Last year about this time, I found myself looking for an excuse for a party. Curiously, Halloween popped up. But if Halloween, then it had to be more than trick or treat and ghosts; it called for an occasion, a signature theme that would make this memorable for all. Suffering a bit of travel lust, I seized upon Venice, with its romantic and exotic overtones, ornate interiors within dreamy palazzos, lush textiles and furnishings — a Venetian Masquerade Fete, made all the more festive when its focus is champagne and dessert.
The sense of mystery and drama greeted guests as they rounded the last curve in the driveway, with washes over the house’s stucco facade, candles in all the windows, lanterns at the steps (a favorite detail for any party) and heavy russet velvet draperies (centered with an antique tole “Pope’s Plaque”).
The theme played well with the many antiques, like the wrought iron banister whose details were highlighted with a bank of candles descending down the steps .
Masks were very much a part of the theme, as announced in the invitation…from decorations to the guests’ attire.
“Birds of a feather…”
My favorite detail was VERY tongue-in-cheek (the best kind!)… and achieved with creative lighting. Our bluestone terrace off the salon was turned into a watery canal, with the “waves” lapping at the house; lanterns along the edge provided light for the red-striped “gondola poles” which were positioned in such a way as to have you believe you were looking out into dark waters where the long black gondolas were tied up, just out of view.
An antique bronze grate, gilt-edged Italian neo-classical side chair and a bust of a Venetian Doge accented one corner of the dessert room.
And what did we serve at this party that started at 8:30 PM? Desserts!! (There will be details galore in the forthcoming blog on hosting a dessert party). The benefits of choosing this specific theme for a Halloween party? Guests will have time to take the little ones “trick or treating” and then go on to your adult party.
All Images Courtesy of Kim Fuller Photography (unless otherwise noted).