Laura U hosts a swanky spring soiree

May is a gorgeous time in Houston. It’s sunny, but not too hot which is perfect for spending time outside. Not to mention, we get to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day!

May Rosé All Day. There’s a reason why that rhymes. It’s meant to be…

But there’s another great reason to celebrate in May: Women’s Health Week. I think taking the time to relax, rejoice, and re-energize is a huge part of living a healthy life. And I’m not alone. The Mayo Clinic recommends being around friends to reduce stress and improve your self worth. I decided to host some of my favorite Houston ladies with a celebration of palomas, mommas, and badass boss women everywhere.

I quickly enlisted the help of my go-to party planners – Courtney, Amy, Kerry, and Kelli. They put together a stunning fall fete at my home last year! I knew these party professionals would be full of spring tablescape ideas and could help me create a stunning design.

The spring soiree tablescape takes shape.
The spring soiree tablescape takes shape.

Our Spring Soiree Guestlist

No one designs beautiful events better than Courtney Paddock of Little Coterie. She thinks of all the little details and knows how to make guests feel extra special. This gathering has been a long time in the making. Courtney had this great idea to host a Cinco de Mayo themed cocktail party back in February. Not your average booze-soaked get together, a sophisticated spring soiree with a fresh menu and an elevated signature drink. She was the mastermind of our Fall Fete last year, so I knew we were in great hands!

Everyone who knows me knows that I love statement lighting. Really large, over-sized pieces are my favorite. In terms of party planning, lighting plays a huge role in creating an event’s ambiance. I worked with lighting expert Amy Margolin from MM Lighting to install the perfect fixture for my spring get together.

Kelli Bunch of KB Table and Amy Margolin of M&M Lighting
Kelli Bunch of KB Table and Amy Margolin of M&M Lighting

Of course, no party is complete without yummy food and delicious cocktails. I knew my go-to caterer, Kelli Bunch of KB Table, would create a scrumptious menu featuring dishes with of fresh, local ingredients.

And I really can’t go too long without seeing Kerry Kirk, the fabulous photog capturing Houston’s loveliest interiors (including my own!)

Ceviche in little coconuts - pretty and yummy!
Ceviche in little coconuts – pretty and yummy!

Set the Scene – Don’t Get Rained Out!

Big disclaimer: if you’re doing an outside event, make sure to have a backup location in mind! The morning of our soiree, the rain was coming down hard. Clouds were hanging low. It felt like flash flooding at a moment’s notice. Which, for us Houstonians is a very real and very familiar situation.

Thankfully, we were smart and gave ourselves an indoor and outdoor option. When the sun miraculously popped out, we easily moved the festivities to my backyard.

The sun came out and so did we at Laura U's Spring Soiree
The sun came out and so did we!

Create Ambiance – Lights, Music, and the Perfect Glass of Wine

A perfect party happens when you set the right ambiance. Courtney’s Cinco de Mayo set up was classic. That means lots of color and traditional sombreros!

I chose a fun playlist of festive tunes to set the mood when guests arrived. Hint: Ray LeMontagne will get you in the party spirit.

This guacamole was some of the best I'd ever had!
This guacamole was some of the best I’d ever had!

I also try to be super relaxed whenever I’m hosting. Usually that means I’ve got a glass of rosé in my hand. And of course, I’m offering that to my guests. I consider myself a little bit of a rosé aficianado. I chose Whispering Angel for our Spring Soiree (apparently the most popular rosé in the world right now) and we weren’t disappointed! Kelli also created a watermelon paloma for our spring feast. More on that later…

Laura Umansky and Courtney Paddock at Umansky's home
That’s me, watermelon paloma in hand, with party planner extraordinaire, Courtney

Spring Tablescape Ideas

Full of vibrant shades of aqua, pink, orange, and green, Courtney’s theme needed a fun, colorful spring tablescape. It was a master class in party planning to watch her put this together. A tiny pineapple at each place setting and fresh oranges tucked in the floral arrangement gave the table some life. Here’s a run down:

Toasting to women! Kelli, Amy, Courtney, Kerry, me, and Karen of Little Coterie
Toasting to women! Kelli, Amy, Courtney, Kerry, me, and Karen of Little Coterie
  1. Opt for an interesting floral bouquet – this arrangement from Maxit Flower Design certainly does the trick! I think it not only brightens up the space, but brightens up your spirit. These flowers made everyone smile.
  2. Make room for conversation – while I love the chairs surrounding this table (from the wonderful folks at Reeves Antiques, which I visit often for project sourcing), it’s best to not have them around the food table. Assemble chairs along the walls to create zones for one-on-one chats.
  3. Update your table with a tablecloth – I love the timeless pairing of black and white. It really makes colors pop. Not like it’s hard to make these flowers jump out at you, but a grounding neutral contrast helps tie it all together. Go for black and white or, for something more subtle, gray and cream. I designed a custom tablecloth for this soiree, courtesy of my friends at Revolution Performance Fabrics. I mixed two fabrics, one quarter turned, and the results are stain-wicking magic. I love it! It was the perfect backdrop for these bright colors to pop!
  4. Create a collected look with plates and serving dishes – These serving dishes and silverware came from Courtney’s personal collection. She loves to find interesting patterns and colors at Anthropologie. Mix and match different colors and styles for a worldly feel. Honor the past with vintage dishes or ones you’ve inherited. Family memories are often shared around the table. Keep those treasured moments alive with new friends.
  5. Get personal – For the menu place settings, Courtney enlisted the help of her friend Tone and State. I also love the handmade touch of calligraphy for place cards.

The Carayes from Hudson Valley Lighting

Lighting

I first saw this light at High Point Market and I knew it needed to find a space in my home. The Carayes from Hudson Valley Lighting (Martyn Lawrence Bullard for Corbett) is made with hand-cut rattan and stainless steel accents. It provides a dark contrast to my breakfast room, which is normally very airy and bright. I love that it is hand-made. I love the natural earthiness of it. And I love it so much, that I’m writing about it in a separate post, so stay tuned.

Amy and I knew it was the perfect fixture for my soiree.

The Menu

Kelli created a menu inspired by traditional Mexican cuisine. Using fresh and local ingredients, these dishes were also beautiful on the plate!

We started off with agua fresca style popsicles and mini shrimp tostadas. The main course was white fish ceviche served in a coconut half with fresh flowers and herbs. We munched on Mexican street corn skewers and plantain chips with salsa roja, salsa verde, and guacamole.

Kerry takes a close up of this amazing spread
Kerry takes a close up of this amazing spread

For dessert, Kelli prepared traditional Mexican cookies and pastries. My twins took care of these that night!

Most Cinco de Mayo parties rely on margaritas, but our signature cocktail of the day was a watermelon Paloma paired with specialty rimming salts. Kelli did an amazing job crafting a menu with color and variety!

Colorful galletas at a Cinco de Mayo party
There were A LOT of galletas…which my daughters were pretty happy about

Being Happy and Healthy

For anyone who knows me, they know that I hate the word “overwhelmed”. But this year has been a busy one. International clients, LEGENDS around the corner, a full roster of projects, and even more fun announcements coming up…I’m at my limit when it comes to schedules.

A lovely Spring Soiree at the home of Laura Umansky
Wow – what a beautiful display from Maxit Flower Design

 

Kerry Kirk and Laura Umansky, at a sophisticated spring soiree
Kerry photographs so many of my interiors – a big cheers for her!

 

So this Cinco de Mayo spring soiree was the perfect way to take some time to breathe, while celebrating my friendship with these powerhouse women. Who, let’s face it, also need a break from time to time!

Raise your palomas as we toast to women this May!

Event Planning and Design: Little Coterie | Lighting: MM Lighting | Catering: KB Table | Photography: Kerry Kirk Photography

Author

Laura U

Laura Umansky is a story-teller at heart. Her unique perspective and tailored design process empower her to create singular interiors for clients all over the world.

One thought on “Cinco de Mayo Spring Soiree and Spring Tablescape Ideas

  1. Hannah D. on May 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm Reply

    Beautiful!!! I love this. Going to make those Palomas tonight!

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