Spanish Fiesta - La cuarenta de Allison
This is the story of Allison and her 40th birthday and our (I collaborated with friends on this) process of transporting her to Spain for the celebration of her 4th decade of life.
You see, Allison is OBSESSED with Spain and all things Spanish and she wanted nothing more but to go to Spain for her 40th. But life happens and it was not something she was able to do. So since she could not go to Spain, her lovely friend Jamie got us to bring Spain to her by transforming her house into a Spanish bodega.
Having lived in Spain myself, I was very excited to work on this project and little research was needed. I did do a Pinterest board per my usual but it is probably the most scant Pinterest board I have ever made. One, because I had an idea in my head already, and two because when you look up "Spanish event decorations" you mostly get Mexican style which is definitely NOT Spanish. There are a few overlapping qualities, say the tissue paper décor, but otherwise, they are very different things.
The theme, I decided, was going to be the colors gold and red. The Spanish flag is yellow and red and a deep rose red is just so characteristically Spanish. I knew we were going to need red roses to complete the look as flowers cohesively complete any decorative project in a way nothing else can.
After the theme was decided upon, I started doing inventory of items I had available that fit. My mercury gold vases, my gold trays, my lace covered milk jars (yes, lace is also very Spanish), my lace tablecloths, my awesome artistically photographed black-and-white postcards with quintessential Spanish scenes, black and white ostrich feathers and peacock feathers (hey, why not?).
Next, we all met at Jamie's house to get a feel for the space and make our final decisions. Fabric treatments are what I really wanted to discuss at this point. Because if flowers complete a decorative project, well, so do fabric treatments. They are kind of a must. Fortunately, my friend was super excited to do tissue paper banners and big tissue paper flowers everywhere and to use an accent of turquoise so I got to hand that off to her.
The last thing I did before party day was make and buy the things I had agreed to provide, aside from the already mentioned inventory. I bought fans and a great Spanish poster of a bullfight. I made black and gold lace and fringe votive candleholders and Spanish photo booth speech bubbles to bring along with my Instax photo booth. I used typical Spanish phrases that Allison loves to say like, "Es como un tren" ("He/She is super hot" but literally translates to "He/She is like a train") and "Amorcito" ("Little love"). The most fun project I made were Spanish wine bottles with christmas lights as little decorative lanterns. You know why this was the most fun? Because I had to drink the wine inside to get them empty. :)
The day of the party arrived and we gathered at Jamie's to decorate. We were busy little bees working on our own little projects. It was super fun. We would stop what we were doing here and there to help someone else. Another friend randomly brought so many extra touches, even red curtains that we hung up over an un-appealing window with broken blinds and I just randomly had some gold beads to tie it back with. I also had one last Spanish bottle I needed to finish to stuff Christmas lights into so the wine was passed around as we worked. The last hour or so was just putting last touches on everything: a lace tablecloth here to round out the look, a vase of flowers in the bathroom, framing a art nouveau Spanish poster I had brought that just didn't look right thrown up on the wall...
There was a bit of worry that other people would interpret "Spanish" the same as Pinterest and Google did when I searched for "Spanish event decorations." But it was amazing! Everyone dressed for the theme with gypsy, matador, Zorro, and flamenco costumes and brought delicious Spanish tapas and sangria. The party was such a success. Allison was completely surprised as she went from San Luis Obispo out on the street into a Spanish bodega in the heart of Granada. I heard compliments for days on the decorations.