Partied Out: Secret Garden Party Details

This post is sponsored by Tai Pan Trading, where you can find outrageously awesome decor and fashion for a fabulous price.


First off, I want to give a huge shout out to Tai Pan for making our party possible. We couldn’t have made quite the visual impact without their generosity or fabulous decor.

Alt Summit put a call for party submissions several months ago (August? September?). I quickly emailed Erin (I’ve been wanting to collaborate with her for some time), and we put our minds to work. Alt went with Erin’s genius plan for a Secret Garden themed soiree.

Why the genius? Because it totally played into the styling and decor that already exists at the Grand America (our venue)!


photo by rue rococo

We took on two more extraordinary creative partners, Alix and Brittany, and planned the heck out of it. I can’t begin to tell you how much hard work went into every little detail. Nevermind. I guess I can because you’re here, reading this.

Our hurdles:

  • $1000 decor/photography budget
  • a refrigerator box and a dishwasher box and a bundle of 10′ pipes that needed to be transported 700+ miles
  • arranging seating in a 500 sq. ft. room, half filled with a meat carving station
  • hanging things without touching the walls
  • finding time in our busy schedules to make everything happen



photo by Justin Hackworth

Knowing that the florals were taken care of (minus shipping them 700+ miles), it allowed us to focus on the decor. Unfortunately, if we wanted any kind of big statement (and we did) $1000 wouldn’t get us a whole lot.

Tai Pan let us borrow the most magnificent over-sized urns, topiaries, ceramic gnomes, 4′ lions and more! Every little piece was the right kind of whimsical detail to make the party great.


photo by rue rococo


photo by Brooke Dennis

We used two 5′ planters on either side of the interior of the door to hold the 8-10 tall florals. With our team and the help of serious floral foam, we got them to create a cozy archway that made such a fabulous impact on entry of the room. Sort of an Alice-in-Wonderland moment.


photo by Justin Hackworth


photo by Erin Mercado

I didn’t get nearly as many photos as I would have liked, but here’s a little snippit of some of the signage I made and the hankie wall. We pinned the hankies onto several moss plaques. It made a fun statement, but when the hankies were gone it still looked nice.


photo by Erin Mercado

Flanking either side of the exterior doors were lions. They were at least 3 feet tall. Alix made giant floral crowns for them. I loved the juxtaposition of those two elements.


photo by rue rococo


Shhh!! It’s a secret! It was so wonderful to work with such talented ladies. From left: Erin, Brittany, Alix, Me

Alix made the photo backdrop from shredding lace and dyed thrift store bed sheets. Inspired by this pin (anyone know the original resource?), but a TON fuller. It made a fabulous impact in the room.


photo by rue rococo

We kept the tables pretty simple with moss runners, river rocks, ceramic gnomes and inspirational quotes. Trying to find quotes that would fit the Secret garden theme was TOUGH! I watched the movie with Penelope about a month or so ago. I forgot how sad it was. Penelope even started crying! She was so sad to see the little girl’s mom ignoring her. It might have hit a little too close to home for Penelope (Chris has been picking up a lot of slack lately with all this Alt craziness).


photo by rue rococo


photo by rue rococo


View all photobooth pics here.

Planning a party of this scale couldn’t have been done without such great support of these fabulous ladies (and a husband or two). Working with these inspiring women was so much fun (a little too much fun at times, even).


Another special thanks to all of the people and brands that helped make our vision happen: Tai Pan Trading for decor and jewelry, Lizy Bowden for florals, Spoonflower for the hankies and Tiffany for the C-stands for the backdrops.

Now I’m ready for a nap.

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    1. amelia says:

      If you right click on any image, you can do a google image search. I found the image was most likely from either which would have been the venue or I love the google image search for random pinterest images that aren’t attributed to the right source.

    2. Lucy says:

      Lovely party! Your pin is from a wedding photographed by Ken Kienow, and was probably pinned from Green Wedding Shoes :)

    3. Kristin H says:

      Amazing! You guys did a fabulous job. And that last picture of you? Stunning.

    4. Celeste says:

      This is beautiful, Melissa!

    5. Shelby says:

      This is so great! The Secret Garden was my favorite movie as a kid (I’ve always liked moodier movies) and remains so to this day! I think I’ll have to sit down and rewatch it soon myself. (Oh, and I’m referring to the version w/ Maggie Smith.)

    6. Merrick says:

      Seriously an amazing party! You guys did such a great job!

    7. Heatherlee says:

      Those flowers are amazing! Gorgeous pictures and gorgeous girls!

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