The Party Emporium

Donna Hay’s Chocolate & Pretzel Cake will change your life.

Donna Hay’s Chocolate & Pretzel Cake will change your life.

Ahh, Easter. That time of year when you gorge yourself on all manner of chocolate goodness, and then swear you’ll never touch the stuff for at least 24 hours. When you’ve recovered from over-indulging (after all, dark chocolate is good for you…), you’ll want to try this recipe – and chances are, you’ve got most of the ingredients already. This one of those recipes you are likely to bust out time and time again – it’s a super simple crowd-pleaser with wow-factor, from that doyenne of all things tasty – Donna Hay. It is quite literally the best thing you’ll put in your mouth.


Pick up a copy of this month’s Chocolate special issue – but this is the one recipe you really need in your life. Find it on her website here or read it below. Trust us on this one.


  • 115g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 450g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 1 cup (50g) mini pretzels





A simple Easter place setting

A simple Easter place setting

We’d barely put the Christmas decorations away and before you know it, Easter is upon us. The giveaway surely should have been the hot cross buns in the shops by January 1, but hey – we’ve been busy, right?

If you’re having people over for an Easter brunch, we’ve got the simplest idea to take you from hero to zero. Egg name cards! Simply use a Sharpie pen or artline and use your best cursive writing on hardboiled eggs. We found our cute egg cups from Ikea and sprayed them gold (if you can spray it gold – why wouldn’t you?) To make it more autumnal, we simply raided the backyard for fallen leaves in shades of orange and rust, offset by some beautiful ruby red pomegranates we picked off the tree for a simple and really organic table runner. Using our library cards for menus and kraft scallop tags with our alphabet stamps adds a sweet and stylish touch. Make sure you check out the Miss Bunting Pinterest page for more Easter ideas!


DIY Plaster Flower Tealight Holder

DIY Plaster Flower Tealight Holder

Stuck for a stylish but super cheap table decorating idea this Christmas? Look no further than the fake flower aisle at your local $2 dollar shop. Say what, you say? Fake flowers are usually on our no-go zone, but if you happen to have a bunch to hand, or want to create a gorgeous romantic inspired table setting on the cheap, then this is the DIY for you. We can imagine one per person scattered down the table with tendrils of ivy or greenery intertwined for an enchanting evening setting. This DIY is so inexpensive and highly effective, but also very messy! You are best to work over some plastic or newspapers and on the benchtop near the sink. Be warned, but it’s totally worth it!

You’ll need:

–       Fake flower head, preferably a light colour – we used a peach rose

–       Pottery Plaster

–       Tealights – you’ll need 2 per flower tealight

–       Cup or bowl you can mix your plaster in. We used a disposable cup for the first layer and a plastic takeout container for the second as it needs to be wider that the first. You’ll see!

–       Washi tape

–       Peg

–       Disposable spoon or ice cream stick for mixing

–       Water

–       Optional, peg and paintbrush


DIY Plaster tealight

Prep your flower by removing the green stem flower base and taking out the plastic inserts that might be in there to prop the petals up in place. Pop the plastic green base back on, but you might find your flower might be a little floppy now.

Pop one of the tealights out of the silver base and remove the wick, but pop the tealight back into it’s silver casing.

Mix some pottery plaster up in a cup, a thicker consistency than usual is required for the first layer. Per flower we used ¼ cup water to ½ cup plaster.

Pop your flower into the plaster mixture, completely submerging it in the plaster until it’s covered.

Take it out so it can set. At this point, you can pop a peg around the base to support it, or push it into the wax tealight where the wick was. Some of the petals may clump together, so have a play with them and unfurl them out, making sure there is space at the top for the tealight to sit in comfortably. This is the messy bit and it can start to get a little claggy, so move fast, but don’t stress – you’ll be applying another layer of plaster, just make sure you’re happy with the shape of the flower.

Leave to set. When dry, mix another batch of plaster, this time a bit runnier, similar to clay slip. Try ¼ plaster to ¼ water per flower. Again, dip the tealight flower back in – this is why you’ll need a bigger container as the flower is generally bigger and now solid and stiff!

Alternatively, you can try painting additional plaster over each petal, smoothing it out and covering any exposed petal or colour coming through.

Leave to set again using the peg or pushing into the tealight as before.

Once dry, as an additional touch, wrap the tealight in washi tape to it looks more like a base and less like a tealight.

Pop the second tealight in the top and set the table – you’re ready to go!


Miss Bunting elopes in New York

Miss Bunting elopes in New York

So Miss Bunting has been on a little hiatus of late – just a small matter of a MARRIAGE! Yes, that’s right – while on holiday in the US last month, my husband and I decided to elope while in NYC. So yes, you could say Miss Bunting is now Mrs Bunting – but that whole name-changing saga is a post for another time….

While eloping is not for everyone, it really was for us. We both have wonderful families – I am especially close with my brothers and parents, so its not to say there wasn’t a little disappointment (mainly at missing out), but for us, eloping was very much the formality. What we’re looking forward to now is a party with our nearest and dearest! For anyone thinking about eloping in New York, I’ve compiled a little cheat sheet on the ‘how to’ side of things. More details about our actual elopement to be shared with you all soon!


Eloping in New York City is surprisingly simple – which explains why so many people from so many different countries to do it! My experience is relevant only to Australian citizens getting married in New York state – always, always do your own research as processes and laws are forever changing. Plus, not only do all the different American states have different rules, different countries have different rules about the validity of marriage in foreign countries – so be sure to check yours will be legal in yours!

  1. The first step is to obtain a Marriage License. This is in effect, the piece of paper that approves you to be married. You can start the process online back home, by filling out the form to apply for a marriage license. Once you have filled out the form, you have 20 days to go into the City Clerks office to complete the process, otherwise you need to resubmit the form. It’s no dramas if you need to do this, and you can just do this at the City Clerk’s office. We did it online just before we left, meaning we were in the system and were only required to line up at the City Clerk’s office to finish off the application by showing our proof of identity (our Australian passport) and sign the forms.
  2. Once you have applied, submitted and are successful in obtaining your marriage license, you are able to get married anywhere in New York state for the next 60 days. HOWEVER, you have to wait exactly 24 hours before you can do this. Did I say EXACTLY? Make sure you check things like public holidays – lets just say Columbus Day nearly threw a Columbus sized spanner in the works for us! Also beware, lines and wait times are notorious to predict – so if you go down at 11am thinking you can get married at midday the next day – you might be in for a rude shock if you end up having to wait 4 hours to get your license approved. This is a problem if you have photographers, hairdressers or anything booked. Leave yourself a few days grace. Also, you need $35 – they take card, thankfully.
  3. 24 hours later (exactly, in case I wasn’t clear), you can be married. Which involves going back down to the City Clerk’s office, getting your number, waiting in one line to be seen by an office who will then check your paperwork , approve it’s been 24 hours, and re-check your proof of id. You will also need a witness. If you have no-one, you can even ask your photographer – or anyone that has an accepted form of i.d.  and is willing to watch you get married. Heck, it could be your hotel bellboy if he has i.d. Then you get another number that puts you in the queue to be married in one of the 4 chapels.
  4. Eventually you will be ferried into a holding area of sorts until the chapel becomes free – you can even have an audience of family and friends – the chapels look like they fit 10-15 comfortably, but any bigger than this, I would consider a different location. (Hire a chaplain and go to Central Park!) Remember, your license allows you to get married anywhere in New York State.
  5. Guess what – you just got married. You can read your own vows or simply follow their lead – they’ll have a brief chat with you prior and ask things like if you’ve got wedding rings to exchange (err, not yet) and so on. For the record, we loved our ceremony. Just the 2 of you there in a complete bubble committing to each other for the rest of you days – it was an incredible, honest, moving, and very teary experience. Waterproof mascara highly recommended. Once you are done, pop over to an officer again to get your second certificate of marriage registration and have it certified and stamped by the City Clerk.
  6. But wait – YOU’RE NOT DONE YET. And so begins the next leg, which is a little like an Amazing Race challenge. To make sure all your paperwork is rubber-stamped as official with an apostille (you’ll need this especially if you plan on changing your name, as you will need to take this form in to change your name by deed poll – more on this later), you need a few spare hours, some snacks, a magazine, patience, endurance – oh, and a money order for $10.00. Yep.
  7. Choose to do this process the next day, as you essentially need to go over the road to the US District Court (500 Pearl St), go to the basement, stand in one line where they stamp your paper and give it to a lady standing RIGHT NEXT TO HER then go stand in another line, and then give that lady $3 cash (no cards!) and then you FINALLY have to go to one more office, the Department of State to get all these docs put together and stamped with an Apostille. Two things – they won’t tell you at the District Court, but you will need a $10 Money Order. They don’t take card or cash, so find a Western Union along the way – you really need to plan this journey out. It costs about $3 to get a money order by the way – it’s all ludicrous, but stick at it, you are nearly there. Secondly, you may wait a little while at the Department of State – and they have no wi-fi. By this point you will be looking at your new husband wondering if this was in fact the best idea, but then BINGO, your name is called, you collect your certificate and you my friends, have won survival of the fittest. YOU ARE MARRIED, it’s legitimate and then all you need to do is figure out if it’s all legal back in Australia!
  8. The good news is, it is. After countless hours sifting through nonsensical jargon on many government departmental websites (okay, at least one hour), essentially, your overseas marriage is valid in Australia if: it was valid in the country you got married in; and, under the same set of circumstances, the marriage would be valid if it had taken place in Australia (ie, you’re not 16 year old cousins.) If you’re not 16 year old cousins, this is great news. BUT, if you plan on changing your name, most government departments (ie Foreign Affairs to get your passport changed) won’t actually accept your survival-of-the-fittest set of rubber stamped Marriage Certificates. What they will do, however, is accept a Change of Name Application, and this is where you’ll need the survival-of-the-fittest set of rubber stamped Marriage Certificates. And at a hefty $218, this is where I leave you my dear friends – I am part-way through this application. Once my name is legally changed, from then I can get my passport updated with my new details and a new drivers license which will then enable me to get all the utilities and what not changed. So do your research and be prepared before you go – if you do all this, you will have the most amazing experience you won’t regret. One final piece of advice? Book a photographer – it’s the one way you’ll be able to share your experience, so invest in this. We chose the incredibly talented Samm Blake who snapped on of our fave pics of the day shown here. xx Mrs Bunting






FREE downloadable watermelon bunting!

FREE downloadable watermelon bunting!

Hello September! It’s been a long, cold  winter down under – so we’re super excited that spring has sprung and summer is all but a few months away. To celebrate what will bea summer of parties, fiestas, weddings and birthdays, we’ve created this super cute watermelon bunting! Simply print on a standard colour printer, fold the flap over some twin and HEY PRESTO, you are ready to party. Perfect for bbq’s to garden parties, nothing says summer sun than wedges of juicy watermelon. photoEnjoy! x

FREE Printable Watermelon Bunting



Fairy Crown DIY!

We recently helped the lovely Lucy from Little Letter Lights Co. decorate her beautiful daughter Willow’s Third birthday party.

The theme was Fairy so to make the day extra special we made some wands and crowns!



– Glitter Cupcake Wrappers

– Packet of Plastic Crystals

– Feathers of your choice. (I have used a Marabou Tuft & Spike Feather)

– Elastic string

– Hole punch

– Hot Glue Gun


 A fun way to fill a crafternoon or a great activity to get the kids involved in on the day! Either way this DIY really is so simple it’s stupid, and how adorable. The kids will love it!

STEP 1. Secure each end of the Cupcake holder together to create the base of the Crown.

STEP 2. Using the hole punch put two holes directly on opposite sides of the crown.

STEP 3. Using a hot glue gun I secured  feather and diamante to the outside of the crown (glitter side).

Step 5. To finish, thread the elastic string through both holes and tie off, making sure you leave enough to place under the children’s chins.


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Party Photos by Natalie Jane (@peachesanddreams)

Decorations available from

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The fairy wands are very straight forward. I used pink paint, glitter glue and the Love Heart Doilies available online now!

Hope this inspires you to get creative for your next function XX


Chip chop & make choc chips!

Chip chop & make choc chips!

We can hardly file these under ‘recipes’, but they were so simple and yummy we just HAD to share! Simply take one packet of plain salted chips – crinkle cut looks better for these and dip in quality melted dark chocolate melted using the bain-marie method. Leave to set on a sheet of baking paper and serve.


Engagement shoots: what’s the deal with them?

Engagement shoots: what’s the deal with them?

Recently we found ourselves admiring some seriously beautiful engagement shots and it got us thinking: this used to be something only American brides did – has this trend taken off in a big way in Australia now too? And what’s the deal with them – was this simply another thing to add to the wedding-go-round of things to have and do? We got chatting to the gorgeous Teneil Kable – an extraordinarily talented Perth-based photographer and got the lowdown on engagement sessions.

Not only will her portfolio single-handedly demonstrate that an engagement session is a good idea, we came away convinced that those American’s were onto something. If you’re planning on getting hitched, it’s not such a crazy idea to have a practice run with your photographer. It gets you familiar with how your photographer works, you become comfortable with being in front of the lens, and when you have your big moment – you’ve already worked out your best angle!


MB: Are more people booking engagement shoots here in Australia? 

TK: I think so, I’ve also experienced some go that one step further and have their engagement session before their engagement party so extending their coverage to cover off on the celebration with friends and capturing all the efforts that go into it. It’s exciting and fun!


MB: From a photographers perspective, do you recommend having an engagement session and why?

TK: Absolutely, its a celebration of your engagement and an opportunity to have some beautiful images of the two for you to display on the wedding day or use as your invitations or save the dates, but mostly the feedback I receive from couples is that it makes them feel so much more comfortable on their big day that for the photographer and for the couple – is invaluable.


MB: I think people might expect that in an engagement session you’re simply replicating the same shots that they’ll do for the wedding day – in what way is it more than ‘just’ a practice session for the big day?

TK: I don’t imagine there would be too many opportunities to create an image like this amazing shot (above) of RJ & Grace on a wedding day!

Couples feel more spontaneous, there’s an intimacy of a different kind that seems to appear in the quietness of an engagement session.

I think knowing that there is nowhere that they have to be! As Tom Ford says “silence and time are the most luxurious things today” and it couldn’t be truer that we feel more like ourselves in these moments of luxury.


MB: Should a couple come armed with a few ideas such as props, moodboards, sample images etc, or do you prefer to guide them in what will work best?

TK: I love collaborating with clients. I don’t think props have to look forced, they can be used naturally and effectively but must make sense and be true to the couple and not just something they have seen somewhere and adopted for themselves.

Working closely with couples give me a feel for who they are and what they like, some like to be gently guided and others have ideas itching to share. My part is really just making sure ideas are genuine or working with them to find a way to make it work so the images created are genuine too.


MB: What kind of things should couples thing about before their engagement session in relation to clothing or location?

TK: Its important for people to wear what makes them feel good! I love having my hair done and getting dressed up but I always feel slightly awkward and well just not me. So if wearing something that makes you feel good is a pair of ripped jeans and your fiance’s t-shirt then thats what you should wear. Be true to you!

Consider locations like a music festival you might be going to or your bedroom with fresh white sheets and beautiful window light. Think outside the box and be brave, some of the greatest locations are right in front of us!


MB: Do you like to encourage clients to let their personality show – such as with themed shoots – or do you prefer a more classic, candid approach?

TK: They say beauty attracts the eye but personality captures the heart I think a good photograph does both. Couples personalities can shine through with both themed shoots or a more candid approach, it really comes down to who they are. Choosing what feels right for them and not just because they have seen it done somewhere else is the most important thing. I think if you feel comfortable, only then will your personality show.


MB: How important is it to ‘click’ with a client – does this show in the images or does it just it simply make for a more pleasant experience?

TK: Its important to create an environment in which the couple can connect with each other and not with me, when that happens the images have more feeling and depth to them. That being said if you don’t click with your photographer that environment is difficult to create.

I think our role as a photographer is so much more important then taking pictures its a connection and an opportunity to get to know the people who’s picture we are taking which allows them to feel more comfortable. I guess it depends on the look your going for…but for me I like the people I’m photographing to look at ease!

Image of RJ & Grace courtesy of Teneil Kable.


D.I.Y Himmeli Ornament Mobile

D.I.Y Himmeli Ornament Mobile


– Paper straws (an even 6 for each object)

– Yarn

– Scissors

Be creative! mix and match the prints of your straws or pick a colour scheme.

I have gone for classic Monochrome.


STEP 1. Cut 6 even paper straws. I went straight in half

but it all depends how big you want your mobile to be.


STEP 2. Cut yourself off an arms length of Yarn (more if you’re straws are bigger) and

tie a knot in one end remembering to leave yourself some excess yarn to tie it off with later.

Now thread 3 straws onto the yarn.


STEP 3. To make your first triangle meet the ends of the first and the third straw

and twist/knot the yarn to secure.


STEP 4. Thread two more straws and secure.


STEP 5. Repeat step 4 until you have 1 straw left.


STEP 6. Thread the last straw onto the yarn and then secure the two separate pieces of yarn together.

This will create half of your shape.


STEP 7. Cut yourself off a small bit of yarn to secure the final point of your hexagonal shape. You will be left with your shape and a long bit of yarn attached to one corner , leave this as you will need it to secure to your ‘base’.


STEP 8.  For the base I used two rods of dowel which I painted white, but you could get creative here! Just make sure it’s sturdy enough to hold the weight of your shapes. Attach with the remainder of the long piece of yarn still left on your shape.

There you have it! Make as many as you like and try mixing and matching your colours. Vary the length of each so it’s more eye catching.


Social media etiquette and how to be a good guest

Social media etiquette and how to be a good guest

We went to a wedding recently where there was a strict ‘no social media’ policy – the celebrant specifically asked before the wedding that guests put their phone down and be in the moment. Which got us thinking – what if the bride and groom don’t specify what their policy is, and is now having a policy a ‘thing’?

If you want to control what and when gets put out to the wide world, it’s most definitely a wise idea to outline somewhere what your expectations are. Whether announced via the celebrant, in the order of service, or on a sign guests will easily see are your safest bets. And be clear – if reception pics are fine, perhaps even give your guests a hashtag, making it easier for you to crowd source your favourite candid snaps of your big day. Be succinct but clear – this is your day so you get to run it how you see fit!

Think of the bride and groom – they don’t want to turn around after the BIG KISS to see a wall of iPhones up in their grill. And also – they’re actually paying someone to capture their big day, so guess what Annie Leibovtiz, put that camera down! Here’s a few pointers to consider, so you don’t get blacklisted.

  • Don’t post anything on social media until you’re certain what the deal is. Who can blame the newlyweds from wanting being the first to share their official photos with world. Don’t be that person who posts a pic of the bride before the groom has even seen her – a wedding isn’t an opportunity to show everyone how popular you are for being at yet another wedding.
  • If social media is allowed, it doesn’t mean you’re providing the world with an ongoing commentary. Use tact and common sense for how often and when you post. Also, bathroom selfies are never a good idea – especially at a wedding.
  • Don’t get all papparazzo, or you’ll annoy everyone and get into fisticuffs faster than you can say LARA BINGLE. You’re there to witness and experience the marriage, not capture every moment.
  • And you guys, it’s way also more enjoyable seeing it for real than through a screen. That also means – stay out of the photographers way. Everyone’s been to one wedding where they’ve had to re-do the kiss for the photographer because Uncle Arthur got a new Canon EOS 6D for Christmas and decided this was his moment to test his skills. Just don’t.

Image via South Bound Bride.