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:) IMG_1985 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.