Birthday Bash in a Flash: Tips for a Last Minute Dinner Party

Jenny and I are thrilled to welcome our friends and aspiring party planners, Danielle and Alicia who will be writing a series of guest posts about hosting the perfect gathering this spring! The four of us lived together in college and after attending some gorgeous events hosted by these two ladies over the years we asked them if they would be willing to share some tips and DIY projects on the blog. We are excited for what they have in store, hope you enjoy!

If you’re like us, every birthday, half-birthday and holiday in between is a fitting cause to go all out and celebrate life (or at least that’s what we ever-so convincingly keep telling our husbands).  But every now and again, an event sneaks up on us between the toddler, cat, job, food and laundry. For example, we found out a good friend was coming to town for her birthday and we wanted  to do-it up right for her. The problem? It was already Wednesday and nothing was planned. We decided to dress up a local restaurant for a stress-free, eye-catching birthday bash. Here are a few tips for an easy, last minute dinner party:

Go With What You Know
When you don’t have the time or space to host at your place and have a moderate sized guest list, hosting a birthday dinner at a restaurant is an easy and festive alternative…especially when you dress it up. For this particular event we picked a restaurant that we knew and loved. Phinney Market Pub and Eatery has a beautiful, long table right in the middle of the restaurant. It’s ambiance and décor work well with our style and we knew the menu would be perfect for our guest demographic. Sticking with what you know can save you precious time otherwise spent researching the décor, cost and layout of a new space. 

Create Tabletop Drama
The table is your focal point in a restaurant, but it’s important to keep it simple. You want to excite the guests when they arrive but not compete with the food. We've found the best place to start is with a few small floral arrangements. We swear by Bellevue’s Flowers for the People for a fresh take on evening floral arrangements.  Given our birthday girl’s obsession with Glassybaby’s, we used them to add a personal touch and a punch of blue-green color.

Even in a restaurant, we think place cards are a must. They quickly add décor to a table and people love seeing their own names (Instagram favorite for the night).  A fancy pen with some glitter goes a long way. For a final blast of color, we dressed up the table by using a large hole puncher to create some metallic (gold & copper) confetti accenting our coordinating colors; peaches, teals, and eggplant.

Our new obsession: 36-inch balloons. They need little else to make a statement, but adding  tassel flair never hurts.

Leave On A Sweet Note
For last minute occasions, mini cupcakes from Cupcake Royale are a fast and inexpensive way to leave your birthday guests with a sweet treat to remember the evening. Pick out cupcakes that have frosting that coordinates with your color scheme, and then place them at each place setting. If you’re Betty Crocker and have the time, making your own works too!  We feel when hosting at a venue where guests pay their own bill it’s nice to offer something-- drinks and/or desserts are a great way to show appreciation for their presence.


  1. Those balloons are a great idea! They're dramatic but also high enough that they don't block across the table conversation at dinner.

  2. The balloons are so much fun ... I love these geronimo style ones ...

    Love Chrissi xo

  3. whenever those two ladies (Danielle and Alicia) are involved in a party, we know it is going to be as cute as can be!