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I was honored to be asked to be a chair for a major school fundraiser this year and head up the decorations and theme implementation. This black tie optional event raised over $73,000, approximately $10,000 more than last year! It’s such a fun event and one of the fanciest I attend, so the pressure was on. The committee voted for a Havana Nights theme, so I set out to create a night in old Havana for us.

Havana Nights bunting

The simplest thing I did was create a welcome bunting for the check-in table. Bienvenidos a Havana (Welcome to Havana!).

cuban travel posters

I also got some vintage Cuban travel posters, and mounted them on foam board to add to the ambience. You can also see some of the palms (with coffee bean bags covering the pots) in this picture.


A bongo player was also waiting in the lobby to set the mood.

cuban bar

More palms in coffee bags and vases of lemons and limes decorated the corners of the bar, with palm fronds in any empty spaces. There were palm fronds on all of the tables as well.

edible cigars

The edible cigar appetizer was the caterer’s design, but I LOVE it! Wrapped in a collard green with pepper “ash” the inside was something red and scrumptious!

cuban cigars

There were also plenty of chocolate cigars to go around.

cuban salad

If you’ve never had a roasted romaine salad, you should try it. This one had black bean and corn relish, lime tequila dressing and a flour tortilla crisp. There was a fabulous beef and chicken entree but I didn’t waste time taking photos.

Havana Night Ceterpieces

My favorite part of this was probably the centerpieces. We filled 33 cigar boxes with coffee beans and 2-3 votives per box, set them on top of palm fronds and burlap runners on white linens. It couldn’t have been more Cuban unless each seat had a mojito.

HPG feeling fancy

Things might have gotten a bit silly at some point, but it was a fabulous evening and my fiancé made me feel like a million bucks.