Cirque du Bebe (French Circus)
Go for a playful, eclectic mix of both French and circus-inspired details.
For example: colorful feathers, animal statues, animal prints, black & white stripes, decorative eye masks, ornate candle holders, crystal ornaments, creative finger foods & sweet treats, etc.
Feature animal statues & figurines in your centerpieces and party decor, and opt for pieces that are all one color for a contemporary vibe. Search for dark metal finishes, or paint wooden statues and figurines to match the party's color palette.
One of our favorite pieces of decor from this party was the tall "animal tower" sculpture featured in image #5 of the slideshow above. This piece was a discount store find that started out multicolor. We spray painted it glossy black for a "mod" vibe, then embellished the bottom of the tower with a strip of zebra-striped wrapping paper and yellow and orange ribbon.
Takeaway tip: Try to look BEYOND what an item starts out looking like, especially when it comes to discount store finds. You might be able to create something very different - and very cool - from a piece that starts out as less-than-ideal, or even looks downright unusable. Never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint and a little creative juice!
Punch up the color!
Fill glass cylinder vases with tinted water, hang colorful paper lanterns, toss mardi gras beads on buffets & bars, feature colorful feathers in different types of decorative arrangements, line the edges of dessert trays with colorful marabou boa, display colorful signage and prints, etc.
Stripe it Up.
Black and white stripes have both a "French Bistro" & a "circus tent" vibe to them. For this particular outdor party, we found a striped pavilion from Z Gallerie that fit the theme perfectly! The tent was then embellished with paper lanterns and strands from a blue acrylic Hoops Beaded Curtain to add splashes of color.
Even if you're not planning to have a tent/pavilion at your party, you can still incorporate stripes into other areas of the decor - on the invitations, table cloths, framed prints, as table runners, etc.
Beverages are another great place to add a splash of color and get creative with the presentation. Add fun drink charms - like these cocktail monkeys or jelly candy fruit slices to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Play on both the color palette and theme when coming up with your signature drinks, then display the different options on a framed signature drink menu for guests. Some ideas for this theme include: Blueberry Mint Lemonade, Cherry Lemonade, French Martinis, Chambord and Champagne, Sky Shooters, and Tiffany Blue Martinis.
To personalize the signature drinks even further, give them special names that relate to the guest of honor or to the party theme. For example, in this party - where Tisha Martin was the guest of honor - the "Chambord and Champagne" became the "Toast to Tisha" and the "French Martini" became the "French Martin-tini" on the drink menu.
Printed signs are one of the easiest ways to play up (and personalize) any party theme. (See tabletop description for more info on this.)
Desserts & Treats
Paper treat cones are a fun, interesting way to serve up special treats - from jelly beans to cotton candy to gourmet popcorn. Click here for complete details on how to create the zebra-striped paper cone treats & displays pictured above.
Cupcake towers make for great presentation and provide an easy treat for guests to grab as they please. The tower pictured here was created by Heavenly Cupcake in San Diego, but you can definitely create something similar at home. Just remember to keep things simple & stylish. Heavenly Cupcake did a great job with the decoration - the icing played on the party's color palette and looked very contemporary & playful without being overdone or too cutesy for the adult guests.
Dress up the top of your cupcake tower with a cool floral arrangement, feather bouquet, or animal statue. Integrating a little of the same decor into your dessert table that's also used in the rest of the party will help to keep the entire party cohesive and make for a fantastic presentation!
All of the (very creative!) food featured at this party was courtesy of the talent crew at The Party Goddess. We went for a buffet of finger foods spiced up with a New Orleans-inspired kick straight from the French Quarter... Cajun Chicken Skewers, individual servings of Louisiana Style Red Beans & Rice, homemade Sweet Potato Fries dusted with Cajun Seasoning, etc. (More details on the food & buffet displays to come soon.)
19-23" Ostrich Feathers (Aqua & Gold Yellow) - FabulousFeathers.net
12 - 16" Ostrich Feathers (Gold Yellow) - FabulousFeathers.net
"Fish Vases" (GurglePots and Mini GurglePots) - Delight.com
Cocktail Napkins: Waves, Serengeti Zebra, and Snakeskin Yellow – all from Gallery19.us
Zebra Wrapping Paper - Gallery19.us or Container Store
Hoops Beaded Curtain - ShopWildThings.com
Aqua Mirror Balls - ShopWildThings.com
Sitting Monkey Statue - Z Gallerie
Elephant Vases - Z Gallerie (summer 2009 collection)
Decorative Eye Masks (worn by bartenders & servers) - PartyOasis.com
Cupcake Tower - HeavenlyCupcake.com
Peanut Shell Baby Sling (last image with Tisha) - thePeanutShell.com