If you get a new client,
if you get up the nerve to ask someone out,
if you get the job, the house or the last cookie,
~ Jen Senario
My son and his girlfriend graduated from college this year.
The year of immense change, uncertainty and restrictions.
Graduation commencements were cancelled and restaurants, even outdoor dining was unavailable in our state at that time.
Although it was just our immediate family, we made the day feel like the biggest celebration ever!
I wanted the decor to be relaxed and fun with elements of inspiration, along with some childhood nostalgia that I so fondly remember.
To start, I chose a color, as well as a pattern scheme that would be light, airy and filled with botanicals.
And because this celebration was to honor both my son and his lovely girlfriend, I wanted to include both masculine and feminine elements.
With that in mind, black plates and charcoal gray linen napkins blended nicely with our beautiful floral (handmade) charger plates.
College graduations can feel, especially to us moms, like the emotional launching of our kids into adulthood.
And what better way to express some of that motherly advice and inspiration, then to sprinkle the event with famous quotes of wisdom and encouragement.
Okay, there might have been a few eye rolls, but I think it got the point across nicely.
Each place setting ( I'm guessing that they had to read this one ) was adorned with a beautiful quote from the book Charlotte's Web.
It's amazing how just one sentence can stop you in your tracts and make you think.
What a profound, beautiful thing.
With the right words, you can change the world
~ Charlotte's Web
Another inspirational quote by Ayn Rand, is personally one of my favorites.
It gives such inspiration and encouragement in just a few short lines.
This, along with the famous Desiderata poem by Max Ehrmann,
(poster size..so I am hoping that both posters were read) were placed at the cocktail bar and dessert table.
If they weren't read, at least they had to step around them to get a cocktail or a cookie right?
I started my life with the single absolute:
that the world was mine to shape
in the image of my highest values
and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or how hard the struggle
~ Ayn Rand
At least Maylee the yorkie noticed.
In order to achieve a relaxed outdoor dining feel, the table setting was kept quite simple.
Orchard baskets filled with live flowering plants, is a beautiful, uncomplicated way, not only to create center pieces for the day's event, but they will continue to provide enjoyment and beauty long after the day has ended.
I did say college graduation right?
Yes I did, so lets talk about cocktails!
When hosting a get together, the last place you'll want to be is behind a bar or a hot grill.
Simply stock your bar with the basics, along with various mixers to allow your guests (in this case family members) to help themselves to a cold beverage or to mix and shake their own favorite cocktail.
For those who like it sweet, some very tasty mixers were placed in amber apothecary bottles, then labeled.
Basics such as club soda, tonic, and sparkling water look much more "party worthy" in these beautiful glass bottles.
Inspirational quotes even found a home on top of the cocktail bar.
Who doesn't love Dr. Suess?
You're on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who'll decide where to go.
~ Dr. Suess
And of course no bar is complete without some great salty snacks!
When my kids were young, we would take a road trip every summer and our one go-to stop along the way, was the Cracker Barrel restaurant.
We loved stopping after a long drive and my kids loved the gift store.
It was filled with adorable vintage inspired, days gone by type toys and games.
Our all time favorite was the little triangle peg board game. It was always on the table, just waiting for the challenge to begin.
Another favorite was the adorable magnetic " Wooly Willy"
You know, the one with the little magic wand and hair shavings.
Whiskers and eyebrows for hours.
A few at home favorites were hangman and tic tac toe.
I don't think we ever waited for the school bus without playing a few rounds.
It was a lot of fun reliving a few of those wonderful, cherished moments during our celebration.
The game area felt carefree, inviting, playful and inspirational.
Here's to the crazy ones.
This had a special place at the game area
I simply adore this poem!
We see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Ready for dessert?
Easy make ahead, spoon worthy, red velvet cake... please.
Served in individual containers to make both guests and host very happy.
Another yummy, make ahead treat are cookies. Simply place in a bag or any small take out box and they are ready to go!
Nothing says outdoor summer party like S'mores and there is no better way to serve your guests these tasty treats, than in an adorable, single serving kit.
S'more sweet reasons to celebrate!