Boston Ballet always has held a special place in my heart, though I never did get that audition!

The Nutcracker Suite is also a particularly special ballet to me. I adore the music, the story, the characters and how wildly my imagination would wander when I would watch it. 

 On a side note: growing up my mother always called me her "Sugar Plum Fairy", so the ballet has a sweet significance there too.

Several months ago a client requested I design a Nutcracker Suite Ballet Party for her daughter. I was beyond thrilled to say the least, and it was an absolute dream creating the party design for her!

 Her party will not occur until much closer to the holidays, and I wanted to be sure to share my Nutcracker Suite Ballet Party design with you all as soon as possible--for inspiration you may use for your own Nutcracker Ballet Party this year!

As if my personal passion for The Nutcracker Suite wasn't reason enough, I was connected last summer with photographer Liza Voll, a ballerina herself and photographer of several Boston ballet companies--and many performances of The Nutcracker.

It seemed like fate that she and I collaborate to stage and present to you the party design, adding a few new personal elements not created for the client. I also had the pleasure and privilege of working with many incredibly talented women who created highly customized products for this party shoot, that reflect my pure vision for a Nutcracker Suite Ballet Party.

The entire party was design you see is based off of two images of costumes from The Nutcracker, as well as scenes from the ballet, including characters, backdrops, props, and many memorable moments from this masterpiece.

{Image via}

                                                          {Image by Rachel Papo}


I had the pleasure of collaborating with the gorgeous Jennifer Birkhead of Jennifer Birkhead Design in Australia, to create the perfect invitation and printables. Jen is truly, an artist.

 She actually drew a macaron tower, beautiful desserts, even a tiny mouse wearing a crown--Jen is such an extraordinary talent, and one of the most delightful people I have ever had the privilege of working with.

She is a true stand out, and I adored every moment working together with her. Jennifer created the most precious designs that could not have been more perfect for this party.

 And to top that off, she printed everything on the most gorgeous shimmer cardstock, which I tried to capture in the photo below. It made everything magical.

For the client, we decided that each guest would receive a hardback copy of a picture book of The Nutcracker Suite including a cd to twirl to {with personalized bookplate} along with their invitation, which let them know they would be viewing a presentation of The Nutcracker Suite and enjoy Nutcracker Ballet-inspired Sweets as well! I have always loved the idea of giving an item along with the invitation to build excitement about the event.


No surprise here: pink was the base for everything! 

We chose light ballet pink, medium pink, dark pink, cranberry with hints of sparkly silver and white. Even though the Sugar Plum Fairy kept popping up in conversation, the actual color plum did not. I spoke with photographer Liza, and we agreed that many performances have the Sugar Plum Fairy wearing pink, not plum, and we went with that.

{When I first found these pink chocolate covered cherries, I knew I had to have them. All About Shabby Chic has these beautiful delights, a very traditional candy that I remember fondly of my childhood.}


{Table Covering}

I wanted a floor-length table covering that was tiered, ruffled, and went from lightest to darkest shades of pink, similar to the image of the costumes shared earlier.

 I knew that my designer of choice Carolyn of Sweet Tea and Linen would create exactly what I wanted--and she did. It was absolutely extraordinary.

When you go with such a lavish table cloth, however, it is important to keep what goes on top of it a bit well-coordinated, as not to be too busy or compete. When watching the ballet from seats far away, I remember as a child it was the costumes that stood out, so the vision of the skirts represented by the table linen was perfect to represent the ballet as a whole.

{Linens & Tableware}

I absolutely adore personalized party favors, and cannot express enough what delight children take in seeing something with their name on it. I always recommend using placecards when are of the age where they may argue over who gets to sit next to the guest of honor.

Instead of placecards, I had designer Emily of Magnolia Creative create for me precious painted pottery (salad plates) for each guest, which was not only their placecard telling them where they would sit, but also served as what they would eat on at the party, and after a quick rinse and dry, they would take home as a lovely party favor!

 Classic light pink linen napkins {Williams and Sonoma}, traditional silver flatware and clear glasses {acrylic are great for younger ones} completed the look--pristine, feminine, and sweet.  A taffeta table runner was placed down the middle and lined with clear glass beaded platters and bowls of treats, trimmed with cranberry velvet ribbons.


Gorgeous and LARGE, fluffly pale pink tulle poms hung above the tables {I actually have these beauties available for purchase, please e-mail if interested}.

They adding an element of frothiness, and grace; resembled tutus and cotton candy.

A Large, clear glass bowl was filled with soft pink tulle and a range of sizes of pale pink and glittered cream Christmas ornaments, which looked absolutely spectacular--perfect for the table in the front entry hallway.

I created several Christmas trees (as that enormous Christmas tree in the ballet has always stood out to me), and keeping with the color-scheme, I knew I needed to craft something on my own. Therefore, using fringed tissue festooning, pom pom trim, tulle trim and silver tinsel, I created my own trees that were incredibly magical and eye-catching. These were to be on both the kids party table as well as the dessert table. {Stay tuned for a DIY tutorial!}

A Nutcracker was a must, but at the client's request I needed to make sure he was masculine, but not in traditional Nutcracker colors. Therefore, a silver and white Nutcracker was the goal--and found {At Michaels}! We didn't the actual Nutcracker theme to be too domineering, therefore we decided just one was best.

Over the dessert table I created, I hung hand glittered letters strung together on pink ribbon, spelling out "Sweet Dreams"--the goal was that each guest would have nothing but these after attending the ballet and party. {Similar letters found at Walmart in the holiday section}

 One of the best parts? It is easily transferable to the guest of honor's bedroom for decoration long after the party!


Inspiration: Oh, the dessert table! This was a huge part of the party design, and the details were very important. The idea was to create a stage--I believe that dessert tables when well executed, are like works of art, and that was the goal. Each dessert represented different characters, costumes, props or scenes from The Nutcracker Suite Ballet.

Design: On a matching 3-tiered pink floor length table cloth, was the dessert table design. It was placed under just a simple trio of pink tulle poms, and the "Sweet Dreams" garland was hung sort of off-center on the side. The magical pink and silver trees I created gave height and reinforced the color-scheme. The Nutcracker stood out well, and while pink was used throughout, hints of silver could be found to give it a luster and sparkle that felt like nothing but pure magic.

Dessert Vessels and Displays: I opted for clear glass vessels, many beaded, allowing the desserts to truly stand out. I made sure clear glass domes, because they were to represent snow globes, something the client's daughter adored (as do I!) and it worked well with the theme, as if what was inside was something magical.

Desserts Oh, such beauties! These precious works of art speak for themselves {silver votives from Target}

Cake Pop Bake Shop took a very detailed design from me and made the most extraordinary cake truffles and cake pops (with little holly leaves and a berry on top!) .

The quality, colors and design details of all the cake pops and cake truffles were spectacular.

I cannot express enough how much I adore my taffy wands.

 I used raspberry and new flavor cranberry, and they were gorgeous additions to the table!

Angela of Queen of Tarts Cakes took incredibly detailed, descriptive design ideas I sent her, and crafted the most stunning cookies!!!!

Angela even created her own template for the holiday bundt cake cookie--and it turned out gorgeous.

Other cookies she created included cupcakes, candies and tiaras--all with shimmer, of course! Each cookie she creates is a true work of art!

Little Snowflakes created the most precious white chocolate covered peppermint ganache mice--oh, aren't they charming? I gave her a few ideas and she created the most precious design and recipe for the perfect sweet mice!!! She is such a creative talent!

 I just adore these guys!

She did a great job, and made the yummy peppermint bark as well.

The macarons were a true standout.

Breathtaking. Bokolette took my very specific color-scheme, and made the most delightful sweets {fabulous colors AND flavors} to match.

And might I note they traveled across the country, and not one broke!

Kim of Sweeties by Kim never ceases to amaze me.

She made gorgeous pale pink white chocolate covered oreos with a raspberry design--pristine in appearance, and delightful to taste!

Edible Details created the gorgeous light pink, rose and white fondant swirly custom sugar lollipops--pure sweetness!!!!

It was her idea to add edible shimmer...and that was what made them fabulous! I took a few extras, removed the sticks, wrapped in cellophane and tied with bows--little candy favors!

Calabasas Candy Company made the peppermint marshmallows that were so gorgeous and light, like pink swirled pillows!

They fit perfectly in my beaded glass bowl, just delightful!


And I simply could not resist this last one: pink cotton candy, or as my Australian friends have taught me, "fairy floss"....turned into Sugar Plum Fairy Floss in an instant!


Party Crackers: cardboard gift wrap tubes were cut into approximately 6" sections, covered in light pink paper, then wrapped with layers and layers of tulle (either cranberry or pink), and tied with a beautiful ribbon in the opposite color {tulle and ribbon from JoAnns}. A tag created by Jen personalized with the child's name, was attached to each one. The client will be inserting the girl's tickets to the matinee ballet performance inside of their "party cracker".

The client will be taking all the girls to the ballet (a very small group), and weather-permitting, they will go on a horse-drawn carriage ride before the performance. After attending the ballet, the girls will be going to the client's home for their "Nutcracker Sweets", music from the ballet playing in the background, and there they can talk all about the performance.


Each guest will be receiving a large box, wrapped in pink and tied with gorgeous cranberry satin ribbon, with a lovely custom printed gift tag. In it will be sweet, simple and fluffy no-sew tutus the client will be making herself. What a LOVELY treasure! {wrap from The Paper Source}

I have always dreamed of a full tulle skirt with a dupioni silk waistband with a large bow and sash in the back. I had seen a pettiskirt done this way and fell in love with it.

I contacted All The Roses, impressed with her tutus and dresses, and asked if she could make for me this highly customized skirt. She did--and truly brought my vision to life with her spectacular sewing technique!

She used several gorgeous layers of long tulle, and made the dupioni silk bow and waistband exactly how I wanted. Love at first site! {I hope she will make one for me to wear for Christmas! Please!}

For the guest of honor, I needed a spectacular dress. I had envisioned something that looked...just like this!

What better than a dress with a dupioni silk upper, flowing layers of tulle, and dupioni silk along the entire outer hem?

And of course, a gorgeous dupioni silk sash and matching bow were a must to polish off the look. Perfect for any little Sugar Plum Fairy!

The girls will also be receiving ribbon wands, similar to those you see in my party design which were made by the lovely Kate of Pinwheels and Pearls, that give the girls the power to prance and twirl and enjoy hours of playtime with the wand. Kate's quality of work is outstanding, I am so very impressed!!!

For the guest of honor, she will wear a tiara. Nicole of Tradewind Tiaras created the most spectacular custom tiara for my party...I cannot say enough. Even the photographer, a dancer herself, had her breath taken away with the beauty and quality. Handmade, and gorgeous.

I hope that this Nutcracker Suite Ballet Party has filled your head with visions of Sugarplum Fairies and served as a source of inspiration.

Above all--please know you can make a party look festive, magical and holiday, even in PINK!

I hope you will take the time to visit the shops of your favorite designers who created gorgeous products for this party. Many will be available in their shops soon!


Michele said...

This puts my ballet party to shame, GORGEOUS!!!

Nicole @ Tradewind Tiaras said...

What a truly stunning design, with exceptional work from everyone involved. I'm blown away, and utterly delighted to see all the details! And so honored to have had a small hand in its creation.

Liza Voll said...

Et voila! Thanks, Kate!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Kate for letting us participate in such a wonderful party! Everything looked spectacular!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Kate for letting us take part in this wonderful party. Everything looked spectacular!

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

Absolutely stunning! A true dream for those lucky lucky girls!

adriana said...


Lili said...

JUST BREATHTAKING! well done kate!

Unknown said...

Seriously ... I am stunned ... amazed ... in awe. This is nothing short of spectacular! ALL of it! The tulle poms! The white mice! The plates! I could go on! Wow.

coolkids said...

WOW Kate!!! AMAZING!!! My daughter would swoon for months over a party like this one! She is a HUGE nutcracker fan.

Donna @ Party Wishes said...

Just stunning! This will be my daughter's 3rd year performing in the Nutcracker (she will be a Chocolate Spanish) and I would love to host a after performance party like this for the dancers. Such an inspiration! Thank you so much for all of your insights to your party preparation!

Kori Clark said...

Just beautiful Kate...I adore it!

Gabby Malcuit said...

Beautiful. I think my heart stopped.

LittleSnowflakes said...

Nothing short of GORGEOUS! I am honored to have been able to assist you in your amazing vision. Have a SWEET Week!

Sharnel said...

Absolutely stunning Kate. No detail left unattended. The colour palette is truly magical too.
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful vision with us. And thank you also to your generous and talented vendors, who without them, we could not create the magic we do.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how you are able to gather such a beautiful ensemble in your head and then make it come to life...but you do! And with no detail left out. Congratulations on such a dreamy accomplishment.

chateaudelille said...

Om gosh! That was beyond beautiful. Simply amazing. I loved all the detail and yes it was so inspiring.I'd love to post about it and link back to you so more people in Australia can discover your talents.Would that be Ok? Fiona

Tish said...

THis is the ultimate Ballet Party ... Simply gorgeous!

pinkandgirly said...

What a magical 2 daughters dance in the Nutcracker and they are just swooning over your party details. So lovely and

Thank you for the inspiration,


Kris said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! I LOVE every detail!!!

Are you aware that this site has posted your party and MANY pictures but took the time to remove the photographer watermark from ALL of the photos?

Anne said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

Simply Chic Parties said...

This party is absolutely stunning! Thank you for sharing all this gorgeous work. I would love to share this with my readers over at Simply Chic if that is ok!
Congrats on a fabulous party!

My Little Day said...

Wow, this is so lovely !
You should take a look at our pink kit (and other ones) available online at
Best regards :)