A few years ago I helped my son’s school decorate a beautiful auction. When I was initially asked to participate, I immediately became a nervous wreck. Can I do this? Do I have time to dedicate myself to this project? Ultimately, I agreed, but not without much hesitation and doubt. Fortunately, as time went on, a magical thing happened… the auction planning experience actually changed my life. It boosted my self-esteem, challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, and created new relationships with people I truly adore.
When the auction was over, I was so proud of all I had accomplished. I was also amazed that I did something I was so scared to do. And believe it or not, although I thought I was going to be so relieved when the auction was over, instead… I was actually sad that I would no longer be part of such an amazing group of women.
So, as a last celebration, I decided to throw a “Pink & Green” party (inspired by my favorite designer, Lilly Pulitzer). The guest list were all the wonderful ladies who helped me with the various auction tasks. I asked everyone to wear something pink and/or green and decided to go with a “Perfect Pair” theme. The idea was to create a buffet which included unique food pairings so guests can taste test whatever they thought sounded interesting together.
I wanted guests to start experiencing the party as soon as they knocked on the front door. So I incorporated fun elements that reflected the Lilly Pulitzer brand, such as pink flamingoes, balloons, and fun quotes as soon as they stepped on my front porch before entering the house.
Once they started lunch and entered the buffet area, I created a fun palm tree silverware design to get their imagination rolling!
Step one was to create a beautiful buffet. I chose a round table so that people can easily walk around and take their time exploring the selection as well as the pairing opportunities. The centerpiece was a big ceramic white elephant with his trunk up… of course, symbolizing good luck and fortune. Lilly Pulitzer also loved elephants and incorporated them into her designs, so finding him at a local store was destiny! I perched him on an acrylic box and filled him up with green limes. I also incorporated Lilly Pulitzer fabric swatches all over the buffet. I purchased them on Ebay and mix and matched them throughout the decor.
Since I had many guests, I set up most of the rooms in the living area to accommodate guests while they were talking, sitting, and eating. I set up fun floral arrangements throughout the house where I thought guests would linger.
For drinks, I created an infused water area where people could choose the fruit infused water they liked best. I brought out my massive drink dispensers, which I purchased at SAMS many years ago, and they were large enough for all the guests. It was nice not have to worry about refilling the containers in the middle of the party.
One of my favorite areas was the Mimosa Bar which I created with a pink bar cart and dressed up with some of my blue and white pieces. I had orange juice and pink champagne as well as a bottle of fizzy Perrier for people who didn’t choose to drink an alcoholic beverage.
One of my favorite elements of the party is that the guests brought their favorite summer dishes and included recipes. So many delicious additions showed up on the buffet.
Last but not least, wonderful music played in the background as my husband played piano.