Comments : 32

Hello…..we had been planning a graduation party for my sons college graduation/summer party for a few months. Since my life has gotten a lot busier, I only started really thinking about all the details about 3 weeks before the party realizing I better myself in gear!

I knew I wanted to do a white theme, so envisioned white flowers, white tablecloths, the clear Chiavari chairs and I wanted to do great big white (36″ big)  balloons. Found a local balloon company that was able to order them for me and I must say that was a great decision…they really made the decor. We were a big group, about 115 people, almost half of whom were my sons friends (both from college and high school). The young adults in the mix made for a really lively charged energetic atmosphere which only made it more fun:)

We had a fabulous caterer who we have used several times, Elegant Affairs who runs their business like a well oiled machine, flawless! Then we hired Los Habaneros, an excellent Cuban band, the music was amazing and created such a wonderful atmosphere. We even had a cigar roller come after dinner which was a huge hit with the guys! For cocktails we also had a sushi bar, and my son who had about 50 of his friends at the party  practically put the sushi guy out of business, he couldn’t roll those sushi rolls fast enough! There were two bars with specialty drinks which was of course a big hit. All these ingredients just set the tone for a really fabulous party.

My only major regret was not hiring a photographer, such a mistake. I thought about it and then figured everyone always has their phones. But fortunately, my sons good friends have a small videography side business  and are producing a video for him as a keepsake of the night, cannot wait to get that!

I must say, we were so blessed with the weather, it was a picture perfect night. This is part 1 where I show you behind the scenes of the party prep and part 2 will be the actual finished set up and some of the actual party (next week). Here we go-


A few asked about these big white jars, they were not expensive jars bought years ago from a vendor, but they are not really high quality and the bottom turned yellow-ish when water was put in them, but they did the trick for the night!

We had finished our basement/lower level about 2 years ago and it’s a really beautiful space however one we don’t use that much. We made this huge room to be like a party room with a gorgeous bar and we have only used it a few times for a few gatherings that were small never for a “party”. So I decided this was the perfect occasion to christen this space! It was a great move as it worked out so well. It opens to a side patio with stairs going either to the driveway or upper patio off living room.

I lined the stairs going up to the main patio with oversized hurricanes, it looked so pretty at dusk

This set up worked out really well as we had valet parking and the valet attendant directed our guests to walk outside (extra nice that it did not involve people coming inside) down the stairs to the party. We opened the French doors and the bar was perfect as was the large room and the outside had bar top tables set up with a big guacamole bar. We had waiters serving a whole host of amazing appetizers.

It was a nerve wrecking week as the forecast was all over the place that entire week leading up to Saturday and I was a maniac watching the weather, flipping channels constantly…really made myself nuts. To me, getting a tent would kind of ruin the vibe and effect I was after, so I crossed my fingers and prayed…..and miraculously it worked!

Even put the graduation boy and nephew to work…..

Meanwhile in the back, sprucing up the patio as the existing furniture was going to stay but be rearranged

Meanwhile inside yours truly put on her florist hat and went to town with her white hydrangeas-


How beautiful are these peonies! Got them from a farm stand on the North Fork, and they were some of the prettiest I have ever seen!

Flowers are done….kept them inside to stay cool

I always put out monogrammed towels in the powder room and light a candle, it’s those small little touches that mean something

Flowers waiting to be distributed to their designated areas-

In the kitchen, the chefs were getting busy preparing an amazing array of food for the cocktail hour and dinner….so sad we didn’t’ get pictures, it was incredible! (thank you Elegant Affairs)!

And deliveries were being made for all the essentials to carry out a flawless evening by the caterer


One of the best things I did was get 20 of these incredible 36″ balloons…they added SO much to the party decor and really made the entire party feel so festive!

Outside the caterer arrived around 4 and started setting things up, after the patio was washed down

And let the setup begin

Balloons just hanging out:)

The sun is shining and it’s starting to look like a party!


A few party tips-

  • Knowing I was going to have a super busy week, and not able to make it to NYC to the flower district- I ordered all the white hydrangeas from Costco! Delivered right to my door, they were perfect, very fresh and extremely reasonable…would definitely do it again!
  • Pillar candles can get expensive, I had gotten some at Bed Bath and Beyond and they were about $14.00 for the big ones. Guess where I ended up buying a huge stash at prices I have never seen? Ikea! Yep the big ones were about $4.00…best deal I have ever seen on them!
  • You can never have too many votives, I go to Amazon and order them by the case, nothing is as pretty as twinkling candles everywhere
  • I always give myself a “to be done by time” the day of the party where all my last minute errands need to be done. So in this case it was 1 pm and about 2 pm I go to take a luxurious long bubble bath, it is the best way to relax (sometimes take a power nap for about 20 minutes too)
  • I always plan my tips in advance and put them in small envelopes with names on them, and put them in one place. This way at the end of the night I am not scrambling for change,etc…makes it so easy and takes the stress out
  • The little things count- I always add a small bud vase or mint julep with fresh flowers, a beautiful candle and monogrammed towels to my powder room(s). I believe those little extra touches go a long way.
  • I was able to preserve my flowers for about 9 days after the party (and STILL have some)! I always give them fresh cuts after the party put them in new vases/containers with fresh water, I always say it but it’s true, hydrangeas give you the most bang for your buck!
  • Make sure you have either designated people to take pictures (and go over what you want them to take well before the party) or a photographer, my only regret was not having someone there to solely capture the highlights of the night (and there were many)


All I can say is  we got super lucky….it was a spectacular night in every sense. When they say the stars are aligned and how it all works out so well, this was one such night. I could not have asked for anything to have gone smoother. From a fabulous caterer, to a talented band, the decor, the guests, everyone in white, the weather, feeling the love from friends and family- does it get better? I think not.

Such fun putting this post together, because it has me reliving this fun weekend all over again. We were so blessed to have had such beautiful weather and the whole day was a blast, as we watched my white vision come to life. Next time, will be the completed party decor and some pictures of the party in full swing (thanks to my nephew and various guests who so kindly sent in their pictures). Until next time……

PS Today and tomorrow, spend $50 more on melamine and get a free serving platter!! Summer is here and this melamine is perfect for all your alfresco (and indoor) meals! Click here to see the patterns and pieces.

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You are one amazing lady! Everything is so gorgeous, what a wonderful night you gave your son, family and friends. I know your son must have really appreciated it all so much. I admire your energy and enthusiasm, it’s contagious! Great tips for party planning, thanks so much for sharing, really enjoyed the post and great ideas and congratulations to your son!

I, too, admire your energy, enthusiasm and talent! Such great tips ! It must have been an extraordinary evening and I am sure the memories will be treasured! As always- thank you for sharing!

So Happy the weather cooperated. What a fabulous party! Can’t wait to see Part II. You are amazing!

Love your ideas! I am headed to a Fete en Blanc next week and am going to use some of your tips for our table’s decor.

Thank you!

When I grow up, ( I’m 76) I’m going to do parties like you. Envious of your energy and of the two sinks under the three windows in your kitchen. Blessed you are!

Dear Ms. Tina,
Just a note of thanks for your company as a resource and your sharing of personal photos, experiences, resources and tips.
Your energy and generosity are quite impressive. Your love of entertaining, Blue & White, Design and a “joie de vivre” are evident
and appreciated. Your website is right up there with my other favorite, Carolyne Roehm.
Might there be a book in your future? Again, thanks. I really enjoy the enchanted


I love to see how everything comes together! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to the next round of pictures!

Your story and pictures make me feel like I was there with you. Your talent at party arranging is in full bloom. Looking forward to more photos of your event.

Sounds like a wonderful celebration for your son. I always hire a photographer…that way my family doesn’t get aggravated with me taking too many…lol

As always, this post left a big smile on my face!!! You are the greatest!!!

Wow! This looks AMAZING! Don’t know if you would be interested or not, but for those large white jars that changed color when you added water, you COULD buy that Leak Stopper Rubber Sealer or Flex Seal Liquid Rubber Spray and spray that stuff on the interior of your jars. Perhaps tape off the exterior with paper or plastic so you don’t get overspray on the actual jars. Those jars are a whole lotta look for not much $$$ and, to me, worth trying to fix them so they don’t change color on your. Even knowing what I know about your jars, I would still buy them today, because they present so well. Can’t wait to see the actual party post. Thanks, Tina!

Congrats to your son! Always look forward to your post, so beautiful and love the resources.

Thanks for sharing the photos of the prep for your marvelous party. And thank you for the Costco and Ikea tips – Wow!

Tina–It looks like it was a fabulous, fun party! Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips, love each and every one. And congratulations to your son on his graduation.

First, congratulations to your son!
The party looks incredible and as always, dear Tina, perfection everywhere you look! Can’t wait for party post #2.

Oh, and where did you get those gorgeous cut glass vases holding the peonies? Exquisite!

Beautiful party:
Enjoyed the pictures and tips-will definitely ckeck out the candles
on IKEA.
I spoke with one of your representatives before seeing this post about the white ginger jars. Hope you can locate somethings as elegant and pretty.

Tina, you never cease to amaze me. It is incredible that you pulled off such a spectacular party for 115 guests in 3 weeks of planning! I truly admire you! Congrats to your son.

Congratulations to your son, Tina. You must be so proud. I love that he and your nephew were not too cool to help. I’m sure you have instilled in them a good work ethic or you have a low tolerance for idle hands – haha.

Of all the pictures I’ve seen of your kitchen over the years, I’ve never seen it from the view point of showing your beautiful double sinks! Yes, we haven’t seen your basement in awhile either. Your house is just gorgeous!

Thank you for sharing and all your great tips.. I love hand towels, but find paper guest towels more sanitary for large parties. Love the tip Tip! Saves time and embarrassment.

How fun! I love the white theme idea, I bet it was so beautiful when done and cannot wait to see the finished party decor. Love and appreciate your attention to detail as I too tend to be the same way.
Your son is lucky to have you and your home is the perfect backdrop for a beautiful party.

What a party! I know how much work goes into them, having thrown a few myself. I love the process but do stress way too much. I love all the tips but have to say the one where you said you have a time to be done by and then have ample time to take a bath and relax is the one takeaway which I don’t do. I always find myself running around until right before my guests come and then am wiped out! So thank you for that, I will think of you when I am sitting in my bubble bath next party, haha!

BTW Tina saw a picture of you and you are gorgeous, think it was your son’s graduation, beautiful lady inside and out!

First, I must say I coveted the Christmas Party Caroling Party and especially the photos of that catered event. The food was displayed in such creative ways and I just got so many great ideas from the photos. I just wished I had printed them out because I loved the food stations created by your caterer. Did they cater both of these parties? This party is also one of my favorites and I also saw some photos of our fabulous kitchen from another angle. I had no idea that hydrangeas and other flowers could be ordered from Costco …….but I was in a store the other day and noticed their arrangements. They were so perfect you could just buy, take home, and place on your tables without any hesitation. And Ikea candles…..I will also look there. Thanks for such great tips!

the preparations even look like it’s going to be a great party. Can’t wait to see its completion.

You have a bar in your house?! I think I need to add this to my list for my dream property!

What a fabulous party. Loved watching all your talents put together. Love those white balloons!!! Your son is so lucky to have a mom and dad like you. Can’t wait to see Part II. Congratulations to your son!

Your party was amazing! Great memories for your son. The house looked lovely with all the flowers, candles and all the small touches!

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