I love every party I design, but this one is very dear to me. It's the 40th anniversary party I threw for my wonderful parents!
Their wedding--full of daisies, babies breath, and 70s awesomeness--was the inspiration for the party. (Obviously.) I knew I wanted to incorporate those flowers and elements, but update them, modernize them.
That meant lots of daisies and even baby's breath, but also other flowers, berries, and greens in the same yellow and white color family.
This was by far the most ambitious floral arranging I have ever done. And it took some time, certainly, but you know, it was actually way easier than I expected! I turned this old pergola/tent structure (that had lost its canopy to the harsh Phoenix sun) into a truly spectacular setting for the cake table with a bit of floral foam, wire, and flowers. (Tutorial coming up in the coming days!).
I stretched my decorating dollars by using lots of free materials from the yard--lemons from our abundant lemon tree, trimmings from a shade tree in the backyard, etc. And this floral arrangement was actually done entirely by my 3 year old daughter--I told you it wasn't complicated!
Fabulous printables from Frog Prince Paperie made special touches like these custom wine labels easy.
Since guests came from many diverse groups, name tags (also created by Frog Prince Paperie) helped everyone become acquainted. Except for my father, who got a very special nametag I designed just for him, reminiscent of the completely fabulous chocolate brown tux with peach ruffled shirt he wore to his wedding. Always a dapper man, my dad.
Pictures from the wedding were everywhere at the party. Some in frames scattered on tables, and many in this hanging backdrop to the cake table.
Speaking of the cake, this was the one detail I instantly knew I wanted to include from the first few seconds of planning this party. My father's mother (an accomplished and popular professional cake decorator in Iowa in her day) made the cake for my parents. My mother was so looking forward to tasting the apricot almond cake she had carefully selected, but my parents were so busy socializing and taking pictures at the reception, that they didn't get a slice there.
They thought that certainly they'd have a chance to eat one of the many leftover pieces (they'd ordered far, far more cake than necessary for their wedding to ensure leftovers), but the time they got back to the house after the reception, my mother's 10 younger siblings had eaten every single crumb!
It may have taken 40 years, but they finally got their cake!
I don't have my grandmother's exceptional piping skills, and it was my first time attempting an apricot glaze technique in lieu of a standard icing, but man, did it taste good! Butter cake with apricot glaze, an amaretto soak, and amaretto buttercream. I'll be sharing the recipe as part of our ongoing Hungry Games blog series.
Dinner was simple Italian fare: Caprese salad skewers, a tossed salad, spinach and artichoke dip, and pizza made in the wood-fired oven I built in our backyard.
Man, oh man, is that pizza delicious. And when it only takes 90 seconds to cook, it's easy to feed a crowd!
Gentle, romantic lighting was provided by the votive candles, the pizza oven itself, and the lit floral pergola structure.
I used a bunch of trimmings from a shade tree in the backyard to create a verdant, twinkling light canopy over the dining area.
Long into the night, we celebrated 40 years of love, friends, and family.
Wedding pictures may have been all around, but the most wonderful sight was seeing the love that still glows on my parents' faces every time they're together. I feel incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful family, and so lucky to have been able to throw this party for my parents. A small gift to let them know how much I appreciate the gift of their love.