'think simple' - this has always been a mantra of mine and when it comes to events and styling it sums up my taste perfectly. don't get me wrong, over-the-top styled events can be absolutely breathtaking but if you're anything like me then 1 - you know that they're not realistic for the everyday joe and 2 -you're always having to think twice about every movement you make because you just might break everything and that is just unnecessary stress. so let's save the over-the-top style for weddings and let's talk sweet and simple styling and i'll share some inspiration for your next event or celebration. 

the beginning of this month just happened to be my baby sister's birthday, and so it was the perfect excuse for me to put together a little celebration and enlist the help of my favourite creatives to make it amazing. I don't know about you, but whenever i scroll through my insta i often see perfectly styled events from super talented folks down south and so i find myself thinking that it isn't achievable in rockhampton. but that couldn't be further from the truth, rocky is full of talented and creative folks who are just as dedicated to simple and beautiful style as i am. so i set out to prove that just because i live in a smaller city than some, beautifully styled celebrations are just as attainable and easy to put together.

the long and the short of the story is, that with some simple ideas, the help of some amazing creative humans and a bit of scheming i was able to pull together this little event and surprise my sister for her birthday. in the afternoon my parents whisked away my little sister on the pretense that they just had to "go for a drive" before dinner. a car ride of questions later, hannah found herself in an underground car park where i met her with a smirk and the word surprise! a quick elevator trip up to the penthouse of the empire hotel and she walked in to be met with a drink and the surprise that our family were having a little intimate dinner and spending the night together. she was in shock at my scheming skills and blown away with the surprise. the night was spent eating delicious food, sharing laughs, facetiming extended family, getting high from all the sugar and creating amazing memories that won't be forgotten. it just goes to show that a little planning and effort goes a long way.

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keep the colour scheme to no more than 3 colours, if you find yourself wanting more colour use varying shades of one of the colours.

you can always make the cake yourself, i don't care if you use packet mix or even buy the sponge from woolies, having the creative control to match the colour and style to your event is going to make the cake shine rather than stick out like a sore thumb. you don't have to go overboard with the decoration, remember simple is beautiful.

when it comes to baking the desserts, create a time plan - make sure you start as far in advance as you can, and remember that when you have one dessert in the oven you can prepare the next one so that it's ready to simply swap out.

use fresh flowers or foliage if possible, it will add life to your styling and help break up any inanimate props.

balloons are always appropriate, no matter the age of the guest of honour or style of event.

while i'm usually an advocate for symmetry on dessert tables, try mixed serving ware to create a relaxed feel and make things even more visually interesting - just keep things within your chosen colour scheme or use neutral colours like black white and grey.

think outside the box - desserts can be arranged on many different items to create interest. don't limit yourself to cake stands, think of acrylic laptop risers, trinket trays, chopping boards, boxes or other styling objects which can be used to add varying heights.

to create an elegant feel try to avoid disposable plates and cups, instead try simple glassware and white dinnerware - you can find very stylish and affordable options from the likes of kmart.

cloth napkins are an easy way to elevate your table style and make things appear more fancy than they may be.

try to not to use too many plates, dishes, serving plates on your table - the last thing you want to have to do is spend the rest of your night washing up.

have a plan for how your event will run - eg. drinks on arrival, followed by a sit down dinner, the cutting of the cake and dessert table grazing. 

there are so many things you can diy - from invitations to gift bags and everything in between, don't be afraid to give things a go and get creative, you'll surprise yourself just how crafty you really are.

enlist help - you don't have to do everything yourself, don't be afraid to ask a friend to help out even with menial tasks remember that a job shared is a job halved and as long as you have company you might even enjoy it.


if you have an event in mind, but don't know where to start, i'd be more than happy to point you in the right direction and offer any helpful suggestions i can. if you're in the rockhampton area, i'm more than happy to have a chat with you regarding your event, share my local contacts or even my recipes. 

photos - DMK photographics | florals - Jess Mauger Floral Design | cake topper - glistening occasions | balloons - curly lou's twisted balloons | chairs and plinth - stylish events & hire | location - empire rockhampton

thanks to the many talented humans who helped me surprise my baby sister with this special event.