Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Luncheon Success.

Isn't the sterling beautiful??  Not mine, borrowed.

Do we ever grow out of tea parties?  I think not:)  When I was asked to help host a luncheon for a friend's very special birthday, I said "But of course!", not only to celebrate a milestone in a friend's life, but to have an opportunity to get all girley and bring out the "good stuff", get dressed up, make fun food, and have a cocktail at 10:30 in the morning (something I don't ever indulge in, thank you, especially on a Monday!!!)

I spent all  weekend preparing, cleaning, sewing (an opportunity to get those drapes up in the dining room!), preparing linens, ironing, all over frooffing of the house.  The the fun kind of preparing, not the drugery of everyday.  I HAD GUESTS!  This is my element, and I LOVE it!  To coin a new friend's word I was was all around Zhushing (even got a new dress for the occasion!) My husband says I am channeling Martha, I just might be, what is so wrong with that!

Anyway, on to the good stuff.

It all started with an invitation to set the color scheme...being a fan of navy and green I thought, what the heck? This is a design I did a while ago, and I thought it oh, appropo. 



I just scored quite a few beautiful linens at an auction ($17.50 for a lot, woot!!) so it was fun to bring them all back to life. (the process on another post).  This table is a mix and match of old and new, fine linen and scraps.  I had an old piece of navy blue fabric, and I just ironed the ends under, something I have done tons of times to get color to a table without spending $$$.  The green is a cloth that has tons of spots on it, but with the overlay, and the plates, no one but me ever knew:)  Also, not everyone has full sets of silver, I know I don't.  So we mixed and matched, borrowed from mothers and mother-in-laws, and made it work.  You will find that friends and family are more than willing to let you use the good stuff.  At least it is being used and brought out of closets, and it comes back clean and polished!

Photos by moi.
Note to self remember to bring chair down from upstairs bottom right (luckily we had a noshow:)
Bring the party outside too, it didn't hurt that it was beautiful outside too.  The doors were opened and the conversation could flow freely, and every one was comfy and felt part of the party.  Just as I had imagined it when we added the porch off the dining room.
I have a local wholesale florist that I like to work with, they have a big cooler and you just pick what you want. (my dream would be to go to the flower markets of chelsea, but Branhams in Columbia, SC works well too.  I spent $38 on flowers.  I bought 6 stems of mini hydrangeas, and 2 bunches of stock.  Keeping it simple and fresh and low.  Luncheons or dinners are not the times to bring out HUGE arrangements. No one likes to try to peer thru foliage at the person across the table from them!  I used silver juleps (2 borrowed one from moi,) and 3 vases I got for $14 at pier one.  It brought the element of blue to the table that was missing.  Very simple and pretty if I do say so myself.

 Notice the drapes in the background...funny how they have green and blue in them.  I told you I have been having a green and blue moment lately:)

We used little sterling peppers and salt cellars with the tiny spoons.  The tiny details. 
Borrowed.  But who doesn't like to use a salt cellar??


You can't have a luncheon without food. There is no need to blow a gasket when it comes to the menu. We broke up the tasks and it was totally doable.  A little bit of prep the night before, and 1 hour of cooking before and voila the food is done!  I will post these recipes later, really perfect for a luncheon.

Salad with Gorgonzola, pears, and candied pecans
(plated before the guests arrived)
Shrimp and Grits
(a southern favorite, if you haven't tried it you must!)
Cheese Biscuits
(the ones from the side of the bisquik box)
Fruit Salad
(yummy, yummy)
(made by a guest who makes delish cakes as her gift)
(with and without gas)
Mimosa's with Blood orange
We plated the salad before guests arrived, and it was already dressed...who wants to mess with dressing?
A little bit for everyone.  Having sliced lemons in the lemonade was another detail.  Having the mint although not used, made the drink tray really pretty.  We had regular water in glasses on the tables.
and coffee of course.!

No pictures of the shrimp and grits or cake, I put my camera down and forgot to take pics.  Sorry:(

I have to say the guest of honor was, well, honored.  You could tell she felt really special.  Every girl likes to be the princess at a tea party, and this was just the grown up kind.  The kind you really dream of when you are a little girl.    It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, I spent a total of $50 a little more than I would have spent on a gift, but the smile on my friend's face when she walked in the door was worth every ounce of effort...and the camaraderie I feel when doing this with friends is awesome, even cleanup is more fun, we chatted up a storm while polishing silver the day before and doing dishes after the party...and NOW our silver is polished and my house is clean, and I couldn't have done any of it without my friends.



Rene said...

Beautiful post Gretchen. Every girls dream tea party. Your curtains look great too. Are you going to do a full reveal?


mom said...

I DO so wish that I could say you got your entertaining gene from me but I actually think it skipped a generation :-(
So glad it was fun -- it sure was pretty :-)

The Zhush said...

Great job Gretchen! Your home looks amazing, and the party looks like it was a huge success, love that you were "zhushing"...:)

pretty pink tulips said...

Gorgeous table....what a fun celebration. I often think I have as much fun as the host as does the guest of honor. I think this may have been the case for you as well!!! Bravo!!!

pve design said...

I need to throw a tea party and zhush myself.
Your invites really set the tone and the menu, how can a girl not go crazy for some grits....you hit my Southern belle bone!

Gretchen O. said...

Thank you all...it really was a fun day... I am trying to keep the flowers from wilting, b/c my house looks so nice and clean (except for the toys on the floor, and the laundry that has started piling....oh vell:) --G

LindsB said...

I can see why your friend was so touched, this is such a thoughtful and beautiful luncheon! Every detail is amazing!