On Saturday, we had a little summer shindig in our backyard, a 40th Anniversary Party. My inlaws are amazing, I think I am extremely lucky. While they will drop anything to help anyone, anytime, they have a habit of just having a simple dinner when it comes to celebrating milestones. I remembered last year and how my mother-in-law had talked about having a big party and as we got closer this year, the talk tapered off. I started to wonder if we would celebrate it at all and I couldn't let that happen, 40 years is an incredible feat. The simple idea of being married and in love (they still hold hands) longer than I have been around is worth celebrating. So I set out to have a simple, yet big evening. They just wanted a backyard fete and that is exactly what they got.
I ordered and purchased a few goodies like the macarons from Lady Yum, but made the watercolor heart cookies, check out my DIY here. Pick and choose what to make and what to buy. If you try to do it all yourself it will get crazy and you still want to have fun, right? The backdrop? An easy DIY you can find here. I love a good party. But when parties get bigger, you need to add in some easy and budget friendly tricks to make a great party. There is no reason you can't have shortcuts.
I used Chinet's plastic champagne flutes to serve drinks. These were amazing and everyone was shocked that they were plastic, which is safer for the little ones at the party. There is no reason kids can't use the 'fancy stuff' too. To make these, take a small bowl of corn syrup and pour colored sugar into a small cereal bowl. Lightly coat the top edge of the champagne flute with your finger and dip upside down into the sugar. Ta da, instant color for any drink ware.
I also set up a full bar, which was easy and combined some of my libations and my inlaws'. I made sure to have all the mixers on hand, so guests could make whatever their favorites were. Since it is a summer party, I made sure to get a variety of lemonades and arrange them in a color gradient. I just picked some gorgeous and yummy flavors in great bottles. I peeled the labels off, wrote the flavors on the lids, and set them in a row. Having something without labels or in pretty pitchers in front of your liquor bottles distracts from the less than gorgeous bottles in the back. A collection of tall and short Chinet cut crystal cups is a pretty way to keep cleanup easy if guests want to switch flavors on their next round.
I focused on the decorations and florals for the anniversary party. Lots of flowers from your local farmers market and a few greenery packages from the grocery store can make a colorful and easy going arrangement. The key is when it is simple, add lots. I tell you this all the time, but cheap flowers, even as beautiful as these bright dahlias, can be gorgeous en masse. LOTS. I arranged them in various mismatched containers from around the house and set them about the party and on the dinner table outside. Not having a ton of matched floral arrangements helps keep a relaxed vibe for your party. You don't want your guests too scared to touch anything.
We rented a tent, some tables and chairs for the back yard. It is August and the heat of the day was when the party started, so we wanted guests to be comfortable. Keep the decor simple, and rent the big stuff. When the rental company comes and drops off your "big" stuff, it helps shorten your to do list. No hauling everyone's picnic table back and forth. Besides, while the florals look great mismatched, a collection of tables and chairs that are cohesive, helps bring it all together. We even had a few extra chairs to set out on my vintage garden table for a smaller conversation area. I added some hanging lanterns to our lilac tree and it was a great little getaway in the shade too.
The tent was gorgeous from the outside, but I added some tissue paper decorations to the inside to help cover up the ceiling of the tent. Your guests don't want to stare at the structures and poles while they are eating, but you don't want to spend two days making garlands, so cover it up with pre-made paper fan garlands and fringe garlands in the same color as the tent. The white kept it bright and since it matched the inside of the tent, made it feel like we had more inside than the few we actually had. The fringe swayed nicely in the summer breeze, it was perfect.
I served our appetizers and dinner buffet style so we ran out of space quickly. On the fly, I grabbed a Chinet square dessert plate, an XXL Glue Dot (2" wide) and a Chinet cut crystal cup. I placed the Glue Dot on the bottom of the cup, it fit perfectly and pressed the bottom of the plate on top. I placed my new tier on top of a Chinet square dinner plate and voila, a simple and easy tiered server Perfect to add a few more veggies to the table. The square shape is a great modern version of the traditional paper plate and fits right in with the rest of the serving dishes.
I used some decorative platters for serving the large plates of food, but to keep cleanup simple and easy, I used Chinet Bakeware for the rolls and asparagus. It was easy to prep these ahead of time and I just popped them in the oven when it was time. Here's the trick to easy roasted asparagus: prep and pop the stalks into the dish. Drizzle with olive oil and chopped garlic. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins or until done. See, easy. When your guests clean out a dish, pop a new one in it's place on the table and toss the other one.
Another great shortcut to a great party? Make some stuff, but leave the other stuff to the pros. I ordered a wedding cake for my inlaws, my MIL picked out the design herself. She never had a wedding cake 40 years ago, so it seemed like the perfect time to get one. We ordered one locally from Morfey's in Seattle. It was pink champagne, which is like THE best cake ever. Trust me.
Summer means easy, and there is no reason having a party, big or small can't be simple. Take those shortcuts when you can and be sure to incorporate some products that will make your life easier at your next fete.
Chinet wants to help make your next round of entertaining easier too, so they are giving away a set of goodies based on what I used in this anniversary party. ENTER TO WIN by commenting on this post. Contest ends next Tuesday, August 20th, at midnight. Winner will be announced here on this post and on Instagram (@hankandhunt) Wednesday morning!
Chinet sent me free product and a stipend for food and decor for this post. All opinions are mine. Don't forget to check out Chinet on Instagram and twitter @mychinet.