Monday, December 14, 2009

Martinis and Marriages

This last weekend was a bit of a wonderful whirlwind. One of my favorite people, the lovely Tara, is getting married to Mike the day after Christmas on a tropical beach, and because we will not be able to attend, and yet certainly wanted to be able to celebrate with them, Kristen (another of my top ten favorite people) and I decided to throw a little engagement party for the happy couple.

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party
 The happy couple!

Now I love throwing parties. I love the planning, the anticipation, the prep work, the invitation choices, the menu selection, choosing the music, pulling together guest lists etc. I love being a hostess and anticipating our guests' needs and maybe this is stereotypically female, but I don't care. More than anything I want to make sure that everyone's having a good time, well fed, properly hydrated and laughing.  But I don't have a big house. So throwing a cocktail party for 30 some people is not a strategic possibility in our modest ranch. But Kristen has the perfect, well decorated, open floor plan multi-level party house, and so the planning began!

Invites were crafted, menus debated (yes, deviled eggs made the cut), houses cleaned, trim painted, decorations adorned, and suddenly it was the Friday before Party Night!  Joe and I hit Costco and the grocery store for supplies and then the cooking commenced. Since Kristen and Sean were handling all the venue prep and Sean made his famous Buffalo Chicken Dip (spicy cheesy heaven) and brown sugar bacon wrapped smokies (sweet evil meat on a toothpick), Joe and I took on what really turned out to be a CRV full of food and drink and dishes and martini glasses and cupcake towers and at least 60 festive napkins. Though certain husbands held some unfounded fears that 60 might not be enough.

Either way, Friday night began the frenzied cooking! We chopped fresh herbs, roasted spicy rosemary cashews, we sliced crostini, we deviled two dozen eggs, we rolled logs of goat cheese in paprika and dill (which I thought Kristen was going to pull up a chair next to and eat by herself), we whipped up Paula Dean's red velvet cupcakes and iced them with cream cheese frosting.

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party
The Makings of Cream Cheese Frosting

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party

We shook and chilled pomegranate blueberry martinis and we had such a blast doing it. And with very little marital strife, and with some fabulous team work, we all kicked it out! My one brief moment of ridiculous stress related nonsense was my sense of jealously that the cupcakes that Joe iced looked better than mine. Seriously, I was jealous of Joe's piping skills. Ridiculous.

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party

But with all the prep and cleaning and anticipation and cooking completed, the party itself was a delight! A wonderful gathering of Tara and Mike's friends and family. Warm and fascinating, funny and kind, a great collection of teacher friends, college roommates, old high school friends, parents, book club friends, siblings, and cousins, and truly a statement about how special Tara and Mike really are. We talked and snacked and drank until midnight celebrating the happy couple. Drinking a chilled martini, popping one of Kristen's rich peanut butter balls in my mouth, chatting with new friends, and celebrating Tara and Mike blending their lives together!

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party
Tara and Mike's Engagement Party

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party

Tara and Mike's Engagement Party


bethany actually said...

Looks like it was a fantastic party, which surprises me not at all. :-) Also, were you really that shocked at Joe's mad piping skillz? He is unnaturally talented at so many things.

Bravely Obey said...

Not shocked, just jealous that he can do something like that for the first time and be so good at it. I need some more practice.

DanaCK said...

How wonderful! It makes me wish so much that I could come back for a visit. Everyone looked wonderful, especially the bride-to-be. <3

Katrina said...

Looks like an awesome party!!

Sherry said...

Great pictures - the food looks delicious!

Kristendom said...

Well, really, the goat cheese was absolutely divine - and you know that means it was good since I tend not to use the word "divine" pretty much ever.
And it was a blast hosting with you all. Plus, we're still enjoying our (mostly) clean house!