A Surprise Party, Part IV
September 16, 2012
Birthday PartyOutdoor PartyDinner Party
It's been quite a day! But the reason that we wanted to break apart this particular party is because we want you to see what a fun and creative process planning something special in your own home can be. This was my first grown-up, I can't believe we hired a chef and actually had rentals in my home, definitely a splurge kind of party but it was so worth it. Sitting in such a warm and familiar spot, all gussied up and glittery, with the people that you love, sharing wine and laughs and a sense of peace...it was just a beautiful time. Thank you so very much to all of the vendors (listed below) who helped to build this celebration, especially Justin Marantz for trapsing all the way here to capture it on camera. We love you. Click here to see the full gallery.
View as
photos by Justin Marantz

Okay, now that you can see everything together in one spot, I'll break it down a bit more. Sarah True of True Event was awesome in helping me to think through all of this, refine the design and just be her general amazing self.

The Paper Goods. I was hugely inspired by Julie Song's work for her very own wedding featured on Style Me Pretty and when I began conceptualizing this event, my mind was racing with visions of watercolor and art and effortless grace. Julie's name immediately came to mind. The gracefullness of her watercolor, the modernity of her lettering..it all gave me butterflies so we asked her to create a masterpiece for this event and to say that we were blown away, is the understatement of the century. Julie was exceptional. She took our general concept and came up with a beautiful design, then waterfalled that very vibe down to the hand lettered menus, the fold-out cupcake recipe tags, the amazing bar sign and the gorgeous gilded plate favors. The result was spectacular.

The Flowers. We wanted the flowers to be French inspired and yet grounded it tradition. We didn't want too much structure, instead hoping for graceful, easy pieces that suited the intimate environment we were hoping to create, using a collection of pinks, peaches, reds and a deeper hues. Yumiko, of Hana Floral Design - who is our forever go-to flower genius because she is so inspired, such a breeze to work beside and so thoughtful with her work - had the idea of using black urns to house the arrangements. Love, love, love the result.

The Decor. For our bar area, we started with the sketch that you saw earlier, then had our newest SMP guru craft do-it-yourself chevron print risers & gorgeous gold leaf coasters (which we have a DIY for tomorrow!). We used a dresser that I have in my home and filled in with pretty flowers and a pop of color through fresh fruit. The gorgeous sign that Julie made was placed on a basic easel that we found at AC Moore and painted gold with this amazing new spray we found.

As for the table, I had a leftover gift certificate to West Elm, which isn't a bad place to be wildly inspired, so that was my first pit stop. I found these incredible chargers there, filled in the remaining pieces from the china dinnerware set that I already had, and splurged on a new set of gold flatware that will replace my current IKEA brand that I've had for a decade. I made absolute sure to only purchase items that I would use in my daily life so the money really was well spent. I found gold hobnail votives on Save on Crafts that finished off the table look.

As a little aside, we had planned to have the entire party outside but rain put a damper on our plans so we moved dinner from outside under the tree, to inside our screened porch. Which actually turned out beautiful and so nice BUT I didn't get to use these adorable hanging votives that I found on Save on Crafts.

The Food. For the first time in my life, I hired a chef. I wanted to really enjoy being with my guests and I wanted someone else to be in control in the kitchen. Our menu was inspired by local farms and their offerings and included an amazing collection of foods by Chef Gary Ankin and featured such yummies as seared scallops with a carrot chardonay beurre blanc, pork loin with pickled peach relish and so much more. Gary and his girlfriend, Tammy, made the party run seamlessly and without stress. It was awesome.

The Conversation. Even though we were all family, I wanted to have a back-up conversation starter on the table, so I printed thoughtful & funny questions on gold paper, then curled them and placed them in two bowls on the table. Judy, our guest of honor, discovered the game and off we went. We ended up going through all of the questions - which were a combination of thoughtful "what do you dream for your children" to fun, "if you had a yacht, what would you name it." It made for such a fun, laughter & tear filled evening.

The Dessert. We opted for something inspired by home. Cupcakes. And we chose the ones that made our hearts go pitter patter from last week's Crush event...Georgetown Cupcakes who graciously delivered 120 cupcakes that were both served and gifted as favors and were promptly devoured in one night. Or close to that at least. We plated a petite selection of our favorites...Salted Caramel, Vanilla with Buttercream, Chocolate Fudge and Red Velvet. I have NO words for how delicious these cupcakes are and we all laughed because each person had a different favorite. They were amazing.

The Favors. We wanted to gift something thoughtful. Because we are of the camp that unless a favor brings something special to the evening, it should be skipped. So we had Julie hand letter some basic white ceramic plates with liquid gold leaf paint. She painted festive sayings like "celebrate" and "yum" on each, then tied them with an amazing fold-out card containing a recipe for Salted Caramel Cupcakes. A box of mini cupcakes was also gifted to tie everything together.

Music. We stuck to a simple playlist. Michael Bubble and the soundtrack from Midnight in Paris.

Do - it - Yourself. We have two amazing DIY projects coming up tomorrow. So sorry to make you wait but we didn't want to crowd out the party that really did take center stage. Plus, we wanted an excuse to remind our weekly readers that we're hear blogging on Sundays so it's really jut a shameless plug for SMP at Home!

Can't wait to hear what you think of the party! AND, I would love to hear and see all about the dinner parties that you are throwing at home. Anything you've found that makes it easier? Cheaper? Fun? We'd love to know!

Thank you to everyone who made this little dinner party so very special!

VENDORS. Designer & Planner: Sarah True of True Event / Designer: Abby Larson & Jess Blazejewski of Style Me Pretty / Florals: Yumiko of Hana Floral Design / Paper & Favors: Julie of Julie Song Ink / Photography: Justin Marantz / Rentals: Rentals Unlimited & New England Country Rentals / Linens: La Tavola / Beauty: Kristine Collins (Boston based hair/makeup stylist) / Cupcakes: Georgetown Cupcake

SOURCES. Linens: New York Nudes 134" Rounds from La Tavola, Hemstitched White Napkins via La Tavola / Table Rentals: High Top Cocktail and 8ft Long Banquet via Rentals Unlimited / Chairs: Wooden X Backs Bistro Chairs via New England Country Rentals / Tablesettings: Wooden Chargers, Gold Flatware, China, Game Bowls via West Elm / Votives via Save on Crafts / Coasters & Chevron Risers via Jess Blazejewski (DIY)