When it came to designing a styled shoot for our July issue, the idea of a literary-inspired backyard soiree was the perfect complement to the rest of the issue. Though ours was a summer party, I included details that work year-round (imagine this theme in a dramatic ballroom in October, or an industrial space in winter!) and are also ideal for a literary-inspired wedding.
All images by Siobhan Egan
How to Throw a Literary-Inspired Party
This is a theme than can translate to any space. It would be perfect in a room filled with books, but for a fun summer party we chose a simple backyard setting.
The palms added a “tropi-goth” feel (thanks to Dame Darcy for coining this phrase in our July interview with her!) that juxtaposes well with fresh blooms. I chose to add a variety of literary props–a card catalog, vintage typewriter, and stacks of books, to name a few. Using book stacks to place jars of flowers or other items on adds height variation and visual interest to your table scape.
Although silhouettes aren’t strictly literary-inspired, they remind me of the Brontes and Jane Austen, so I chose to include them on the table, and repeated the motif on the invitation. As a fun detail, the silhouettes are of myself and my fiance–consider making silhouettes of the hosts at your own party! I made these by taking profile pictures of each of us against a plain background, using the pen tool to trace around them in Illustrator, and filling with black (you can do the same thing in Photoshop). Otherwise, you could do a quick Google search for silhouettes to print and use (fine for a private gathering!) The mismatched frames add a rustic touch.
For name cards, I chose to use famous authors and I designed what I think would be a lively group! You could also use famous characters from books. Consider a “who am I” icebreaker game for guests to learn which name they get.
I Mod-podged strips of decorative script paper to clothespins, and added a black feather as a finishing touch–a reference to the writer’s quill (or maybe ravens’ feathers are what Poe brought to the party!)
For your finishing touches, fill in holes with fresh flowers, or potted plants, and be sure to add textiles for layering!
To see the full feature, A Literary Fete, be sure to check out our July issue!