Wander Woman

An Engagement Party

by on May.17, 2011, under Food & Cocktails, Other Lovelies, Parties & Gatherings

Lemons are guest stars in this soiree. Peonies and carnations sing as the centerpieces.

My groomy and I thought it’d be fun to corral all our loved ones for an engagement bash. 

I wanted the shindig to be fun and beautiful. The setting was critical: It had to be outdoors. I was aiming for a garden party feel, yet still wanted it to be casual enough so that guests would feel comfy lounging and eating/drinking themselves silly for the night. 

We decided to throw the party at my mom’s, since she has a cozy backyard and she won’t charge us for using her space. Score! Plus, she liked the idea of having it at her house so she could take on a key piece of the grunt work – arranging the table/chair rentals. Those rental people are always so troublesome! I was grateful she took on that task.

I sniffed around party planning blogs, looking for clever ideas I could recreate and tweak. After weeks of list-making, lunch-hour shopping trips, after-work shopping trips, weekend shopping trips, menu research, and remedial arts and crafts projects, here’s what we ended up with… 


Our signature drink was a Lemon-Basil Rickey. I wanted to call it a "Fizz," but dangit, it just wasn't fizzing. So I called it a"Rickey," as in Gin Rickey, because it had the core ingredients of club soda and citrus. I used vodka and basil to give it a lil' kick.






The dessert table! We laid out one sweet treat at the start of the party, and the rest of the desserts trotted out after dinner.


Doh! I forgot to snap a shot of the parting gifts before the party! I took this pic the next day when I finally remembered. It was filled with homemade lemon bars and chocolate chip-coconut cookies. I loaded them into a wicker basket - not this fancy crystal dish.

This party was a kick-ass trial run for wedding planning. And, yep, the bash was everything we wanted it to be! I think our party peeps loved the food and libations, which is the most important part of a celebration, hands down. 

Here’s what I learned: Hosting 40-plus human beings for dinner is wild! It’s so special and exciting to spend that time with them. But it’s a BIG task that probably requires a paid staff member who can tend to food and beverage needs throughout the party. My soon-to-be mama-in-law, Bette, and granny-in-law, Nannie, filled this role and worked their tails off during the whole event – restocking appetizers, setting us up for din-din. My mom and best friend helped a ton too, especially before the party and even after. So did our de facto family members: Donna, Tom and everyone else, we appreciated your help! 

Thanks a million, pals and family, for all that you did. You helped make it a perfect night! 

And don’t worry: For the wedding, we’re definitely not taking the DIY route. I’ve got wedding planners/caterers/bartenders on speed dial.

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3 Comments for this entry

  • SMMS

    It was such a beautiful party, Wander Woman! That cocktail was to die for, the flowers were perfect, the lights were magical and made it feel like Tavern on the Green, and the company was lovely… The combination of everything was almost as perfect as the combination of you and husband-to-be;)

  • Brianna

    Looks like fun was had by all. I loved the flowers, the dark pink looked so pretty against the lemon yellow.

  • Lenny

    Such a great party, awesome decorating great food, amazing drinks and of course great people. Good work 🙂

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