A few weeks ago my family hosted a garden party honouring the momentous occasion of my Mum’s retirement. It was a proper knees-up for sixty close friends, family and work colleagues held in my sister Hannah’s back garden.
Friend and photographer Justin Thompson was on hand later on to snap some photos of our guests enjoying the shindig. I’ve included all of Justin’s photographs in the slider as they beautifully capture the ambiance of the party. I’ve rounded up a distinctly lower quality series of my iPhone snaps in a gallery below with a few of the details. As with all good parties, the decorations became a little dishevelled by the evening so were a little worse for wear when Justin arrived!
We decided several months ago we didn’t to hassle of catering ourselves. Instead we enlisted the services of the Nether Edge Pizza Company who set up a wood fired pizza oven on the drive. The guests loved it; the food was sublime, watching the food being cooked added a theatre element and there was minimal tidying up. Friends also brought along salads and breads too so everyone was well fed. Han and I were lucky enough to have two of our nearest and dearest friends, Claire and Caroline join in with the hosting duties making sure the vino flowed at all times and nobody’s glass was empty.
Later on we opened up the dessert bar piled with lots of puddings also prepared by the guests. I gathered together a couple of crates, wooden boards and tree stumps laying them on the dining table before adding the various flans, tarts and cakes on top.
Hannah bought a DIY letter banner from This Modern Life which we used in various locations to add a spot of signage to the party. We added ‘How sweet it is’ to the dessert table, then created ‘raise a glass’ to go, you’ve guessed it, on a table of glassware.
A friend also lent us her dad’s vintage wheelbarrow which we filled with mountains of ice and an assortment of flower heads before loading with bottles of alcohol. We used the leftovers from the letter banner set to adorn the unofficial bar announcing ‘ooh booze’.
On the subject of flowers, we went on a bit of a forage on the morning of the bash collecting wild flowers from the woods and the garden, finishing off with an Aldi trip. We then set up loads of mini milk bottles crammed with flora and fauna and dotted them about the place. I filled an old watering can with lots of wild flowers and then added a blackboard sign to lead the way for guests. Hannah also created a beautiful floral garland to hang on the front gate using twine and flower heads.
My sister and her husband Toby only completed on the purchase of their house in November and have spent the last eight months up to their eyes in renovations. They’ve done a fab job of the downstairs of the house (with a home tour to follow very soon hopefully) and have smartened up the garden no end. There was an area under a large plot of trees at the bottom of the garden which was a little bare so I teamed up with my sister’s brother-in-law, Nick to create a crepe paper backdrop, securing long drops of coloured crepe to a piece of rope. It lasted about two hours before three kiddiwinks tore it down to make ‘princess hair.’ I have to admit though the decor did make a pretty cool hair accessory. Nick also found a glitter ball hidden in the garden which was resurrected to mark the outdoor dance floor (known to many as a lawn).
Nick also erected a tipi using branches from an old tree. I laid my outdoor rug inside and a load of cushions to make a little haven for our smaller guests.
As well as filling jam jars with candles and securing to the fence with twine, we strung metres of fairy lights along the garden and then hung two strings of festoon lights around the patio.
The iPhone Gallery
My dad’s band played a set to get the party started and for the rest of the evening we span tunes from Toby’s iPod. As you can hopefully tell from the photos we had a fab time, danced our socks off and stuffed our faces with delicious food. And maybe downed a couple of G&Ts. Happy days.
Anyone else planning a summer shindig? What have you got planned for grub, drinks and entertainment? One final note on my Mum’s retirement, you may remember I recently mentioned she was planning on getting a puppy. Thanks to all your super helpful advice Reg the Cockapoo will be joining the family very soon!