They come with cake and presents. They come dressed up with neckties, jackets and fedoras; vintage dresses, feather boas, and elegant heels. They come dressed down in jeans, t-shirts and cowboy boots. They come with all the wit, warmth, and charm of true Southern hospitality, that moveable, inexhaustible feast.
That’s an excerpt from this week’s New South Style post, my tribute to the Southern House Party. We recently threw one to celebrate Patrick’s 50th birthday, and I’m still basking in the afterglow, reluctant to take the last of the decorations down to make way for Halloween.
Patrick is allergic to theme parties, but I couldn’t resist giving people like me the option to dress and bring food with a wink to the year of his birth, 1963. A mid century party for a mid century milestone. Our guests rose to the occasion on both counts. The table was spread with a banquet split between delicious and kitschy, like Jiffy Pop popcorn served in the foil pans. The birthday cake, from my mother-in-law’s steno pad, was both, and I’ll post the complete recipe later this week.
Our party budget was itty bitty and there wasn’t a lot of spare time to prepare. Nobody likes to make fun of Pinterest more than me, but it really helps with inspiration for D-I-Y decor. (Tip: it helps to include the search words “easy,” “quick,” and “cheap.”) You can see my mid century party inspiration board here.
It’s tough to beat paper rosettes and poms for low cost, high impact accents.
It helped to have a treasure trove of Patrick’s baby mementos and childhood photos to display, including congratulatory notes from his birth, and the card that his Dad had to present at the nursery window to see the new baby.
The kids had a great time decorating a corner with old polaroids of their dad. It was important to me that they be involved in the celebration, and our guests were welcome to bring their kids too. One of my favorite things about the evening was how many teens and tweens we had in the house. I loved being in the middle of my parents’ house parties when I was that age. The next day, I overheard my teenager’s friend say, “Your parents sure know how to throw a party,” and I privately pumped my fist in victory.
The only thing I would have done differently is assigned photo duties to someone. I was too busy with hostessing to get all the shots I would have liked for keepsakes. We missed getting one of Patrick and I alone together (though I love this one with our friend Bridget, and I hope she doesn’t mind me posting it), or of us with all three kids. Fortunately, friends like Kerri were thoughtful enough to capture the cake lighting.
Fifty candles throw off a lot of heat, y’all.
If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll read more about our Southern House Party at New South Style. And never let details come between good friends and a good time. The point of a birthday party is to celebrate life and love. All the rest is icing.
Congratulations to Bethany Stephens, winner of the Patricia Nash bag provided by Country Outfitters, where my weekly column, New South Style, resides. The rest of you stay tuned, because there will be another fabulous Country Outfitter giveaway in October!