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Rustic Outdoor Party

This past weekend I hosted and Engagement Party for two lovely couples who work with my husband.
I wanted to share how I decorated and tips on what I learned.

Tip 1:  Cheap wood and Chalk Board Paint goes a long way!
Since B works in Construction he has scrap material around all the time.  Usually they are small pieces, score for my sign idea!I created a Pinterest Board about 2 months ago and started putting pictures there of outdoor party ideas.  I learned a long time ago if I show B a pic he can usually do it!  I knew I wanted pallets for tables and hay for seating, but I wanted them to be chic.  Contradiction I know, but somehow we pulled it off!  With extra pallets sitting around we grabbed 5 to make a decent table height.
Tip 2:  6 Pallets is the best height if you are over 5’7″!

Since the party was outside and we happened upon a weekend when NC is drastically fluctuating in temp I made sure all small blankets, scarves, and ponchos were clean.  I rolled the blankets and scarves and draped the ponchos on the hay.  I love how cute it all turned out.  I did struggle with what to write on the sign.  “Keep Cozy” is simple and fun.  I also debated on writing “Cozy Up”.  Decisions Decisions.  B thinks I am silly when I spend time thinking about things like this.  Of course if he had it his way we would have told everyone to bring their own chair and to sit around a fire with no food.  Men!Tip 3:  If you see a big box of wine glass’ for SUPER cheap, buy them!
I picked up a 12 case of glass’ last year from Bed Bath and Beyond (watch out for that Beyond section, I get lost sometimes) for like $8 [don’t quote me].  I keep about 6 glass’ in my cabinet at all times while the other 6 stay in the box.  I makes life easy when you have enough for guests.  BTW we had 13 in total.  As you can see from my Drink Menu, we had a decent selection.  I did ask everyone to BYOB, but did purchase 3 different type of beer and wine just in case.  Vodka doesn’t go to waste in my home, plus it’s perfect for a Sangria!  Just add OJ, Tomato Juice, and something else for a mixer set up.  This let my guests have fun making their own drinks and took pressure off me to serve them.
Tip 4:  Let your guests serve themselves!  You will thank me later on this one.I love the idea of a wheel barrel as the beer holder in place of a cooler.  Since the temp didn’t go above 55, the ice stayed cold as well as the drinks.  You may notice my cool Bar… dearest friend is dating a super fun nice cool dude who repurposes retired Whiskey Barrels.  I asked if I could borrow one for the party, and he was all to happy to lend it to me.  B made a wood surface to set on top of the barrel so I had room for the drinks and mixers.  By setting out items like limes and lemons with a cutting board the guests were able to add items to their beers, water, or cocktails.
Tip 5:  If you see cute pictures in a store that are reasonably priced ($3-8) buy them!  I got the little picture for $4 in the store At Home.  Which is where I also purchased 2 larger one’s.  They have come in handy for flower arrangements and bar set ups.Let’s take a moment and talk Sangria!  The recipe I used is from my sister [I will check if I can post it for you, don’t know if it’s a secret].  If you have read my blog long you will know I love creating signature cocktails for parties I host.  See here
Even a simple recipe can make the best drinks!Tip 6: When you are shopping TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Marshalls, etc pick up cute drink napkins.  Trust me they will come in handy.  I have a huge stock pile of drink napkins for any occasion. Ok the table…..insane I know!  I can’t stand going to a party and having to balance things.  I am clumsy and will drop something, it’s not If but When!  So we borrowed 2 tables from B’s work and we own a table.  If I had more chairs we could have fit like 20-25 people.
Tip 7:  If you don’t have enough chairs, don’t stress!  Bales of Hay and a piece of wood make for perfect fun seating options.
I alternated the chairs so they would look appealing to the eye.  Sometimes taking a step back makes a world of difference in the presentation.
My mom made the floral arrangements for me.  I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up 4 bouquets of flowers.  I selected purple, white, and pink for the coloring.  She made sure they blended well.  I put the smaller arrangements on the table, no one wants to fight with a center piece to see a person.  The larger arrangements went by the food.
Tip 8: Michael’s is a great place to get inexpensive bud vases!  I paid $1.99 for most of the one’s on the table and I used a 40% off coupon!B is the best!  He suggested we grab this scaffolding to use as a buffet table.  Being everyone at the party is associated with Habitat it was poetic.  The walk boards are brand new so no cleaning necessary from feet.  I put the deserts on the middle shelf and used the top shelf to hold extra’s and the music.  Besides the floral arrangements I used electric candle lanterns for decoration and light when the sun set.  I just turned them all on and as the sun went down we had mood lighting.Since it was chilly we made a fire and I put together s’more packets for everyone.  It was so cute, they all grabbed them right away and went to making s’mores before the food was ready.
In addition we had a vegetarian friendly menu.  Black Bean Burgers, Tossed Salad, Pasta Salad, and for the meat lover Carolina Pulled Pork with coleslaw.
Desert was cookies and fruit! Last we set up a photo ‘booth’.  It was so fun to see the couples take pictures with it.  We used a few 2×4’s and some old curtains.

I will follow up with a few recipe posts [black bean sliders].  If there is something you would like more focus on please request in the comments section.