In the third week of May we had the joy of working with Laura DeMaria to celebrate her Graduation. With a full time job and three grown children, Laura wanted a different kind of graduation party. In Laura’s own words, “When I contacted Jessica and Amy to help me with my graduation party, as a 50 year old graduate, I did not want the party to be just another turkey and ham sandwich party.”
Laura knew that she wanted to have the celebration in her back yard, and that she wanted to incorporate the fresh peonies that were set to bloom around the time of her party. The first thing we did was head over to her house to look at what the backyard had to offer. This is what we found…
Their yard was a beautiful canvas to work with. Green grass, charming old trees, and a beautiful patio. You could tell they had put a lot of work into making their yard a great space. It was large and open, though, so we really wanted to find a way to create a few focal points where people could gather, but to still create a flow so that people would get a chance to mingle. Lighting was also really important since the party would be at dusk and we really wanted to create an ambiance reminiscent of a southern garden party. We turned to Martha Stewart for inspiration, as seen below. We have seen these images floating around, and jumped at the chance to recreate this look on a budget.
Photos courtesy Martha Stewart Weddings
We decided to draw attention to the food table with hanging vases and jars filled with candles. The cupcake table on the patio would be another one of the focal points. The DeMarias were working on a limited budget, so we knew that we couldn’t use expensive glass vases or hurricane vases to hang from the trees. Instead, we set about collecting various vases and mason jars from garage sales, thrift stores, and borrowing from friends like Bridget Kelly from Ornamental Petal. With a total of about 70 jars, we set about our project! We used thin green wire to create the hanger for the jar. Laura wanted to add split peas in green and yellow to the bottoms of the jars and vases for color, which looked so charming!
Next we got to work stringing various vases up in the trees with twine.
Then we set up the rented tables and linens and used the beautiful peonies from the DeMaria’s own yard to create centerpieces that incorporated the split peas, candles, and garden party theme.
About a half hour before the party I got back on the ladder to light all the candles in the trees as well as all the candles in the centerpieces.
Laura and her family cooked all the food and baked cupcakes themselves, and it looked absolutely delicious!
We used galvanized tin tubs for the drinks, and green and pink tulle to tie the bottle openers to the tubs.
The best part about the event design and decorations – the decor supplies only cost a total of $50. Amy and I had an absolute blast helping Laura celebrate a real accomplishment! The DeMarias are a wonderful family who are obviously talented in the kitchen. Thanks for letting us be a part of your day! The candles looked absolutely amazing once the sun set. Unfortunately for us, I am not a professional photographer, and the DeMarias just had friends and family take pictures, so the true beauty of the candles floating above the table at night doesn’t properly translate. The flickering candles hanging over the food-laden table really made the party special. As the night wore on and guests departed, only close family and friends were left. They all sat around a table telling stories and watching the candles flick off one by one. For more images and to hear more from Laura about her party, have a look at our photo gallery. This event really illustrates how invaluable having a planning team on your side can be, and how affordable. You don’t need a big budget to get your money’s worth out of working with an event design and planning group.