Favorite Fall Party - Girlfriends and Gratitude

During this month of gratitude, I thought I would share a fall party that I threw several years ago, and is perfect for fall entertaining. I threw a luncheon to thank a group of girlfriends for being so kind and welcoming after I had moved to a new city. But, you could also use some of these ideas for your Thanksgiving celebration. 

 
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The Inspiration

When I moved from New York to the South several years ago, I so fortunate to meet new friends who were so welcoming and gracious and simply lovely. At the time, I had a gorgeous backyard that could seat 20 of us for lunch and it was glorious in the fall. So, with my mind in a place of gratitude, I decided to thank these new (and old) friends. 

If you've read my post on planning any event, you will know that I ask several questions:
Why? Where? and Who? are the first three and the most basic.

Why - to say thank you and to give back to my friends.
Where - my backyard.
Who - new and old girlfriends in Atlanta. 

Then, the two most important questions:

How did I want them to feel?

Appreciated. Happy that they had made a difference in my life.

what would i want them to Say the next day?

"I laughed, relaxed, drank wine, made new friends and felt wonderful about myself and the day. It was all so beautiful and I felt so fortunate to be there and to be appreciated. This helped me start my weekend off with joy."

 

 

Once these questions were answered,
it was time to move on to the fun part! 

 
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The Style

  • French Countryside
  • Fall/Autumn
  • Elegant but relaxed
  • Tweeds
  • Plaids
  • Olives, brown, tangerine, burlap
  • Pumpkins, leaves, apples, etc.

Music - it was outdoors during the day, so music was tricky. I put together a playlist of mostly female singers - sexy yet light, and a bit of Michael Buble here and there.

Lighting - all natural! However, I did put candles on the table as I think a party needs candles no matter the time of day. 

Flowers - of course we had nature all around us. But, did you know that one of the definitions of "cotton" is "to understand" or "to stick together?" Since this was a party about friendship, I thought that was PERFECT. I used tall cotton sprays on the drinks table and put smaller cotton bolls on the take-away CDs.

Tablesetting - I covered the rough table with a heavy olive green tablecloth (which was actually two discontinued curtain panels I had found years ago and never used). Then, I made a runner out of chocolate brown burlap and put that down the center of the table. To provide a contrast to the rustic, I used formal Christian Dior china and sterling silver. 

Placecards - this was one of my favorite parts. When guests received the invitation (mailed), it asked that they RSVP to an email address and include their favorite quote about women and/or friendship/life. Those were printed and tied to little white pumpkins. Guests had to find their quote and everyone loved wandering about the table reading others.

Menu

Hors d'oeuvres were on the drinks table and scattered about and included cheeses, bread, olive oils, sausages, mustards and fruit. The lunch was served family style and was:

Organic Greens Salad with Green Beans and Green Onions

Poached Salmon

Sliced Beef

Sliced Roasted Chicken

Roasted Vegetables

Cranberries, Tangerines, Nuts and Cheeses on the Side

(all of the above were on the side for the salad)

Goat Cheese Tart with Tarragon

Slices of Apple with Drizzled dark Chocolate

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mini Muffins

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Hospitality shines the brightest when it is shared
— Kimberly Sundt
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The Giveaway

I made a CD of my favorite "I am Woman" type songs - all about friendship, support and fabulousness. (this was back in the day when CDs were still a common thing.) I think a CD would still work now, as most people will at least have a CD player in their car.

And that was it - a beautiful day filled with gratitude and friendship - and a RIDICULOUS amount of wine. Try and find someone to celebrate this month and make sure you remind them how grateful you are that they are in your life. 

If you have any questions about the details of this party, please just comment below. 

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