Party Inspiration: Fine and Dandy

Today is Pete’s 30th Birthday (Happy birthday Pete! I know you’re reading!) We’ve got a packed weekend of celebrations lined up, dinner alone tonight, family over the weekend and tomorrow we’re having a drinks party.

Planning a party is never easy but I wanted it to be special because it’s a 30th. We thought about a fancy dress theme initially but thought it was a big commitment for guests to make. I really do think dressing up lends a real sense of fun to a party and brings people out of themselves. When I was hunting for some masculine invitations on Etsy I came across some invitations to a Moustache Bash and alighted on our theme.

Invitation Design (with details blanked out) Cardtopia Designs on

Now, I consider myself creative, but I’m not anywhere near on the level of my friend Michelle, the planner and designer extraordinaire behind Pocketful of Dreams, so I decided to drop her a line and see if she had any ideas. I know there must be a few of you who have faced or will face the same conundrum, how to do a stylish and unique man’s birthday party, without it looking like an explosion in a blue balloon factory? So here is Michelle to save us all from the planning doldrums – I was blown away by her ideas!

Image Credits 1. via Hire The Stache 2. Sarah Rhoads Photographers via Style Me Pretty
3. & 7. Jesi Haack Weddings via Hostess Blog 4. Antique apothecary jars 5. Moustache art print via collageOrama on Etsy 6. magnifying glass at Anthropologie
8. via Tweed Run 9. Pharmacy Print via Fine Art America

When Rebecca recently asked if I could provide some inspiration for her husband’s 30th Birthday Bash I was absolutely delighted to get my teeth stuck into a more masculine party style.

I wanted to come up with something stylish and tasteful, with a gentlemanly vibe, yet still full of fun. The backdrop for this birthday bash is actually a former police station, full of exposed brickwork, copper detailing and sumptuous tan leather recliners, so I began to think about a design concept in fitting with the surroundings. Of course being at a former ‘nick’ my thoughts immediately turned to a certain detective character to be my party muse.

The character in question is our very own British treasure, Sherlock Holmes, who has bounced back onto our TV screens of late. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective is brilliantly eccentric – a trait which lends itself so very well to an eclectic and refined party design. Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take on almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases. He can often be found donning a dapper tweed suit, surrounded by olde worlde antiquities, habitually smoking a pipe and of course carrying the ubiquitous magnifying glass.

And so the Fine and Dandy inspiration was born, with a manly colour palette of amber and tan, tobacco and black, this style is full on masculine refinement.

Here are a few ideas on how you can take the inspiration to celebration:

  • Anything scientific would make wonderfully eclectic decor, think science lab supplies such as test-tubes and magnifying glasses, mixed in with old medicine bottles and ancient chemistry and anatomy books.
  • Turn huge apothecary jars into terrarium displays filled with moss, airplants and succulents for a more manly take on floral displays.
  • As Holmes is known as the master of disguise, provide your guests with a whole host of props they can don to turn themselves into detectives for the night. Fill your dressing up box with moustaches on sticks, various vintage hats, antique style pistols, waking canes, smoking pipes and a few tweed jackets.
  • Use pages of the financial times as your photobooth backdrop and spraypaint moustaches, pipes and monocles to the paper using stencils found online
  • Create a cake or dessert table, filled with a mis-matched selection of cakes and treats, maybe even a moustache cake like this one!
  • Provide a unique police-record ID guestbook for your guests to leave a fingerprint along with their greetings for the birthday boy.
  • Give your guests a crime to solve, with little clues hidden all around your venue. Provide each one with a mini notebook and yellow pencil so they can write down their clues and try to solve the case.
  • You could hang magnifying glasses from the ceiling for a eye-catching and unusual display, these can be picked up for around £1 each like these ones here
  • Reference alchemy by making signature cocktails available for your guests in fitting with your concept: The Watson, Elementary, and 221b Baker Street. For manly cocktails think simple, high-quality ingredients like rum, brandy and whisky, mixed with coke, ginger beer or soda.

So there you have the ultimate gentleman’s party, refined and sophisticated, with a cheeky twist of fun.

Michelle x

I hope some of you out there found this interesting and even gained some inspiration for it for the men in your life. If you are planning a party that you would like a little help with, please do get in contact with Michelle – she’s one of the most creative people I’ve worked with in the Wedding Industry and I can highly recommend her, aside from being fun to be around!

I’m getting excited…


PS Happy Birthday to Victoria too 🙂 x

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