A few weeks ago our very good friend Serena had a birthday. Back in September for my birthday, Serena took me to a Fleet Foxes concert at the Williamsburg waterfront. While we were sitting on the lawn enjoying the view, I started talking about how fun it would be to have a fancy-pants dinner party at my apartment. Have a feast served by candle light on matching china. Serena asked then, “how about for my birthday?”
And since then, I have been planning in the back of my mind how to pull it off. I was more than excited to get started, and I quickly enlisted the help of my friends for the menu planning while I took on the decor. I’ve been thinking about it for months – but I had a hard time getting the creative juices flowing. I got down to serious planning over my holiday break in December. A friend of a friend offered to help out with the invitations. She sent me a few amazing mock ups, that helped inspire the design of the whole event. A giant thank you goes out to her, the invites added the perfect fancy-pants touch I was looking for. 🙂 Who doesn’t love getting an invitation in the mail??
This invite got me going on decor ideas. This blue seemed just wintry enough for me – and although Serena HATES winter, there is no denying that our party was in the middle of January; the silver and blue seemed just right. I went to the amazing Seymour Antiques Co. in CT and found plates with blue and metallic details, and a bunch of milk glass vases. I bought a box of mason jars, and took on a Martha Stewart project to make them blue! All of a sudden, it was coming together!
Another big thank you to my chefs Cat and Joanna, our menu included: tomato basil and artichoke olive bruschetta’s, Smitten Kitchen’s swiss chard and sweet potato gratin (it stole the show), chicken with white wine and mushrooms, arugula salad with roasted beets and pear, buttermilk herb biscuits, and roasted veges. And for desert everyone got their own individual lava cake with a raspberry and blackberry reduction. In a word… YUM. Friends, are you in the New York area? We’ll cook and plan your next party.
With my friends at work in the kitchen, I could step away and prep the table. We had two tables that we pushed together to make enough room for everyone – and I had been trying for weeks to figure out how to make the two different tables work together. I didn’t want one long table cloth – mostly because I didn’t like the look of it, but also because I could only imagine the cost. Racking my brain, one day at work it occurred to me – the easiest and most economical solution would be to cover the tables in butcher paper! I got a big roll of it, and used two strips to cover the table. Instead of a fabric runner, I cut out a bunch of circles from assorted blue and silver papers. This mimicked the invites, and covered the spot on the table where the two sheets crossed over.
Everyone had their own place-card that was the same design as the invites. I also made a Serena inspired mad-libs, where guests could fill out advice and suggestions for the future for the b-day girl. Underneath the mad-libs, there was a card (courtesy of Martha Stewart) that said pssssst… on the top. During the dinner I told everyone to write a secret to Serena , and fill out the mad-libs. We had a box by the door for everyone to drop their secrets.
I had a few different sets of plates, but with the same clear plate placed on top, the same glasses, and the paper goods on each setting, they looked cohesive. For the center of the table I used the jars, vases, antique books for a little height, and a ton of different candles – it was quite beautiful. Check out the post Serena did about it! I think she liked it!
And then there was a little dancing…
There’s nothing like good food, good company, and a little (…a lot) of good wine. More than just a good excuse to plan and host a party, it was a pleasure and an honor to celebrate the wonderful Serena , my lovely little one – please have a birthday every year. It’s a pretty good reason to celebrate you.