Thursday, August 27, 2015

Party Planning - Behind the Scene

This is not normally something I enjoy. Specifically, the social aspect of it. I love, love, love the planning and creating aspect of it. I could happily skip the main event, though. I had an epiphany at one point this summer realizing I'd love to be a party planner. Or event coordinator.

Planning for our good friends Auntie Jill and Uncle David's 10th wedding anniversary began back in May. My friend Sarah was willing to help plan and execute this endeavor. I guess I should explain first that biologically, we are not related to Jill and David. Jill has been my close friend for 16 years now, and was with me in the hospital room when Emma was born. She's been Auntie Jill ever since. Emma and Sarah were in Jill and David's wedding. Jill, both my daughters, and I were in Sarah's wedding. So anyways, there's a lot of history and years of friendship between all of us.  So back in May we started planning.
Their wedding day, Aug 14th, 10 years ago. That little girl with the basket is Emma.

First up was the invitations. I decided to make both the Save the Dates, which went out in June, and the invites, which went out closer to the actual party date of August 1. We were having the party here at the house, so we kept the gather small, 25 of us.  I had so much fun making these. I really enjoyed the process of going from blank, brown card stock, to a pretty finished product.

Invitation is on the left, Save the Date on the right. These were Jill's copies, since she wasn't mailed one.
 All the wedding photos you'll see are ones that I took at Jill's wedding. I had enough to use in quite a bit of different projects. On the back of the Save the Dates we asked for any pictures people had of Jill and David from the past 10 years. They have traveled quite a bit, and I wanted to be able to frame some of those memories for them. They were on the tables during the party. This process by far was the most time consuming. It's hard to pick the right picture, right font, right shade of editing, right amount of lens flare to get it light enough for the writing to show up...not that I'm a perfectionist, but I wanted it to be nice.

Invites. The smallest flower girl in the picture I Emma.

 I have to keep them a little blurry as they have our personal info no them. The tags below were inside the invites. On the other side they have Sarah and my contact info.
Save the Dates.

After that, it was just making things as I would think of them. Hobby Lobby played a large role in supplies. Rather than buy finished products, I like to by plain unfinished wood products, and add lace, flowers, and whatever else needed.  This was the process for nearly everything. We made all the picture frames, wood flower boxes, wooden blocks, mason jar lanterns, a plain cork board, cardboard name it, we bought it plain and gussied it up.  A large part of this was buying paper that is decorated, and around 25 cents a sheet. One sheet would make 4 invites. That paper went a long way and was key to the decorating process. It was spray glued and hot glued on darn near everything. We also used a lot of rolls of burlap w/lace. The table runners came from one 15 ft roll that I cut in 3 sections, 5 foot long each. The center pieces were on my Grandma's lace doilies.

These were just plain wooden boxes. The flowers are real, and are sitting in red solo cup shot glasses inside the box.

Looked like this most of summer. Jill came over one day and I had to hide everything.
This would wrap around the tree.

Super easy to make these, just need jars, the hangers, and whatever you want to glue on to decorate them.

There were a lot of plain frames that got gussied up with flowers and trim.

Homemade Mr and Mrs mason jar glasses.

Home made banner w/different crafting paper.
Frames, jars, wooden plaques, boxes, and wooden blocks.
One of my favorite things was this cork board. Usually at a gathering you may pass a card around and have everyone sign it. I thought this was a nice alternative to that. Just a plain cork board dolled up a bit. Everyone wrote a message for David and Jill and pinned it to the board.

This was just a cork board with a small white frame hot glued to the middle, and flowers and trim added.

Another aspect was coordinating the food and rentals. We rented tables and chairs from a local place I had used years ago actually, for Sarah's wedding shower. We've rented tables from them a few times when we have people over and anticipate needing extra seating space. A local place called Walley's. You reserve what you need on line, and just go pick it up. For a one day rental, you actually have 2 days to return it. We've never had a problem with them. I had also saved the folding chair covers from Sarah's wedding shower years ago. (8 or 9 years ago??) I used twine as tie backs on those covers for this party. We mixed the rented chairs with our 12 dinning room table chairs that were already covered.  We also have 8 patio chairs that were around the fire pit, so we had plenty of places for people to sit.

Three tables that sit 8, plus 8 chairs around the fire pit.

We had Freebirds deliver the food. If you aren't familiar, that's a fresh Mexican place. Burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, made as you watch. But not made as you watch for the party. They delivered steak, chicken, rice, beans, grilled veggies, lettuce, chips, salsas, multiple sauces, 3 lbs each of guac and sour cream, different kinds of tortillas, all serving utensils (plus extras), eating utensils, napkins, plates, and chaffing racks for everything. They knew this was a surprise party and that they had 15 minutes to get in, and get out. They did amazing!! And, I got to keep all the trays and chaffing racks with the sterno's. Bonus. I still have frozen rice and beans in my freezer. It was a ton of food, and very reasonably priced. I would for sure go that route again.

Appetizer table, would become food table when food was delivered.

You can see the food tables in the background back there.
 Jill's favorite dessert is ice-cream cake. Sarah was in charge of the cake and was able to order one from Baskin Robins that was Jill's favorite flavor of ice cream.

The cake was a frozen ice cream cake, so it needed to stay inside. This was the cake table.

Jill and David cutting the cake.

The night before the party our friends Larry and Joanie, also known as Sarah's mom and dad, came over to help hang the lights in the tree. We had 400 ft of white lights, plus 4 white hanging paper lanterns.  We have an amazing, huge, Mulberry tree that covers a large portion of our yard, and all of the patio where the dinner would be. We planned to be eating at 7, and I really wanted lights in the tree as the evening turned to night. Larry was like Tarzan up in the tree. Thank goodness it was him up there and not Brian!  There were also lanterns on the ground around the patio, and battery operated tea lights in mason jars on the tables.

Larry's up there, can you see him?

The whole thing was just a lot of fun to work on for the 3 months of summer.  I loved making things and seeing it all come together. It was a bit surreal after all the work and planning to see the evening actually come together and happen. I'm not great in social settings, so for me the joy really did come from the work put into the evening before it actually happened : ) There had been so many emails and phone calls and texts in the months leading up to it getting everything was just very nice to see it all come together and be happening.

Can you see everyone holding up cameras and Ipads? This was Jill peeking out the back window before she came out.

  It really made me excited for all the big events that lie ahead for my own family.  My girls kept saying they cant wait for me to do their graduation parties! This was really the first time they've seen that mom has some legit crafting skills. you have a look into what was always in the background of our summer activities. We'd play hard during the days, but many late evenings involved something party related.

The table center pieces were all the same, but different pictures on every table.

 As just an fyi, I bought two bundles of roses from Costco, so 48 total, and 2 bundles of greenery. I didn't count how many arrangements I was able to make, but it had to be close to 20.

It really was fun! If I ever go back to school and start a post-kid planning will be it!