June 01 2019 – Laura Wright
B R I D A L L U N C H E O N O N T H E L A W N
Hello again, friends!
When you love to entertain... and your sister-in-law is getting married... there is no doubt a party in order! The event just HAD to be as special as the guest of honor, and so Tara's Bridal Luncheon was born.
Due to scheduling constraints and scattered living locations, I opted to host a luncheon the day before her spring wedding. It was a small gathering for the bride, her maids and flower girls. As planning was underway, my biggest question was WHERE to host the event. The small, intimate nature of the event required an equally intimate location, so home seemed most fitting. And while sitting in the dining room seemed acceptable, it did not seem special enough for this little lady! Our backyard would have been my ideal spot, but for those of you know me on a personal level, know that our yard has undergone six years of DIY renovation and was no where near ready for an event. The front yard became the only possible location. We live on a quiet, quaint, tree-lined street. Our front yard is dripping with tree branches that offer protection from passing traffic. Check. The front lawn was the location. From there, I simply planned around the bright, spring-y atmosphere and Tara's colors of mint and peach.
Come the day of, and it's raining. Of course it's raining. It always rains when I plan to do something outside. What to do?! Wait it out. So I waited and finished my meal prep, waited and finished my cocktails, waited and cleaned the kitchen and tied up the remaining loose ends. Just in the knick of time, the sky cleared, the sun came out and it became the LOVELIEST day. Hooray. I start scurrying about to set up my table and transport everything outside. However, the grass was sopping and unacceptable for guests, so I simply shifted my table to the driveway. You must be flexible, people!Overall, this was a minor change and the event went off without a hitch! We had a lovely time celebrating the bride and buzzed with excitement for the weekend ahead. Here are the details for our lovely little luncheon...
EVENT TYPE: A bridal luncheon for the loveliest bride.
DECOR: Simple florals and fancy cupcakes. Single carnations in bubble bud vases ran the length of the table and were also tied into each guests silverware. Leaves stripped from bouquet roses, otherwise considered waste, encompassed the bud vases. A cupcake adorned with flower frosting sat at each place setting.
INVITATIONS: Our "BRIDESMAIDS" BRIDAL SHOWER INVITATIONS in a custom peach and mint colorway and paired with a decorative sheer slip and ribbon tie. Custom variations available upon request.
VENUE: My driveway.
TIME: 11:30 in the morning, to last no longer that an hour and a half. Some guests were coming on their lunch break so the 11:30 arrival time allowed most guests a little time for cocktails and mingling before eating. Once the worker-bees arrived, I served lunch promptly so they were able to scoot back to the office.
NAPKINS: Custom cotton sateen napkins in fabric I designed, hand-sewn by a local seamstress! Neatly wrapped around silverware, tied with a bow and accompanied by a peach carnation.
MUSIC: French Cafe music on Spotify played through our Amazon Tap.
- CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICHES ON CROISSANTS: I don't use a recipe. Sorry, folks. For ease, I opted to use rotisserie chickens for this event. I also make this by cooking the chicken sous vide, another easy, but slightly more time consuming option. Shred chicken, mix salt and pepper into mayo and mix to desired consistency (for alternatives, try using lemon or garlic mayo). Mix in almond slivers (for alternatives, try walnuts or pecans). Thinly slice celery and add. Cut small grapes in half or large grapes in quarters, mix in. Cover tightly, place in the refrigerator and let sit for a few hours.
- VEGAN VEGGIE BAGEL SANDWICHES: The bride is vegan, so this had to be accommodated. She loves bagels and mini sandwiches seemed like the perfect choice. Mini bagels were sliced and toasted and a thin layer of garlic hummus (alternatively try guacamole or pesto). Thinly sliced red onion, red and green pepper slices and/or avocado and layer on the sandwich. Finish with arugula or spinach leaves. Get creative, people... swap out for favorite veggies of your choice! Add colorful grape tomatoes to the serving platter for flare.
- TRIPLE BERRY SALAD: Again, no recipe here. This is a go-to and you can't go wrong with any combination. 2 containers fresh strawberries, quartered. 1-2 containers fresh blueberries, rinsed. 1 container fresh raspberries, rinsed. Edit the ratio of berries according to your guests' tastes. I have found this is the best ratio to please a large crowd. Consider adding blackberries. Add 1-2 bags of sugar coated pecans and gently mix together.
- GREEN SALAD: I'm writing this blog three months after hosting the party and I have no notes or pictures on the salad I served... EEK! If memory serves me correctly, it was an arugula and spinach salad with thinly sliced red onion, radishes and blueberries, honey goat cheese on the side and a homemade honey-mustard vinaigrette.
- FANCY CUPCAKES: From THE YUM FACTORY in Quincy. I took a picture for inspiration and they made my vision come to life. They get bonus points for making them vegan!
- MACARONS: Also from The Yum Factory
- CHAMPAGNE GUMMY BEARS: On the cocktail cart. From fabulous candy boutique, SUGARFINA.
- SPARKLING WATER
- ICED TEA
- PINK LEMONADE
SEVEN + WEEKS BEFORE- Plan your event and guest list. Order your invitations.
FOUR WEEKS BEFORE- Send your invitations.
FOUR-SIX DAYS BEFORE- Buy your flowers and groceries.
TWO DAYS BEFORE- Sous vide your chicken for the chicken salad (if applicable).
ONE DAY BEFORE- Make your chicken salad. Prep veggies for the veggie sandwiches. Clean berries. Arrange your table and chairs and/or outdoor set-up if necessary.
THE DAY OF- Slice mini bagels and assemble your veggie sandwiches. Slice croissants and assemble your chicken salad sandwiches. Mix your berries and nuts. Pour orange juice/beverages into pitchers. Last but not least, set your outdoor table and move everything outside.
1. SUNSCREEN. In the midst of the set-up craziness and stormy skies, I didn't even think to put on sunscreen. At the end of the luncheon, I had red shoulders and cheeks.
2. GET YOURSELF TOGETHER. If you are planning on hosting an outdoor sit-down meal, have all of your decorations, tablecloths, place settings and serveware assembled and ready by the nearest door, so all you have to do is quickly transport everything to it's desired outdoor location before the event.
3. BE FLEXIBLE. Don't get frustrated by wet grass (or other roadblocks), think fast and adjust your event accordingly!
4. DIETARY RESTRICTIONS. If you are serving a crowd of guests you do not know well... or at all... have a variety of foods that may accommodate their dietary restrictions. In this case, I left nuts off the green salad (where I may otherwise have added it), because there were nuts in the berries. The cheese for the salad was served on the side...The chicken and berry salads were gluten free. The veggie bagels, berry salad and green salad were vegan friendly. The veggie bagels and green salad were nut free.
5. BE LAST MINUTE. This may feel contrary to what I generally profess, however... If serving food and/or drinks outdoors, wait until the last possible moment to bring everything out, as to keep it free of pesky bugs and/or critters!