Sunday, September 15, 2013

Early Retirement Luncheon- Indoor Garden Tea Party

A very good friend asked me to help plan her early work retirement party in a garden tea setting in September.  Early Work Retirement - ahhh sounds like heaven!  There were several challenges that needed to be tackled first.

Challenge 1:  the weather is so unpredictable where she lives.  Doing the party outside while raining and/or foggy could dampen the celebration. 
Solution 1: We decided to do an indoor party and have the appetizer and initial socializing outside on the patio. So, even if it rains, we won't have to move things around in a frenzy.

Challenge 2:  Create a garden setting inside the house when the color scheme is very masculine and has a fish theme  (her husband collects anything with fish).
Solution 2: Create several fresh Floral Arrangements (flowers of her choosing) that fit the table's character; accenting it in the sweet hues of  blue and pink. 

Challenge 3Fit 40 people for a sit down luncheon in the main living room and still make it look cohesive.
Solution 3: Use round and rectangular tables to maximize the living space, make each table special by alternating the colors of blue and pink per table and accessorize with those colors.  

 As people are entering, there's a table by the entrance door that I filled with nic nacs with gardening books and tea sets to create the welcoming feel of an outdoor garden while they look over a compiled album of  co-workers and departments she's worked in.  Also, each guest receives an entrance ticket for door prizes.

For the entrance hall, I could not fit these long stemmed flowers on any of the round tables, so I decided to use her long narrow vase to highlight the height of these flowers.

The Social Order of the Day:
Appetizers, drinks and dancing in the patio while still waiting for the rest of the guests
 Luncheon: Tea sandwiches, smoked salmon, salads, fruits, desserts
Game 1:  Guess what's in her purse/shopping bag
 Game 2:   How well do you know the person?

Blue Table  1:
  Master Table - where the guest of honor is seated,  I accessorized it  mainly in blue  and created a floral arrangement combining all the flowers she bought.

Floral arrangement on the master table

 I made a card that had a poem about retirement (the card was later used for a game - we love to recycle!)   

The following Floral Arrangements are a little bit different since I only have a limited  flower selection that I could work with to create a custom design per table.
I created the flower arrangements based on the size of the tables so it wasn't  too overwhelming.

 Pink Table 1:  Rectangular Table
For this rectangular table, everything is pink  - even the flower arrangements.

a second flower arrangement almost mirroring the other on the same table

 Pink Table 2 - Round Table
Pink Table 3Transitional Table
 Where colors are starting to get mixed - there are a very slight blue highlights mixed in  (blue candlesticks, blue cards).

Blue and Pink Tables
These tables showcase the alternating colors of blue and pink.  The mixed floral arrangements dramatically highlight the combination of colors.

I clustered all the greenery in this room to make the room more like a greenhouse

These floral arrangements were later given as prizes. 

Luncheon Meals
Assorted tea sandwiches
Assorted fresh fruits (not pictured)
Smoked salmon
Honeyed Ham
Assorted bread and cheese (not pictured)
Assorted drinks (not pictured)
Assorted Teas (not pictured)

Dessert Table
Chocolate Cake
Red Velvet Cake
Carrot Cake
Assorted Tea Cookies
Rum Cake
Strawberry filled with cream cheese filling

To make this  wall (which is normally  decorated with a huge historical map) conform to the scheme color of the party, I covered it with a garden quilt that my husband's grandmother made.  Majority of the desserts were homemade.

I created a 3D effect of a ceramic watering can next to a quilted pot of flowers.  I also created the 3- tiered cake to symbolize a sprinkling of wishes to her old life  (chocolate cake) and more wishes to her new beginnings (white cake).

 Overall, given the floral arrangements and accessories ( highlighting the blues and pinks) had given my friend's house a magical transformation that she and her coworkers enjoyed!

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