What did you do for your 21st? did you have a party? Travel? Quiet dinner? Go out? Get drunk? I think these days the options are limitless. But me personally, I had to have a themed extravaganza of a party! Styling other people’s events are always stressful and I mean stressful! You are literally in charge of the centrepieces of their party and being a cake/dessert maker, this double trouble combo is always even HARDER. Not only do you want everything to LOOK beautiful with complimentary props and details but you need the sweet stuff to look and taste nice! Even though other people’s events are stressful and hard I absolutely adore doing theirs a whole lot more than my own, it was 100x harder and more stressful! I initially didn’t want to celebrate it in a traditional fashion, however by the force of my overinvolved family (kidding guys I do love you all), we decided to throw a party. Not just a party but an Arabian Nights themed party. Cliché I know, but being half Turkish, I really wanted to showcase all the beauty of the theme. Now, I planned this for about 6 months. I had about a million and 1 ideas but I knew that I had to be realistic and think about things realistically and financially, let’s face it any type of event costs money, BIG money. I wanted something different, I had seen 100’s and 1000’s of Arabian events and I wanted mine to have my own special touch, personal details and showcase authenticity as well as a modern twist. The essence of the event was to capture the colourful and magical aspects of the Arabian world, from rose petals to spices and nuts, and GOLD, tonnes and tonnes of GOLD! But the look wasn’t the only thing I wanted, I wanted things to have a level of sophistication to it as if it was slightly planned but still organic. The vision I had was to create a spice market feel, where the entire place was filled made to look and feel like you were in an actual Arabian setting. The pillows were all handmade by my beautiful mother who is so patient and talented (one art I do not possess). They were all patterned and colourful with gold pillows thrown in. The ceiling was adorned with satin fabrics in different colours as I wanted everything bright, flowing and giving it that full effect! The food that was served was canapes and also food made by some of my family. I wanted specific foods which would also highlight the Arabian theme, and I had my nene (grandmother) make handmade vine leaves and my aunty made my favourite Turkish cheese bread (to die for guys!!!).
We also had an array of other delicious things, there was just so much I couldn’t list. This was significantly important to me as I wanted to capture the generosity and lavishness of having an Arabian theme. Now to the really good sweet stuff all handmade and thought out by me. I wrote down a bunch of Arabian inspired desserts that I thought would be delicious and fit the theme beautifully, I also wanted to make things that people would enjoy. Here is the dessert menu from the night:
– Rose and raspberry panacotta
– Vanilla and rose Mahalepi (Turkish custard)
– Pina colada cheesecakes topped with dried pineapple flowers, non alcoholic 😉
– Vanilla cupcakes with Arabian decorated cupcake toppers
– Cinnamon cookies with Arabian decoration
– Lychee and raspberry jelly
– Tim tam mousse pops (not so Arabian, but Australian!)
– Coconut, apricot and date truffles
– Sutlu berek (Turkish custard pastries)
– Raspberry and rose mousse
– Turkish inspired rocky road filled with Turkish delight, pistachios, coconut, marshmallows
– Caramel filled chocolate pyramids
– Meringue kisses
I also have to highlight a delicious crunchy creamy addition made by one of my dear friends Linda from Pretty Little Bouquets, she made me these delicious knafeh cups, fitted with rose scented sugar syrup syringes A MUST HAVE at any Arabian themed party!
As you can see I went NUTS! The reason behind this was because I obviously wanted to feed my guests and make sure they all got to experience different flavours and textures but I also wanted to give them a generous spread that really added to the atmosphere and captured the essence of a hospitable Arabian dessert table. I also had customized chocolate bars and rock candy lollipops which were a must because of those gorgeous colours! The table itself was centred around a giant 5 tier cake all made by me and designed literally 2 weeks before the party (whoops!). I wanted something grand and still elegant so I made each tier have a different bold colour to match the party décor, each tier had Moroccan/Arabian inspired patterns in gold. The bottom tier was elevated to look create the illusion of a royal Arabian chest. The cake was topped with a hand carved pillow and a beautiful topper by Alaroch toppers.
The table itself was easy to put together, I made sure everything was matching so I used gold props to highlight the desserts, and the show stopper had to be the canopy that enclosed the desserts. It was made by my partner and decorated by handmade drapery by my mother. I wanted it to resemble an Arabian market stall. I couldn’t just have one table but I had TWO! Both covered in gold sequins. I loved the addition of the Moroccan lamps and lanterns against the table and on the table it really did give it some authenticity. The special part of the dessert table was that the trays used on the second table were from my nene, it was so special to me to have her precious collectables featured on my dessert table.
I also had a golden peacock chair that was adorned with fresh florals that were professionally arranged by my nana who also arranged my 2 other floral arrangements which had the most beautiful colours to match the theme!
One of my favourite parts of the party was the Arabian tray of goodies I put together, it sat next to my golden peacock chair and had a lantern in the middle. It was sectioned off into areas filled with nuts, dried fruits, apricot truffles, rose petals, spices and Turkish delights.
I think my guests enjoyed their sweets because I do know of a few who took them home!
I also made these cute little Moroccan inspired lanterns which were made from recycled jars, I literally just collected about 30 jars and decorated them. Heres how I did it…
So after thoroughly washing them and making sure all their sticky labels were removed I purchased some glass paint from spotlight, which im sure you can find at any craft store and I poured a generous amount into the jar, used a spongy brush and painted it all throughout the inside of the jar. Then, I flipped it over and let it set it only took about a day to set. Afterwards I used a gold puffy paint pen also purchased from spotlight, and made organic free-hand patterns on them and voila! I had custom made DIY Moroccan lanterns! My step-by-step is a bit off so ill post a simple link…
We placed the handmade pillows on custom seats made from recycled palettes made by my partner, cousin and dad which were absolutely amazing and actually were made for comfort as well as the overall presentation (yes dad, you thought of the bright idea of making them into recliners).
I also had to have an authentic Arabian carpet for the dance floor because well Princess jasmine got to fly on one, so why couldn’t I dance on one?!
The entire event was lit up with candles and I was exceptionally thrilled with how everything turned out and I’m glad that my vision came to life. As you can see this was a family affair so I have to just add in a special thanks. If you have a passion and a vision for something, you CAN make it happen if you want it badly enough.
Special thanks to my Nanabelle who allowed me to have my party at her home, cousin Chris for helping make the chairs, cousins Veronica and Paul for helping on the day, Nana Gloria for flying to Sydney and making my floral arrangements, my partners parents for always running around for me and helping it come together, my partner of course for helping with absolutely evetything and putting up with me (haha), as well as his parents for helping me get all those palettes and setting up my marquee! Thanks to my step-mum for running around like crazy and putting up all those drapes, my sisters for just being my sisters and helping when they could (love you girls), friends who helped me get it together, my beautiful aunty Naj and uncle Johnny for absolutely everything including my photobooth, my beria nene for making my beautiful skirt, and aunty narin and cousin beria for helping with food, as well as my own nene who is just so amazing and I’m so thankful for, my dad for the MASSIVE clean-up and helping the party come together and lastly my beautiful mother who did more for me than a mother should. I love you all and thank you so much.
Special thanks to my vendors!
Knafeh cups: Pretty Little Bouquets
Photography: Seray Niyazi Photography
Props: Prop My Party/Mary Ronis events
Custom stationary: Anders ruff
Food/catering: sweetest kitchen
Gold Spoons: Royal High Tea
Cake topper: alaroch
Special thanks to the girls at M events sydney! You girls are gems.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you did for your 21st!
Love Nelle, xox