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October 19, 2011

The Best Party We Ever Threw (to Date)

Can I tell you about the best party we ever threw? No one got awesomely arrested or ended up fully clothed in the swimming pool (we don't have a swimming pool), and save for Wombat appearing pantsless at the top of the stairs in the middle of the festivities to announce he'd pooped in the little potty for the first time at home, it wasn't, like, Animal House or anything, it was just (in our humble opinion) a really great ADULT party, and by "adult" please don't think I meant there were strippers and/or swinging, not that there's anything wrong with that but it just didn't fit the theme we were going for.

The concept was an outdoor music salon--a mature, refined cultural event, or at least as close as you can get to that while serving $7 bottles of wine. The star of the show was our talented friend Mary, who performed a little mini concert on our deck stage with an amazing accompanist while the sun set. This was back in mid-August, when the garden was on the downslope but not yet entirely destitute (the squirrels had eaten all the corn cobs, but the stalks were still standing tall, for instance), so we invited folks over while there was still daylight, threw together some simple appetizers, strung some extra lanterns and party bulbs from the trees and between poles we'd built for our wedding garlands, arranged vignettes of mismatched chairs among the citrus trees and roses and ferns and ivies, filled the galvanized buckets with ice and drinks, and then, as night fell, lit the tiki torches.

As our parties go, this one came together so easily I had to apologize to Simon for having made him wait YEARS to finally see his vision come to fruition. I had my reasons--pregnant, baby, unemployed, etc.--but I was also totally taking advantage of those excuses when what I really wanted to avoid was months of stressing out borne of slaving away to get our yard and house in acceptable condition to host a lot of guests for something like this. (And I also knew I'd go overboard designing an invitation and a lighting scheme, and yup, I totally did. And those ended up being some of my favorite details.)

An major perk was that since we'd be sending people around the side of the house instead of through the interior, we finally had solid impetus to dismantel the junk heap that was our side yard, and let me tell you, as soon as the pile of mulch was disappeared from our driveway (THREE YEARS LATER) and the wood and carpet scraps were taken away by the fellows from bulk waste (FOUR YEEEEEEARS), I felt a whole lot better about the whole thing. It was also handy that we happen to own random things like nightclub lighting and a mixboard and a P.A. with giant speakers. And having a bunch of leftover wedding supplies made the whole thing ten times easier.

We had about a dozen RSVPs but ended up hosting at least twice that--old friends, neighborhood friends, internet friends, work friends, Daycare Lady and her daughter, and a pack of scary-looking broad-shouldered dudes that came out of nowhere and drank lots of beer. They turned out to be nephews of a friend of Mary's and said they loved nothing better than good live music.

And it was really, really good live music. Mary is a wonder woman (she's a pro chef! she's a pro wedding photographer! she's a solo artist! she's in several bands! she's a food blogger!) and the guy she played with, Charles, was a complete surprise and delight. (The surprise part went like this: "Welcome to my home! And you are...?") Between the two of them, they sang, played the piano, the guitar, and the soprano sax, and beatboxed with aplomb. Simon got to make a little announcement to start things off ("Welcome to the Agirlandaboy Family's first annual backyard salon"), and then everyone sat (and stood) and listened and drank and ate, and Simon and I basked in the middle of it all--lit by lanterns and tiki flames and wine and friendship--and high-fived because it was a bigger success than we could have imagined.

Here's video of one of the songs. I was blown away.

If you know a musician friend, you should totally host a backyard concert. And then invite ME!


That was an amazing party. Different, really suited both of you, and an amazing experience. DO THIS AGAIN. TELL ME WHEN. Because, yes, I will drive twelve hours round-trip to attend another one.

So lovely!

It was a great party! The best part, for me, was so many of my worlds coming together - high school friends, college friends (and ex boyfriends), internet friends, your friends. Plus, Mary is always awesome.

So, uh, thanks again for inviting us and taking a chance on my experimental blackberry chocolate cupcakes.

How funny -- I was JUST THINKING YESTERDAY about what a good party this was and trying to remember if you'd written about it yet! It was indeed a blast, and your garden looked so lovely.

Love these types of gatherings! We hosted a smaller one in our back yard this past weekend and while we had music, it was basically friends and family huddled around a table. We have those same globe lights as you, lighting the path to take around the house too. I think we need more now so we can make a stage area.

And the food we set out was not nearly as pretty as yours (we had an odd pairing of German fondue and Lumpia, but it worked). Informal, not overthought parties are the best...

This was sincerely the most DELIGHTFUL and ENCHANTING and FUN party all around. The foods! The AWESOME music! The perfect weather, your adorable kid and the raddest people. You win at parties.

I totally (wished I lived close enough to attend, and) want to do this for musician friends and everyone else in our backyard next year.

Can I come to your next one??? looks like fun!

Your yard looks amazing!

I have to know, what are those amazing looking asparagus tart type appetizers? Also, that picture of the adorable shoes on the stage is just gorgeous. For some reason, I keep scrolling back up to look at it! I could totally see that framed on a wall.

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