Don Bellisario’s Swanky 80th Birthday Party

Vintage black red and gold outdoor party

Magnolia Event Design and Planning put together one of THE most exciting and glamorous parties for Don Bellisario. Not sure who that is? Let us just tell you. Mr. Bellisario was the creator/co-creator for projects such as Magnum, P.I., Airwolf, Quantum Leap, JAG, and NCIS and wrote/produced and/or directed Black Sheep Squadron, the original Battlestar Galactica and Last Rites. Trust us his IMDB page is huge!!!

So when we heard about Don Bellisario’s swanky 80th birthday party with a 1940’s theme, we knew it could not be missed! With cocktails we can’t wait to try and guests fully dressed for the theme you will definitely want to hit up the full gallery of photos from Melissa Musgrove Photography after this one!

the fabulous home of Don Bellisario

telegram inspired invitations

Don Bellisario and wife Vivienne

Now That Is Some Sort Of Service

From Magnolia Event Design and Planning: Since we were celebrating Don’s 80th Birthday, the 40’s seemed fitting- it was an era that he loved and looked back on fondly. Guests were greeted in the valet circle by valets dressed as Military Police. They then stood for a formal portrait with a World War II armored vehicle complete with military actors in the background.

Once inside the Bellisario’s newly renovated home, cigarette girls escorted guests to the terrace where they sipped on Aviations, Vodka Collins’, Pink Gin Fizz’s, Old Fashioned and many more custom cocktails created by Grand Bevy.

1940s military police inspired welcome table

valets dressed as military police

guests dressed according to the 1940s theme

guests were greeted by cigarette girls with candy cigars and cigarettes

watresses dressed as cigarette girls

vintage bar with cocktail watresses in red

Pink Fizz

2 oz Gin,
  1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice,  
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice,  
1/2 oz Simple Syrup,  
1 egg white  &  
3 mint leaves, bruised

  1. First rub the mint leaves between your palms a couple times to release the oils
Drop them in your shaker tins and add the other ingredients, starting with the egg whites and finishing with the Gin
  2. Any Gin can be used in this cocktail, and you can experiment and try different variations to see how their distilled botanicals shine alongside the other ingredients.
  3. Give the cocktail a few hearty shakes WITHOUT ice first, this will emulsify those egg whites and make for a much more velvety cocktail in the end.
  4. Crack your tins open, add ice, and shake hard until your tins are ice cold.
  5. Strain the cocktail into a chilled glass and garnish with a few dashes of your favorite bitters

signiture cocktails for the evening

gold and white vintage bar

cocktail bar number two

Dressing the Part

We just cannot get over the elaborate outfits everyone wore to this fabulous 1940’s party! Even Don Bellisario’s grandchildren were all dressed up as newsies and Rockford Peaches! Be sure to take a look at the full gallery here to take in all of the amazing events from this spectacular evening and see what everyone was wearing!

even the kids were all dressed up

fun themed photobooth

old fashioned candy bar

old timey candy bar

Food That Follows You

From Magnolia Event Design and Planning: We introduced a small plates menu. Placed at each table and high boy (cocktail table) it let guests know that they didn’t need to worry about staying in the same seat, that we would make sure that every course found its way to them, no matter where they were- guests loved this concept!

They moved about, chatted with lots of different groups of friends, switched seats, danced, grabbed a drink, took photos in the photo booth with an authentic military fighter jet backdrop and were still offered the next course and a fork to go with it.

elegant vintage dinner decor

dinner table menu

black white and red dinner and dancing

vintage inspired cake

A Testimonial From Don

Form Don Bellisario: Whenever I see anyone who was at my spectacular 80th birthday party this past August, they inevitably start the conversation with “That was the best party I ever attended!” And my reply is always, “Me, too!” Thanks to Lindsey Hartsough and her crew from Magnolia Event Design and Planning, it will always be a very special night to remember.

big band stage and dance floor

swing dancing entertainment during dinner

live music and big band entertainment

lightup the night and dance until dawn

Don Bellisario's Swanky 80th Birthday Party

Lighting & Entertainment: West Coast MusicBella Vista Designs
Cakes & Catering: Sweet and Saucy ShopThe Grand Bevy
Flowers: NLC Productions
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals- Santa Barbara
Photo Booth: Open Air Photobooth
Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Lazaro Press and Design
Valet: Blue Star Parking

Refined Woodsy Wedding

light blush and white wedding bouquet

Lisa and Byron were married in Northern Maine at The Loon Lodge. The backdrop of the mountains and lakes were magical. These two radiated love and their wedding was filled with gorgeous woodland themed details.

The rain couldn’t put a damper on their refined woodsy wedding. Though, the stormy weather did hold off for their ceremony right until the moment they were leaving the aisle. The downpour started and they were still all smiles. Get the entire scoop from the full gallery here, photographed by Flora + Fauna.

outdoorsy wedding invites

outdoor woodsy wedding

refined woodsy wedding ideas

royal blue bridesmaid dresses

Lobster Bake Rehearsal Dinner

We had our wedding in Rangeley, Maine and hosted a gorgeous Lobster Bake for our Welcome/Rehearsal Dinner outside at Bald Mountain Camps. We split up the wedding party and the rest of the guests during dinner so we could do speeches and create a more intimate environment for our closest family and friends. However, it felt really exclusive. We were in such a remote and beautiful location with all our friends and family we love and really regret splitting everyone up. At the end of the day it would’ve been more inclusive and special to join everyone for the whole night especially since the venue was right on the lake and it felt intimate anyway.

woodsy wedding program

wedding chalkboard sign

beautfiul peaceful wedding ceremony

Embrace The Imperfections

As for our wedding, we don’t regret a thing. I know that sounds cliche and unrealistic, but I loved every part of it. I especially love the fact that we had the ceremony outside and as we said our vows, the skies opened up and poured for 5 mins straight. The mass stampede from the ceremony to the tent was hilarious, lightened the mood from an emotional ceremony and provided amazing pictures. We just went with the flow all day. I think that’s the best advice I can give any bride and groom. No wedding is “perfect” because our expectations vary from person to person. Know that not everything will go according to plan and learn to laugh at the stuff that goes wrong. Makes for some amazing memories.

painted wood cut escort cards

refreshing white and green wedding reception

wood script wedding menu

moose juice cocktail

Flora + Fauna Wedding Photography

A piece of advice is to search high and low for a really great photographer. Jenn and Derreck’s work is so beautiful, and the fact that we now call them friends, is icing on the cake. They hung out with us both nights of our wedding weekend and they felt like they were friends who just happened to be taking photos. Really made us feel so comfortable.

The awesome part is that Flora + Fauna were also the videographers for this wedding! See their gorgeous film below.

wedding photography on the dock

see the full gallery

Photographers & Wedding Films: Flora + Fauna
Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Mary Kate Moon
Coordinators & Stylists: Gilded Lily Events
Venues & Officiants: Loon Lodge
Rentals: Dove Tail Rentals

Read on for some insight into how much this wedding cost. Please note that costs change as the years go by, and prices are subject to change. This is just one couple’s breakdown to give you a rough estimate on how much a wedding like this may cost you.



white gold polka dot wedding cake

Amanda S. Gluck began her blog in 2011 upon becoming engaged and acquiring endless new sets of dishware and glassware; she loved entertaining for guests and wanted to share her adventures of hosting endless dinner parties. Since then her blog has evolved to include tablescape inspiration, hostess tips, wedding registry essentials, and home decor ideas.

With so many of her friends getting engaged this year, she couldn’t wait to partner with BHLDN’s sweet line of bridal accessories and vintage wedding decorations to style the most gorgeous engagement party. Enter her girly and magical winter wonderland…

engagement party table ideas

pink and white flower centerpieces

For the centerpiece I filled a variety of vases, my favorite being the BHLDN Etched Brass Vases, with a selection of seasonal winter flowers. I chose Pink Nene Roses, White Lisianthus Roses, Blue Ice Cyprus Greenery, and Dusty Miller. I staggered the vases along a Kim Seybert metallic table runner. Then I placed vintage salad plates, dinner plates, and water glasses from Vintage Vessels at each place setting, topped with a simple white rose.

bridal shower brunch ideas

pink white and gold table decor

The icing on the cake was literally… the cake! I picked up the most gorgeous cake from The Frosted Affair, a sweet cake shop in Nashville, and topped it with a BHLDN Hooray wooden cake topper. Let them eat cake I thought to myself… which got me thinking Marie Antoinette loved her champagne towers, so I stacked BHLDN Rosy-Cheeked Coupes into a tower and filled each to the brim with champagne for guests to scoop up as they entered the event! I am so in love with how elegant and beautiful the party turned out. I can’t imagine a better setting to celebrate a new bride!

engagament party cake and champagne

Photos by Lindsey Grace