To my mind the little details are what make something special, and translating this into a party situation is no different! Get ready for me gushing about fairy lights, serviettes, glasses, cushions, candles and general craziness!
(Some slightly obvious but none the less important) Factors:
- Theme: I went for a garden party with a rose theme (as that is my middle name). It could just have easily been a fairy party, old school movie night, bad taste party, high tea or food-related extravaganza!
- Time of Day: 4:30 till Late. Time of day was a big one to decide on as it affects if you need special lighting amoung other factors.
- Time of Year: Mid Autumn. We had to factor in rain, and heating. But maybe you might need to think about Cooling? Perhaps some palmleaf-wielding-workers to fan you and your guests?
- Number of people: Approximately 60. This will determine how extravagant you can be. Paying for oysters to feed 6 close friends may be reasonable where going for spring rolls is fine for crowd pleasing.
- Type of Occasion: 21st Birthday party. Because we were planning a birthday party we thought about cake/speeches/party games. If you were planning a new years eve party you may want finger food, a good view (of fireworks), a large space (that isn't filled with fragile objects). If it's a wedding you might want going to look into a dance floor, a wedding cake and perhaps a book for people to write you notes in! These are quite obvious (and conventional) things but it does show that each type of occasion comes with a different check-list.
No matter the occasion there are certain things you are likely to need. Parties are stressful, they make you busy and they never go perfectly but here is my check-list of things I needed (and you might want to think about too)!
We were accommodating all ages (from a 2 week old baby to a ninety year old lady). Because of this we had a mixture of tables, on ground seating and undercover (more comfortable) seating.
I love the mismatched look so we emphasised that by borrowing many different mismatched chair and table settings from friends and using them in interesting combinations.
Something to eat off or with.
We opted for the tried and tested, no fuss serviette option for our finger food. Note the rose pattern for Laura Rose!
Then provided our own everyday plates, knives and forks for the messier main course! We had very trustworthy guests, had they been younger or less coordinated plastic may have been a better option - food for thought! Haha
Who wouldn't want to have a night time party when you can indulge in fairy lights, lanterns and candles (oh my)! We used a brazier, some flood lights, fairy lights, candles and lanterns borrowed from friends and family.
Once again you might notice my love of mismatched things - in this case jars! They are just too lovely and they work as candles holders or vases as well as cups!
Because it was practically glacial on the night we had to seriously think about this. To ensure that no one got frost bite we used:
- One brazier,
- Two outdoor heaters,
- We provided blankets
- and we made everyone dance!
This is a topic which is especially close to my heart - Ha! For eating we opted for middle eastern cuisine. We had everything from baklava to a lamb on this spit. If you're interested in more of a menu then I would be happy to share my version of a middle eastern banquet menu.
Dancing! A friend has a band who specialise in Celtic music, Bush dance music and Scandinavian Folk music among other things! They agreed to come and play and brought a caller with them to tell (and show) us all how to dance! This kept us all warm and merry as we laughed at our poor dancing abilities!
Dancing is so much fun and I would really recommend considering it if you're ever stuck for a party activity! I really loved the fact that the style of dancing was something no one had ever done because we all looked as silly as each other!
I am so grateful to have been able to celebrate my 21st birthday surrounded by friends and family. I was lucky enough to have so much help in the preparation, and execution of the party. I hope this has given you some kind of inspiration or help for any future parties you may wish to throw!
P.s. Photo credit to David Brayshaw. Thank you David for the wonderful photos!