I’ve often been asked what it takes to throw a party and so I thought hard about it and decided the best way to describe this to you is to have one of my own & show you.
I started to brainstorm and decided to hire a planner (aka me) to ‘produce’ and ‘run’ the event – I’m sure that since we are so tight I’ll get a good deal! I was originally thinking BBQ as the nice weather kept lasting and then decided that it should be for those ladies who are busy and that getting specific time in which to relax is rare, be it due to work, family or life in general. With this in my head an idea was formed for a ‘quintessential’ party; this then rolled into a theme of – girly, flirty and fun! The guest list was prepared – inviting a few ladies from my different circles (ensuring some overlap) who would rise to the dress occasion. Next step was to let them know…
What screams party more than a special invitation?? With the help of Sarah & Eric down at Sarah’s Sweet Delights we came up with an invitation design which was printed on metallic pink card stock. Envelopes were hand caligraphered (sp?) by myself using white ink (surprisingly easy to find) and then wax sealed on the back with my initial and hand delivered to the guests. cost: $11.30 invitations, $1.49 for the pen, had wax and seal.
The next thing to think about was food and beverages; you all know my stance that a party can be defined by those 2 elements alone and both are a key ingredients to making your guests feel special. The menu was decided upon:
- sweet & sour meatballs served with wedges of pineapple (3 dozen)
- red pepper and parmesan chicken skewers (2 dozen)
- cajun scallops with a mimosa sauce (2 dozen)
- cucumber slices (2 dozen)
- basil pesto tomato & mozzarella bites (2 dozen)
- bruchetta (2 dozen)
Food cost: $39.95 for ingredients, time to prepare & cook – priceless but around 2 hours including prep.
Now, as the host, I also wanted to enjoy the party so how to do that and still make the party happen on schedule to the vision I had?? Right – I hired an event planner who takes care of such logistical things! Which brings me to the prepping of plates and serving of food to guests….hence, photo of young man hired to serve at party. cost: $40.
Beverages were provided by myself as is custom for an exceptional host: 2 bottles of wine (home-made and already had), blackberry beer, lime beer, watermelon cocktails, non-alcoholic punch – I do have friends who don’t drink well – they are pregnant! Beer was put out as self-serve in my nifty little bucket with ice and the wine was red so I decanted it early. cost: $41.53
Equally important is decor or ‘atmosphere’ which was achieved by borrowing lanterns for outside from my friend Lee over at BarbaraLee Designs, moving furniture around, loads of pillar candles I already had just sitting in the closet from IKEA set into glass cylinders which I also had. But my deck needed more…. I could envision what I wanted it to be – an oasis, relaxing & calming – but how to achieve it. Oh, yes! I hired an event planner – I need to ask her for budget friendly ideas…..
I have to say, she is so creative (LOL!) because she came up with an idea to transform the deck area so that even my husband didn’t think it was our back yard. A little bit of time and a pair of tree pruners was all it took to make this reality. Sumac (I think that it the proper name) grows everywhere here like a weed, branches were clipped and then secured to stakes pushed in the ground around the deck. That right guests - those were not real trees around my deck offering privacy! Okay the one in the basket is a ‘real’ plant.
I moved my banana leaf bench outside along with the teak chairs. Then I used furniture from the house to create this look – the end table from downstairs, the wicker storage unit that secretly holds Tristan’s blocks, the room divider from the bathroom and the upholstered cubes. I put serving trays on the surface to ad layers and piled in the candles. Time to create this look – 1 hour.
Ladies left the party with the cutest little swag bag (adorable bags of b&w damask with hot pink) with a few little things. Not all were the same but included items like: candle tins, bra strap clips, lip balm, flashlight/bottle opener/key chain and moisturizer. cost: $30
DIY Total cost of party: $124.27 (doesn’t include the server)
Total cost with CSJ Events: $274.27 ($150 for a 3 hour party)
Disclaimer: the party didn’t actually happen as planned - it rained, but this would have been what it looked like. Luckily, with a planner we had a back-up plan and due to the weather, the party was held inside on the screen porch – the room divider did not make an appearance.