The day dawned crisp and clear. Typical to any “Event Day” for me I’d barely slept the night before. My mind hummed with things still to do, excitement and a sense of urgency that my body vibrated to... What I’d imagine Christmas must be like for children, though I’ve never believed in Santa and his elves myself.
Today was the belated celebration of my February 18th birthday and the launch of this site. “A Fling for Queens” I was calling it with an invitation to “grown-up dress up,” pizza and a champagne bar. After a quick shower I called an Uber and 2 minutes later I was loading in the gowns, faux furs, wine, and various décor.
Upon my arrival at the London West Hollywood I was escorted to my beautiful self-proclaimed “Royal Suite”- the London One Bedroom, part of their Premiere Suite Collection.
The One-Bedroom Suite features a stylish entry with a long hallway that opens up into an opulent yet modern living room, a spacious separate bedroom to the right...1,250 feet of pure luxury. The rooms were bright with natural light from the two 250-square foot terraces that crowned them, elegant wrought iron framing breathtaking views of the Los Angeles skyline. Sunlight glinted off of the walls, one a champagne gold and the other a fine silver damask, giving the impression one was standing inside a jewelry box. A dining area, wet bar, and two stunning, oversized bathrooms completed the suite, one with a deep soaking tub and the other with an enormous shower featuring dual heads on either side.
Raychel arrived shortly after, and we quickly got to work unpacking the crystal candlesticks, tulle, satin, and lace. On the marble coffee table went the black velvet jewelry displays, standing bust and T-bar. We layered them with strands of glittering necklaces. The earrings went inside a silver case and the bracelets adorned the tabletop along with the faux diamonds and pearls we scattered on every available surface.
The rack came next hanging heavy with velvets, silks, and furs… every shade imaginable. The white table became the focal point for red velvet cakes frothy with cream cheese frosting, pierced by elegant gold crowns. The crystal candlesticks framed them with a round bowl in the middle filled with floating pearls. The pièce de résistance, however, was the marble desk turned champagne bar.
To the left were frosty bottles of white and sparkling encased in ice and silver with another row of red lined up behind them like dutiful soldiers. A sparkling cylinder of pomegranate juice and another of orange stood guard over crystal dishes filled with ruby red strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds- jewels shining in their own right.
Tiny silver and gold crown pins were offered from the other end with a note for guests to please accept one as a token of my friendship and acknowledgment of fellow Queenship, a crown that could be taken anywhere so they’d never need to leave home without one.
I stood back to admire our handiwork and just then the phone rang. The first guest had arrived.
For the next hour I was flitting back and forth to the elevator to greet my fellow Queens as they swept into the hotel in swishes of silk and clouds of delicate perfume. Alexandra came first, arms laden with fun props and accessories for the evening. Then, Danielle and Jen, right on time, with smiles and an air of elegance in fine navy lace and lavender silk.
Tiffany texts next, and the elevator doors open to her glimmering in copper sequins, a fairytale crown perched rakishly on her head. With her was Brina, dark and beautiful, and Anya, golden and resplendent in her studded gown which she quickly traded for one of mine. Karina shortly followed with an impressive chain mail-esque dress...One she also traded for something sparkly hanging on the rack.
Jackie brought a beautiful Bohemian vibe to the group... While, Markie and Emily a dash of rock 'n roll. The last to arrive is Annelise carrying a bright pink cake. I'm touched by her thoughtful, homemade gesture and the few glasses of Veuve Clicquot Rose I'd already imbibed.
"Eat it!" She demands, her infectious smile pulling one of my own. Not to be rude I swipe a taste of the fuscia icing. "No, no. Take a bite!" I laugh and lean forward to take a bite from the top, but something's wrong. My teeth won't sink through and the top layer is being drug away with me. For a moment I'm confused as I recall the pumpkin protein muffins she made for my Pumpkin Party the year prior. Then I realize that she may indeed be a terrible baker, but that's not the case here. This "sponge cake" was literally made of sponges! I roar with laughter as the others laugh too and try to capture the moment on their phones. I reward Annelise with a big, frosting filled kiss on the cheek.
We wipe the icing off and the dress-up begins in earnest as beaded gowns are traded for lace, and satin gloves and fur hats find their way onto new hands and heads. A firestorm of photos ensue which we quickly give up for dancing and more champagne. Joe's Pizza marks the halfway point, and we dig in with unsuppressed delight. Finally, games round out the evening with a last dose of hilarity as we struggle to play Reverse Charades in our gowns and now bare feet.
I'd first had the idea when I saw a mailer come through my inbox with the description "Create Your Winter Fairytale." I loved the idea of doing something whimsical, a bit tongue-in-cheek. My friends and I also refer to each other respectfully as Queens. We are almost all Alphas and have admiration for one another's strengths and integrity. I wanted to play off of this, but also with it, underscoring the knowledge that no one should ever take themselves too seriously.
To recreate "A Fling for Queens" for yourself I recommend starting with this stunning invitation by Bernard Maisner. Delicate crowns and elegant font set the tone from the moment your guests receive it. In the invitation I asked everyone to please bring gowns, gloves, faux furs, and costume jewelry to share.
I was lucky enough to have a beautiful space at The London West Hollywood for my event, but you can transform your setting with tapered candles available at any craft store and faux diamond and pearl table scatter. I got mine from Party City along with gold embroidered plates and napkins. You can order online if you don't have a local store, or Amazon is always an excellent resource as well.
From Amazon I purchased the gold crown cupcake toppers that added to the table decor and the floating pearls and candles. Perhaps my favorite purchase, however, was the gold and silver crown favors. I loved the thought of giving each Queen a crown that she can wear everywhere everyday!
Varying sizes of crystal glassware from candlesticks to bowls created an air of gentility. I love mixing expensive pieces with vintage finds. Having my party at the hotel also helped in that they provided the stemware and free-standing clothing racks, but these can be rented as well. Deciding to order pizza, too, made F&B a breeze... Plus, it incorporated a dash of playfulness, a hint of the dress-up slumber party from childhood.
For your champagne bar you'll need plenty of champagne (I always estimate one bottle per guest) plus a minimum of two juice mixers and two fruit "toppings." I chose pomegranate for my unique addition and orange for my classic. For fruit, I displayed strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate seeds, appreciating the varying ruby tones. An equal number of red and white wine was also provided lest anyone tire of bubbles.
On the logistical side, I printed two sheets with gridlines, one for accessories and one for dresses. They each had three columns for guest name, what accessory or gown she brought, and then one column for "worn by" so that no one loses track at the end of the night. I also setup a photo corner. These lights were a great buy! Not as portable as the description suggests, but easy enough to manage. Altogether, there was one area for accessories, one area for the racks of gowns and faux furs, a photo corner with lights, an elaborate desert table, seating for games, and our masterpiece of a champagne bar which featured the crown favors.
Last, but certainly not least, you'll need your crown! I absolutely adore this one from Amazon. It comes in 24 colors and is less than that in price! It's heavy and well-made. Honestly, it feels like the real deal. (I wear mine all the time!)
Of course if you are in the Southern California area or able to make it to The London West Hollywood, I highly recommend it for any occasion. It is one of LA's hidden gems: posh, sophisticated, and the service is wonderful! The location is excellent, right off of the Sunset strip and less than two miles from Beverly Hills. They have a glamorous restaurant, Boxwood, as well as a rooftop pool & bar and a state-of-the-art screening room.
I work personally with Tia Graham who is the Director of Sales & Marketing and Jeanie Yom, our fabulous Director of Travel Industry Sales. These ladies are two of my absolute favorites in the travel industry and take excellent care in VIPing our guests. If you'd like to experience it for yourself I am happy to make the arrangements! This will also grant you complimentary European continental breakfast for 2 daily, a special VIP amenity, early check-in and late check-out when available, an upgraded room at time of check-in if available, and complimentary Wi-Fi! They also offer a complimentary car service within a 2 mile radius. To all of my Queens around the world who deserve a taste of luxury...and a nod to your own integrity, I salute you!
May your head always be held high and your heart always be kind.
In the spirit of elegance & adventure,