Note: my wonderful mom helped in some form or another with all of these events. Yay for moms! I also got great help from my mother-in-law for the first party on the list!
A Dear Friend's Wedding Reception (Following Destination Wedding)
"We don't need a reception." Yep, one of my very good friends uttered those words. I was unable to travel to attend the wedding. I am a romantic sap. And, I couldn't have been happier these two were tying the knot. So, of course, I decided that was an invitation for me to plan a reception for them back home after their destination wedding and honeymoon (yes, they got both!).
Of course, while I would have loved to plan a reception with an unlimited budget, I didn't really have that as an option. So, the challenge was to create a party that was big on celebration and love but small on cost. After much collaborating with other friends and family members, and oh-so-much Pinteresting, here's what the party looked like.
My cooperative husband did the big food items...Brunswick Stew, Barbecue, Baked Beans, and a keg in his homemade kegerator. The dessert table (in B&W above) was one of my favorite features. Candy + yummy sweets? Sign me up. And the couple's photos were so lovely, I had to use them as a major part of the décor. The venue was perfect for what we needed. Plenty of space for tables, food, sweets, gifts, and dancing. Plus, it overlooked a lake and was set back from the rest of the public area (which happened to be a park). I stayed within my budget and was able to repurposed MANY of the items for other events. Perfect. I had so much fun doing this, and I am so thrilled they let me be a part of their celebration. My only regret? I planned and planned...but I planned too much for myself to do night of to be able to break away for taking pics. Luckily, I had several amazing helpers who snatched the camera throughout the night. One of those helpers would have the favor returned at her baby shower...more in a minute.
Next Up: A Bachelorette Party in My Home State
Sometimes you know someone so long you've actually already planned future celebrations. Like a bachelorette party. The only problem? Timing. We've been friends for 20 years, and somehow the ideal party I'd envisioned for her a decade ago didn't seem appropriate now. We needed a sophisticated celebration that reflected who she is and what she enjoys. And I had to plan it several states away. So while I might have done something completely different, like host a grown up slumber party, if I lived in the state, I decided to throw a progressive bachelorette party. Only, rather than different homes, we traveled to different locations in the course of a day where people could come and go as they were able. And, it was a blast. Our agenda:
- Lunch at a quaint tea room (perfect kickoff...though the bride and I got drenched in a torrential rain on the way in. Ah, stories)
- Wine at a local winery. So relaxing and so easy.
- Spa time (mani/pedi) for the bride and I. A great way to take a break and still keep the celebration going.
- Check in to a hotel where we met up with the other bridesmaid to have a quick toast and change before heading off to...
- Dinner (at a super yummy pick of the bride's).
Post celebration, we headed back to the hotel and worked on last-minute wedding details. Easy enough to plan from far away and a great way to incorporate several fun elements throughout the day. It also helped work into different people's schedules so they could attend. Another fail on pictures, I'm afraid. But here are two great ones...
Next: Returning the Favor--A Baby Shower!!!
When someone does an incredible job throwing a party in your honor, the first thing you probably want to do is thank them. Next on my list: throw them a party in return. When one of my awesome friends threw me a perfect baby shower last year, I immediately started thinking of the day when I could return the favor. Luckily for me (okay, and them!), that day came sooner than expected when my friend told me they were expecting earlier this year. Yes!! A new baby and a baby shower were on their way. This friend had also helped with the wedding reception, so I knew I could count on the help of the new bride to help pull this off. In addition, another friend of the mommy-to-be co-hosted (and held the shower at her house) to also return the shower favor. We had so much fun putting this together! I was able to repurpose some of the items I had from the other events, as well as purchase some new ones to tailor the décor to the theme (which was a jungle/fun type of shower). Here's what it looked like:
Seriously, so much fun. And such a deserving momma-to-be (well, as I write this, she is momma-in the-making...). I can't wait to meet her little man!!
I had one more big event this year...my little's first birthday party. Partly because I might still be in denial and partly because this is already a freakishly long post, I am saving that for another day. But, I have committed to 7 prescheduled posts from now until Christmas, so stay tuned!