Monday, July 7, 2014

How to throw the garden party of the century

how to throw a garden party
balloons in the pool at your party
floral head crown

Are you ready for some oooos and ahhhs?! Natalie Norton did an amazing job at capturing A Midsummer Mingle and I've been dying to share the pics with you.

If you're just joining me, I threw a garden party with Sarah Jane Studios, Mer Mag, One More Mushroom, Sycamore Street Press, Caravan Shoppe. It was a way to say thank you to all the people out there who support us because we couldn't do what we love and without you. It turned out to be a party much bigger (and better!) than any of us intended, but we couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out so we're boldly calling it a success. I'm dividing the photos into two parts--they're just too lovely not to share all of it with you. It couldn't have happened without the support of many, many people--especially Cricut-- so stick with me as I attempt to thank them here.

I learned so much from this event so I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on what to do and what NOT to do.

To do #1: Throw a party! But only do so if you're totally committed to throwing a party. I initially texted everyone and said "how about a stress-free party to celebrate midsummer?" That "stress-free" party turned out to be anything but, and of course, the timing was horrible for everyone involved. I think had we known what we were getting ourselves into, we may not have done it, but we committed to throw it and make it the best we could for the sake of a beautiful event with lovely people.

To do #2: Involve other people. I originally thought of throwing a Midsummer party by myself. I suppose I could have done it on my own, but it wouldn't have been as good, well-thought out, and meaningful had I not invited other hosts to come on board. By bringing on others, we grew closer, relied on each other, and helped bring creativity and loveliness out into the world, which is ultimately our end goal.

To do #3: Involve sponsors who believe in what you do. Sponsors like Cricut and Save-on-Crafts, Atly, Land of Nod, and Blickenstaffs and many other raffle and swag bag sponsors and vendors made the party possible. When you work with people who believe in what you are doing and mutually get something out of it, there ain't nothin better! And tell you what, these sponsors have been so supportive and generous. We couldn't have been more humbled by the support. PLUS, they helped make the party look good!
maypole
Balloon installation
To do #4: Create a unique focal point to the party. After the success of the balloon installation I did for BHLDN, I've been dying to try out another and actually have one that people could see in person. I teamed up with Partyland who graciously came in last minute to provide the balloons. They even introduced me to a machine they invited that creates the twisty shape you see here. It's called EZ Twist and I'm so pleased with the shapes it created. I'll be talking more about it in the next post. 

Creating something unique for a party means at least one decorative element that you haven't seen anywhere else. Go on Pinterest for the rest of your ideas. 
vintage camper food truck
To do #5 Delicious food/drinks that fits the branding of your eventRamblin Rose Cafe catered the affair and it was THE PERFECT marriage. They have a lovely menu of tea and toasts and I tell you, their flavors are unique and botanical and DIVINE. And their lemon lavender tea is out of this world. If you're local, go see them every week at the Farmer's Market in SLC. And, AND, they come with the cutest get up including this vintage camper and signage. Everything was perfection (minus running out of cups...oopsies, my bad!)

When selecting food or drinks for your own event think of how you want your guests to feel. Is it a fun and whimsical event? Go with a cotton candy truck. Is it a relaxed, casual event? Go with a food truck. Here in Utah we're lucky to have so many options. 
To do #6: Signage. No matter how large the party is, signage will always help. We knew we needed lots because we were directing our guests through meandering pathways to discover different "experiences" around the garden. We knew we would need arrows and explanations. Enter Cougar Copy. Local print shop Cougar Copy provided all the printing and they went above and beyond like the banner you see here. I've been using them for the past year because they are so wonderful to work with. You just send in your files and all you do is pick them up. AND, they're prices are fantastic. Karen, thank you so so much! 
A Midsummer Mingle balloon arch
felt ball garland
To do #7: Color branding. We settled on some colors and branding that helped set off the theme for the rest of the event. Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag did all of the branding and color selection. It helped when adding on sponsors who helped out like Aubry of Hello Maypole graciously provided mini garlands for every attendee and included some garlands for my section of the party, but more on that on the next post. 
Wear all white at your garden party
To do #8: Dress code. Once a dress code is requested, it immediately unifies the group and gets guests more involved. We asked our guests to dress all in summer whites. I hope it wasn't so much of a headache as it was a fun assignment to go through your closet or find a new ensemble. I found a dress from Danish label Ganni off of ASOS that I love, love,  love, and have been wearing it every day since. Turns out they have a ton of beautiful white summer dresses. I would have worn any one of them had I been all Kim Kardashian and changed every half hour.
Dancing around the maypole
Dancing around the maypole
To do #9: Entertainment. Merrilee arranged to have a Maypole troupe come and perform for us. They were amazing and really set the stage for the event. 

We actually tried to get an acting group to come perform a scene from A Midsummer's Night and some folk dancers to come on board too, but it didn't quite pan out. We're not complaining here, but just imagine the awesomeness that could have been!

We also had a ton of crafting going on. Each blogger/company, had their own "station" where they displayed the Cricut project we created for the event and had supplies out so they could display them. Cricut was present with a number of their brand new machines so people could come try them out for themselves. I'll be talking more about our projects later this week. 
Come create with cricut
flowers by Lizy's Lilies
To do #10: Flowers! You guys know me by now. Everything, especially a garden party, must have flowers. Flowers can be a large part of the budget but it was so important in this instance to set the mood. Lizy Bowden of Lizy's Lilies stepped in with the florals and did a smashing job. Aren't they so gorgeous! She added them throughout the balloon installations too. If you're budget is not so large, go with less or be strategic in where you place them. Initially we had them everywhere but we had to par it down to a bit in the end. 

A very important element to the party was floral crowns for all. Amy Anne, along with some magical helpers, stepped in and created 150 floral crowns! It was insane yet so perfect for the event. 
Floral crown
To do #11: Treats! You must have some little tasty treats that get people off their diets for one night. Cocoa Bean Cupcake Cafe supplied delicious goodies for the event and they were knock your socks off tasty! They're located in Utah and Idaho and if you get a chance, go! 

To do #12: Lighting! The key to the success of this garden party, among other things, was lighting. We wanted to create a magical wonderland for our guests and this could only have been achieved with good and adequate lighting provided by Save On Crafts, my go to source for craft and decor supplies. They have these little lights called Fairy Berries, which the name alone will make you die of cuteness, but they added the perfect amount of delight sprinkled throughout the garden. We also added a TON of bistro lighting throughout as well as tea lights, lights in jars, lights on branches, and a dozen other lighting techniques. Save on Crafts has it all and they are so well priced! I couldn't recommend them enough.
party ware from Shop Sweet Lulu
To do #13: Cute partyware. For cute party decor details we turned to the go-to party source, Shop Sweet Lulu. They provided the cutest confetti cups and plates and straws for us. (Psst: word on the street is that they are getting a cute site makeover soon!)

To do #14: Cake! ME, my baking intern, created these delicious Scandinavian-inspired cakes. Not only are they beautiful, but they were delish. Cake is a must. And cute cake stands like these ones from BHLDN are perfect (and they're having a 20% off sale right now! Go quick!)
Cakes by ME Hammond. Cake stand by BHLDN
Watermelon mint water
To do #15: Refreshing drinks. Ours was a non-alcoholic event and being a garden party, refreshing infused drinks were a must. Ramblin Rose Cafe provided some delicious infused waters like watermelon mint.

To do #16: Create a hashtag. Hashtags for your specific events are now a party standard. If you're super unfamiliar to what a hashtag is, it's a way to archive photos on social media. If you add a hashtag to an event (simply use the # sign and add your phrase after and voila!) then your guests can look through all the photos in one place. Ours was #amidsummermingle and we provided several signs around the venue including this one which lined the back fence of the tennis court.
Use a hashtag at your event
Hello Hackworths and Natalie
A big shout out to Sarah Jane and her husband Ken for making the midsummer pole. It turned out so well! And we used fabric from Michael Miller to create the ribbons. Thanks to Carli Randolf for sewing them! 
Dancing around the maypole
Rachel of Darlybird, above, and her mother Laura of the adorable fabric and knitting shop Harmony in downtown Provo provided earrings for all the guests in the swag bags and adorable lavender sachets.
lavender sachet
Red Rock Hot Club
To do #17: Hire an awesome band! When you can, hire a band! We searched high and low to find a French gypsy jazz band. Turns out, most were in France! But we ended up getting the best of the best with Red Rock Hot Club. I felt like we were in the movie Chocolat and Johnny Depp was playing for us. 

To do #18: Involve local artists. It just so happened to work out that a couple of local artists were able to provide some artwork to be put on display like Jann Marie and Kev Nemelka
Jann Marie Studio
Blickenstaffs was one of our generous sponsors. They created a sweet experience where you could write notes and stick them in bottles and they'll be sent out to sea. 
To do #19: Get help! Though it's #19 on the list, it should really be #1. Do yourself a favor and when people ask if they can help, say yes! All of these people above played an instrumental role in helping out with the event. They contributed countless hours in making this event possible and I am so so grateful. I'm especially grateful for these two below, Brynn and Kelly, who spear headed the efforts. They worked with my indecisiveness and last minute calls for Home Depot runs. They kept us on track and organized when I was going nuts. Thank you so much.
And last, but not least, these lovely ladies who have been a source of sound advice and strength in recent months. I moved here a year ago and feel so lucky to have such wonderful people by my side. I'll be talking more about them in the next post.
Thank you to our sponsors: 
Cricut (stay tuned for our projects!) 
Save on Crafts for the amazing lighting (seriously, they have so many wonderful options!)

Lizy's Lilies for the florals
Ramblin Rose Cafe for the food

atly
Called to Surf and Blickenstaffs



And thank you to the swag bag sponsors: Darly Bird, atly, Hello Maypole

11 comments:

Abigail said...

Such beautiful images and the party looks like something out of a dream! I'm totally swooning looking at this.

Wishesbridal said...

What a sweet and funny wedding party!I want to join them!

Ramona said...

Wow! What an amazing garden party! So inspiring and wonderful!

heather gilmour said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chelsea said...

This party really does look like one of the best of the century! I am going to have to plan a trip to Utah specifically to attend if you do it next year!

Jenner Brown said...

So much talent in one little garden!

This Cinematic Life said...

Aw, you're taking me back to my wedding five years ago, held in my mom's backyard. We had balloons in the pool too!

Denver Wedding venues said...

We held an event here in evening, and I have to say, it was fantastic. The sweeping views were incomparable and the atmosphere was just right.

Viola / Maika Goods said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt event!! P.S. Kelly rocks...

Ariana - Hey Wedding Lady said...

This is so fabulous! You ladies really know how to throw a party!

wedding ring said...

fantastic and festive party ...