Erin McLean Events is a boutique wedding planning + design team specializing in elevated design and exceptional service. Based in North Carolina, We create Southern couture events for the fanciful at heart. Our team of creatives orchestrate seamless and lovely occasions that are true to our clients.

EME Happy Hostess Series | Tips For Hosting a Festive Thanksgiving | Signature Cocktail

Can you believe it is already time to start planning your holiday calendar?! For many of our “Type A” friends,  that calendar has probably been planned for quite some time, but for those of us who still have some Ts to cross and Is to dot, we have some hostess tips that will have you singing a thankful song!

Fall Tablescape

Photo by Nancy Ray Photography

We love the idea of hosting friends and family for the Holidays. I grew up spending those specials days at my grandmother’s house, which many of us Southerns did. I remember the smells of fresh made biscuits and honey ham baking in the old white ovens that I am am fairly certain they don’t make anymore. Now, it is up to us to be the hosts and hostesses, some times for family and sometimes for friends, also more recently dubbed as “Friendsgiving”.

While planning a lovely Thanksgiving dinner can be overwhelming, we encourage you to keep it simple and add just a few elements that make a big impact on your guests. We are kicking off the week before Thanksgiving with our first tip for making your guests smile from ear to ear at your next holiday gathering.

Tip 1: Welcome guests into your home with a fresh signature cocktail!

What a fun way to celebrate the arrival of your loved ones than to offer a lovely signature drink! We suggest choosing something with a classic and festive flare that will appeal to all of your guests. Little ones attending? consider choosing a drink that can be done with sparkling grape juice or a splash of Sprite so they can feel included in the hospitality! We love selecting a recipe that uses fresh ingredients and a bright garnish for extra cheer. Here are a few fanciful concoctions that will do just the trick —

Sparkling Pear + Cranberry Cocktail 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons dry cranberries
  • 1/2 cup organic pear nectar
  • 32 ounces Moscato d’Asti wine
  • 8 small sprigs fresh rosemary

How to Make it:

  1. Put cranberries in a small bowl; add 2 tablespoons warm water. Soak until cool, about 15 minutes. drain, pat dry, and refrigerate until serving.
  2. Divide pear nectar evenly among eight tall champagne glasses. Add cranberries, and then gently pour the Moscato d’Asti into the glasses. Garnish each with a rosemary sprig.

Sparkling Pear

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living | Photo By Kirsten Strecker

Apple Cider Mimosa

What You’ll Need:

  • Apple Cider
  • Champagne
  • gold and silver sprinkles for rim of glass
  • apple slices for garnish

How to Make it:

  1. Dip the top of each champagne glass into water and then dip in the sprinkles to coat.
  2. Pour each champagne glass ½-3/4 full with apple cider.
  3. Top with champagne
  4. Garnish with apple slice


Recipe courtesy of The Cookie Rookie | Photo courtesy of the Cookie Rookie

Pumpkin Pie Shooters

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz whipped cream vodka
  • Marshmallow fluff
  • Graham cracker crumbs

How to Make it:

  1. Dip the top of your shot glasses in marshmallow fluff until the rim is coated.
  2. Dip the coated rim in graham cracker crumbs until marshmallow fluff is completely covered.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree, creamer, vanilla and whipped cream vodka to your blender.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Pour pumpkin pie shots into graham cracker rimmed shot glasses.

Pumpkin Pie Shooters

Recipe + Photo Courtesy of A Night Owl Blog

Want to add a little more flair to your welcome cocktails? We recommend a stylish new serving tray to display your libations. For a reasonable but eye catching find, run out to your nearest Homegoods, Pier One, or Target location — you’re sure to find the perfect addition to your hostessing kit.

Have a favorite holiday drink that your friends and family love? We would love to hear about it! Visit us on Instagram at @erinmcleanevents or on Facebook at Look for Holiday Hosting Tip #2 coming soon!



Our Top Picks for Royal Wedding Inspired Trends

Of course we were up at the crack of dawn to catch it all!! We have been eagerly anticipating catching that first glimpse of Kate’s wedding gown, to see the florals she chose for her bouquet, and of course take sight of the amazing royal decor! Needless to say we were not disappointed. Every little detail was perfectly charming from Kate’s Grace Kelly inspired wedding gown to the couples’ decorated sports car getaway. This was the wedding of the year, maybe even the decade. And we’re sure that royal wedding inspired trends will follow. Here we share a few of our favorite picks for royal wedding trends.

Touches of Nature

What an absolutely perfect way to tie in Kate and William’s love for the outdoors by bringing a little bit of nature into the Abbey. Not an easy feat, but the look the trees achieved was truly spectacular.  Maybe you don’t want to bring in huge trees,  instead you can focus on small ways to incorporate aspects of things the two of you like to do. For example, if you two enjoy rock climbing together you can use pebbles in centerpieces. Twigs in floral arrangements and moss inside glass centerpieces are also simple ways to add touches of nature to your wedding.

More Signifcant Bouquets and Floral Choices

We love the idea of meaningful florals. We often get brides that want to incorporate the same type of flowers their mothers or grandmothers carried when they got married, or flowers that their finaces often brought them. Some of our brides have even chosen to carry charms of significance or tiny cameo pictures of loved ones integrated into their bouquets.

According to the royal press release, “The bouquet is a shield-shaped wired bouquet of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth. The bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly and draws on the traditions of flowers of significance for the Royal Family, the Middleton family and on the Language of Flowers.”

The bouquet is extremely small in comparison to Kate’s beautiful, sweeping gown  but the tiny blooms echo the delicate lace on the bodice of the dress. We think it is wonderfully proportionate. And her decision to have a bouquet that held significance made it a royal wedding trends we expect to see plenty of in the future.

Neutral Bridal Party Dresses

We have always been fan of champagne, or other light colored gowns. Isn’t wearing white at someone else’s wedding a total fashion faux pas? Turns out, British traditions are different than American ones. An old superstition says that bridesmaids and groomsmen should dress similarly to the bride and groom to ward off evil spirits. And we think neutral colored bridesmaids dresses are the perfect compliment to any white or ivory bridal gown. We’re excited to see more Pippa Middleton inspired bridesmaids dresses make a stylish appearance at upcoming weddings.

Traditional Wedding Styles

From Kate’s timeless Grace Kelly inspired lace gown to the royal getaway carriage we’re expecting to see a lot more classic and traditional elements infused into weddings. But you don’t have to bust your budget to host a regal wedding. Wearing a vintage accessory, such as a veil or jewelry that your mother or grandmother wore at her wedding is an affordable way to incorporate a classic style into your wedding apparel. Other traditional wedding elements we expect to see are receiving lines, formal brunch receptions, and touches of vintage inspired lace.

Whether it’s flowers of significance or traditional wedding gowns, the royal wedding will undoubtedly influence the latest wedding trends and styles. Whether you want a perfectly regal wedding, or just want to incorporate one or two trends from the royal wedding into your day, you can feel like a princess on your big day.

Now who else is excited to see Britain’s most eligible bachelorette, Pippa Middleton, get engaged and start planning her own royal inspired wedding?