To go against conventional wisdom and judge Darcy Miller’s new book, Celebrate Everything: Fun Ideas To Bring Your Parties To Life, by its cover, most readers would undoubtedly make a judgement that erred on the side of pure delight. And rightfully so: The cover depicts a charming mix of confetti, candy, glitter, Miller’s original illustrations, and more. But don’t be fooled, Miller—a born-and-raised New Yorker, mom-of-three, and celebrations expert—made sure there was more to Celebrate Everything (which she is author and the illustrator of) than meets the eye.
“I wanted it to be really service-y and helpful and I didn’t want it to be just a coffee table book with pretty pictures that you flip through,” she says. “For me, I hope the takeaway is not only to inspire you to make a party a little more special, or to bring a detail into a special event, but also to enjoy doing it and to have it be something that starts family traditions.”
Miller, 47, herself has made a career of planning parties, adding sparkle to soirees, and cultivating the growth of tradition in her own family and in countless fans and readers she’s influenced over her career as first an event planner (she got her start working under the legendary Robert Isabell after she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania) and later as longtime member of the editorial team at Martha Stewart Weddings (where she was a founding editor) and Martha Stewart Living (where she got her start as an editorial assistant). Currently, she serves as an editor-at-large at Weddings and as the Celebrations Expert at Living. She’s also the author of Our Wedding Scrapbook and does whimsical illustration
work under the banner of Darcy Miller Designs.
But Miller’s passion for celebrations goes beyond the professional—some of her fondest childhood memories are of working with her mother to craft birthday invitations (you can see a copy of one in the new book: It reads “Swim and Dine, Cause Darcy’s 9!”). Now, she finds joy in watching her three daughters—13-year-old Daisy, 11-year-old Ella, and 7-year-old Pippa—partake in the same party planning rituals for their own birthdays. And in fact, it’s something she proudly shares in Celebrate Everything (which hit shelves officially this week) with the hope that other families can draw inspiration from her kids’ past bashes.
“I feel like so much about celebrations is about celebrating the people who you’re celebrating,” Miller explains. “So when my daughter was [turning] 3, I remember walking to school with my older two, and we were asking: ‘What should we do for Pippa’s party?’ And they said: ‘Well, she loves the color purple!’ and that turned into Pippa’s Purple Party.” The Purple Party—as well as other festive fetes from her daughters’ b-days, like a Sew Ella party, a Movie Star Party, and a Pup Pup Hooray party—are all beautifully presented throughout the new book with helpful crafting how-to info, jumping off points for adapting the theme to your own preferences, detail hacks, and more.
It’s this mix of practical magic, inspired details, and cheat-sheets for figuring out what matters most to the guest of honor or the occasion at hand, that make Celebrate Everything a great family resource. And most importantly, whether it’s a child’s birthday, a baby shower, or mom and dad’s anniversary celebration, Miller puts a lovely emphasis on families engaging together to make celebrations fun.
“For me, it’s not only about DIY, it’s about DIT—doing it together! I think what you remember the most is enjoying doing it; for some parents it’s crafting, and for some parents it’s just making a playlist with all your fun favorite songs,” Miller notes. “Obviously, I really enjoy the creative process, but my kids are very creative and, if anything, they come up with all these ideas, and I think that it’s something they enjoy doing together and with each other.
Celebrate Everything is, as Miller says, meant to be a jumping off point to inspire soirees and craft projects of varying magnitudes. Especially with the holidays coming up, we’re pleased to share her take on a few key pieces of wisdom for making even the smallest moments special and staying sane (while having fun) during the process!
Think Small: “You can put a candle on anything—a waffle, a pancake—so for [celebrating a birthday], it might be as simple as putting confetti on a table and putting a candle in your pancakes at breakfast!”
Let One Great Idea Inspire Many More: “There’s one page [in my book] with a princess cake, and it’s pink and fluffy and it has tulle around the cake and has a paper crown [on top]. You can get so many ideas from that. Why not have your kid make the crown? Or have all their friends color on the crown? Or crown-making could be an activity and one could be a cake topper!”
Turn To Great Resources: “I obviously work with amazing vendors and talented people. Whether it’s Eleni’s Cookies, or Peter Callaghan who’s a caterer…part of ‘doing it together’ for larger events is working with all the incredible experts that are in and around New York City.”
Plan Ahead: “[The holiday season] is just a busy time of year so, just knowing it’s a busy time of year, try not to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes for me, if you’re going to do holiday cards, the sooner you start the better… And if you’re having friends over for the holidays, try to plan ahead, stay organized, and don’t try to do everything.”
Trust That You Can Do It: “There’s a cute cake [in my book] with the number 5 covered with gummy bears—but you could go to Dylan’s Candy Bar and get a bunch of candy and a shaped pan and just bake a cake with your kid…it doesn’t necessarily have to be crafty. Anyone can put candy on a cake!”