In May 2016, Colleen Kaufman — a SoCal event planner extraordinaire — decided to rebrand her wedding planning business as CAKE Event Company. “The rebrand was so needed and it felt so good to have a new fresh face and beautiful brand to match the energy and talent I put into my work,” she says. The best way to achieve that? “Welcome my closest industry friends into my home for an intimate champagne brunch.” The party is absolutely stunning, and we wanted to know more about the details. We’ll let Colleen take it from here:

The inspiration? A Marie Antoinette-inspired celebration complete with gorgeous florals, crisp yet feminine touches and a homespun twist. I hosted my al fresco, family-style summer brunch in a little area of our yard I like to call our “English Garden,” featuring the freshest flavors of the season (Side note: I was about 12 weeks pregnant at the time of the party, so luckily my pregnancy cravings were driving most of the food direction). A good majority of the brunch menu was made from scratch in my kitchen.

Mini Blueberry Pancake Stacks
Mini Organic Greek Yogurt & Apricot Granola Parfaits

Main Course
Chipotle Salmon Filets
Barefoot Contessa’s Chinese Chicken Salad
Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad
Grilled Summer Veggies
Croissants with Irish Butter

Beverly’s Bakery Carrot Cake & Banana Mocha Chip Cake
Assorted Beverly’s Bakery Scones
Homemade Kahlua Brownies

My husband and I have always loved entertaining in our home and have learned so may tricks along the way to help reduce the stress that comes along with it. Here are my five tips for planning an intimate brunch:

  1. Make it special. Whether by e-vite or snail mail, send out a formal invitation so your guests know its going to be a special gathering. Invitations serve as a preview for your event and set the tone so guests will likely know how to dress to impress based upon the vibe of your stationery suite. There was no surprise that most of our guests showed up in florals!
  1. Opt for intimate. Brunch is for conversation, for sipping and noshing. Keep the guest list small and make sure the ambiance feels friendly, inviting and comforting. If the menu allows, serve your meal family-style so your guests can experience the closeness of sharing and breaking bread together.
  1. Let it come from the heart. There is no greater gift you can give others than the gift of your time and talents. Prepare as much of the menu as you can (and outsource the stuff that’s too stressful – like the cake – to maintain your sanity) so your guests can enjoy something you’ve prepared especially for them. Can’t cook a lick? No worries, hire a caterer! Entertaining is not the easiest task, but when it comes from the heart and feels totally, utterly “you,” you can guarantee your authentic stamp will be felt by all those surrounding you.
  1. Think seasonal. The flavors of the season will be your biggest assets when planning your menu. Use them wholeheartedly as they will help to set the tone for your event. For my brunch, I was fortunate to have the bright flavors of summer on my side. It helped to establish that light and airy, carefree and feminine vibe we were going for.
  1. Most importantly, plan ahead. It’s impossible to be good and gracious hosts without a little bit of legwork in advance. To avoid that “chicken with your head cut off mentality,” make sure your menu is easy-ish to tackle, prepare what you can a day or two in advance, outsource anything difficult or time consuming to a local cafe or bakery, and leverage the help of your team or loved ones for a little support.

It takes a village to pull off a successful event! A very special thanks to the following vendors: