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We were supposed to be celebrating my husbands 30th birthday and residency graduation on the beautiful beaches of Bermuda, but COVID-19 had other plans. Once we found out our flights were officially cancelled, I went into party planning mode!
First, we landed on a date and ordered these adorable Old Fashioned party invitations from Minted. I wanted to set a slightly more serious style and tone for the party by physically mailing an invite. Minted makes it SO easy to mail invites because you can upload a spreadsheet and they will print the addresses right on the envelopes for you! I use that same spreadsheet to track RSVPs.
We decided to invest in our own dishes so that we can host parties with real China for years to come! I scoured the city for the cheapest possible dinner plates, salad plates, and glassware.
The Hobby Lobby clearance section was where I stumbled upon the gold rimmed dinner plates for $2/plate, and I found a stack of catering plates (that even matched) at Goodwill. Talk about a score! The assorted glass vases, Mason jars and glass candle holders were all thrifted from Goodwill.
Amazon was my best friend when looking for large quantities of affordable glassware, napkins, and other items. I ordered basic wine glasses, the black and white linens, cocktail napkins, tumblers, paper straws, cocktail garnish sticks and pint glasses from Amazon.
We also invested in LARGE ice cube molds for big squares and round ice cubes (which were a hit with guests AND the bartender). I even ordered an ice mold to chill the white wine during dinner!
With the place settings, I really wanted something casual but sophisticated. We left the napkins folded up Marie Kondo style, and I added these DIY wine cork place cards last minute. The greenery was purchased in bunches from Whole Foods. PS: I’m glad we went with a seating chart because the guests didn’t have to think twice about where to sit or who to sit by.
I am proud to say that we built this bar ourselves for a whopping $56.00! It was incredibly functional and everyone was asking about it. I have a feeling it’s going to play a part in many backyard gatherings for years to come.
For the party we served two signature cocktails, red wine, white wine and beer. The signature cocktails included a classic mojito and a blood orange bourbon fiz. We places two pitchers on the side of the bar containing strawberry lemonade and ice water.
We rented three large farmhouse tables, half the chairs (I had the other half of the chairs) and the assorted gold flatware from Violet Vintage Rentals here in Indianapolis. They dropped them off the morning of the party and picked them up promptly the next day. Their customer service and pricing was unbeatable!
All of the food was catered through Sweet & Savory catering and I couldn’t recommend them enough! Guests enjoyed three passed appetizers during cocktail hour including mini BLTs, grilled shrimp and smoked chicken crostini.
Once we sat down, the table was served a summer salad with vinaigrette. The main meal was a served buffet including steak and caprese chicken with sides of summer corn salad, potatoes and asparagas.
Bug & Mosquito Repellant
One very important thing to think about when having a backyard party is bugs! We did everything in our power to keep them at bay while guests were eating and mingling in our yard. We sprayed the entire yard with OFF yard spray the morning of the party, lighted citronella candles along the table and provided all natural bug spray (which smells amazing).
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Everything turned out better than I could have imagined! There really isn’t anything better than gathering around the table with your closest family and friends. I’m already itching to throw our next get together!