We had a magical evening of celebrating my mother’s birthday…full of laughter, fairies, butterflies, and a mischievous little puck. But…there was a great sigh of relief as we cut into the birthday cake, the work was over and we could all simply enjoy the moment.
Throwing this event was extra fun; we travelled to Virginia to where my family lives to put it on. As a result, the whole family got to be involved. My brother helped with the cooking, my father engineered signs and candleholders and anything else that needed built, my mother remained silent as I dismantled and redecorated her house, and she, my sister-in-law and a few old good friends helped craft many of the small details in the party. And probably most important, my dear husband wrangled the children while we put the finishing touches on everything. It was wonderful to have an event that brought us all together!
A few weeks before the party, invitations were sent out. They have a full craft paper brown enclosure tied with the ribbons that were used throughout the party, and were adorned with little fairies and some specially written prose. The fairies were a special touch just for my mother — they are silhouettes of her little pixie of a granddaughter and are seen throughout the party decor as well!
. As our guests arrived, we wanted to set the stage a bit…
White branches in teal-tinted metal buckets hung heavy with votives flanked the path to the door. Votives were placed up the walkway, with little fairies dancing up the steps.
Inside, fairies and butterflies fluttered amongst the sweets on the dessert table. Natural elements such as burlap, river rocks and long branches tied the beautiful gardens outside the windows into the room.
The items served on the dessert and appetizer table were specifically chosen because they were Mom’s favorites, although I admit I have a few new ones now myself, like the AMAZING strawberry meringues!
The artisan strawberry meringues were so pretty, we had to convince people they weren’t just decorations. And they tasted even better than they looked! Sweet Purrfection, a small artisanal confectionery out of Chicago, provided these light as air melt in your mouth treats. Perfect flavor, perfect texture, perfect custom color….they were just perfect! We’ve since tried their other flavors, and they are ALL fabulous. Erin’s Cake Creations provided the beautiful custom decoration for the carrot cake and fondant roses that reflected the paper flowers in the party decor. Girly Gatherings made the unique sugar cookies with graphics to match the invitation, a crested “G” and our little fuscia fairy. The live greenery was all contributed by my mother’s gardens...
Each letter of the birthday banner is unique typographic art taken from antique books and available in the public domain. Masterpiece Designs has a wealth of inexpensive imagery and is where I found the beautiful antique frames. They were perfect for holding Shakespearean quotes!
My brother and I had such a good time in the kitchen together preparing the appetizers…apricot brie puffs, spinach and feta purses, herb crusted pork loin rolls, black bean cakes with spicy sweet potato sauce and cilantro cream, honey minted fruit and marinated cheese. In the spirit of being a good southern hostess, I’ll be sharing the recipes for everything in posts to follow.
We mixed up a signature drink for the night – Love Potion No. 9, otherwise known as a white russian (mom’s favorite). We’re happy to report Puck’s potion only turned one of our guests into a lovable donkey.
On the outside deck, fairy lights were strung on the arbors and trees for atmosphere, and there were many candles flickering out in the gardens to make for a little fairy magic. There was liberal sprinkling of candles, votives and butterflies through the rooms inside where the party circulated. Fuscia paper lanterns and paper roses added pops of color.
A party can be thrown without a tissue pouf, but I don’t think I can ever give up the fun of the photo booth. The grandchildren, dressed as Puck and Titania, posed for the camera while the adults were able to play dress up for a moment.
As the guests left, we treated them to a few party favors. Again, one of mom’s favorites was selected to thank our guest for coming–chocolate covered oreos. There is a tutorial on how to make these little paper rose boxes here.
What we wanted to bring to our guests at mom’s birthday was a little feeling of magic, a little whimsy, and something the children attending the party would find some wonder in as well as the adults. The Midsummer’s Night Dream underlying theme and deeper color hues made using fairies for an adult party work, and made the party planning a little more fun.
Thank you to SandS Photography out of Hampton, Virginia for the party pictures.