Entertaining

Engagement Party

5/15/2018 09:22:00 PM

The cake table

So, Sandra and I got engaged and we had a little party to celebrate! We wanted to do something relaxed and intimate, and after much discussion on different party options, we decided on an afternoon tea party at my parents' house, with scones and champagne for twenty-four of our closest friends and family. Once we decided on the format of the party, the actual planning and preparation was reasonably simple.

Champagne, S&S, Heart Balloons

A couple of months in advance, we made a guest list, designed and ordered invitations online on Zazzle, and mailed them out.

In the weeks leading up to the party, I made an "Engagement Party" music playlist on Apple Music so that we could play sweet tunes. (We got an Apple music subscription recently and it's the best thing ever!)

Early on, we realised that doing the catering ourselves would be Too Much Stress, so we ordered canapés and scones from Egg Unlimited and cake from our beloved Beatrix.

The week before the party, we did a Spotlight run to buy decorations. Sandra also borrowed some solar powered fairy lights from a colleague, and printed out a bunch of photos of us to hang up in the garden.

We also bought the drinks the week before - a couple of cases of Mumm champagne, plus soft drinks. We also brought some assorted wines and mixers which we already had lying around the house - we seem to accumulate a lot of alcohol through dinner parties and the like.

Two nights before the party, we went to pick up last minute decorations from Spotlight - a helium tank and balloons, and did an initial clean-up of my parents' house.

The night before the party, we roped in our best men to pick up the glasses from Dan Murphy's, and to set up and decorate the house! (We have three best men - one is Sandra's, one is mine, and one is a joint best man). We also got some Chinese takeaway from Red Lantern to keep us going. I figure if people are taking time out to help you, the least you can do is feed them!

Chinese Takeout

And on the day itself, we went to get our hair done, then got dressed and did our make-up, and made our way to my parents' house! My parents were already there (obviously), and we asked our best men (and their best ladies) to arrive a bit early for moral support, and to help with blowing up the balloons, last-minute runs for ice, and so on. The canapés had been delivered in the morning, and Sandra's best man kindly picked up the cakes from Beatrix, so that made things easier. All we had to do was concentrate on the party!

Glasses!

Drinks

How adorable are the tiny bagels and sandwiches from Egg Unlimited? You may remember I received some as a sample late last year, and was so impressed with the quality of the food that I decided to use them for my engagement! (They bake their own tiny breads - too cute). 

Mini Bagels - smoked salmon, baby capers, cream cheese & dill
Mini Sandwiches - poached chicken, parsley & mayo

We did have a minor snafu with the delivery, and that was that they neglected to include the "environmentally friendly disposable plates, cutlery and napkins" that they had agreed to provide and that we were counting on. When we realised that they forgot to include these items, we tried to contact them, but there was literally no way to get a hold of them - the driver had already left, the office was closed on the weekend and couldn't accept calls, calls to the kitchen went unanswered, and private messages on social media were not (and still haven't been) responded to. Luckily, one of our best men volunteered to go buy some paper plates and plastic cutlery, so it was solved in the end. (Thank-you Surya!) 

However, it was a bit of a disappointing experience, as I'd purposely chosen Egg Unlimited as a low-stress and easy (and expensive!) option. Our problem was quite small, but if there had been a major problem with the order, I have no idea how we could have contacted them.

Funnily enough, a few weeks later I was at a training course who used Egg Unlimited as the caterer, and they also forgot to include cutlery and napkins in that delivery too. D'oh! I wouldn't recommend not using them, as the food is very good; just make sure your whole order is there before the driver leaves!

Ok, onto happier topics. Here are the rest of the canapés!

Mini Tarts - truffled mushroom, goats curd & lemon thyme
Mini Bagels - smoked salmon, baby capers, cream cheese & dill
Mini Fritters - beetroot, eggplant & quinoa crumb

We bought those jaunty little flags as part of our decoration haul at Spotlight, to make it easier for our GF guests!

Mini Soufflés - sweet corn, cheddar & chilli

Mini Rice Paper Rolls - apple & coriander

I'd also like to mention that our friend Jenni kindly agreed to take photos at the party for us. She's a journo and all-round professional laydee with great camera skills. We weren't asking for profesh level photos (and if you are, pay money and hire someone, dammit), but we figured that we'd be too busy running around all day to get photos with everyone, so thought that outsourcing would be a good move. I took like, zero photos at my dad's epic 70th birthday last year, which we foolhardily catered ourselves. And does anyone remember mum's gigantic birthday party in 2008? I made a damn croquembouche, and this was before the days of Masterchef.

Of course, the photos that Jenni took turned out stunning and we were extremely grateful! She mainly took photos of people, and the photos in this post are a mixture of my iPhone, some I managed to take on my SLR before people came, and of course some from Jenni.

Here's the cake table! From Beatrix, we got a red velvet cake and a passionfruit chiffon, plus a couple of gluten free brownies. (The rest of the sweets were aggressively gluten-filled, and everyone deserves a sweet treat). And of course there were the mountains of scones!

Cake table

I loved the idea of a cake buffet, on a totally Pinterest-able cake table with confetti, flowers, and the requisite "love" balloon! (By the way, two months on and that "love" balloon still hasn't deflated. They're currently decorating my living room).

Beatrix Red Velvet Cake, Egg Unlimited SCONES

As you can see from this post, one of our key goals was to try and keep the party as simple as possible, so that we could (try!) to spend time with our friends and not just run around organising everything. To save ourselves the effort of making tea and coffee for everyone, we'd set up a little hot drinks station for people to serve themselves, with a Nespresso machine and pods, kettle, tea bags, sugar, milk, cups and spoons. I forgot to take a photo of this, but it worked out really well - people love using Nespresso machines (don't forget to recycle the pods), and kept themselves nice and caffeinated throughout the afternoon. (My best man also made me a coffee late in the afternoon when I was flagging - thank-you Jimbo!)

As the sun set and people started to leave, we made our way out into the garden and sat amongst the awesome little wonderland that Sandra and the boys had created in the backyard.

Fairy lights

To sustain the hardcore group of friends who stayed late into the night, Sandra went and bought some takeaway from the local Persian place - chips, breads, dumplings, salad, curries, stews, meats, and more! Their food is delicious, and I really, really needed it.

Persian Food

It was just the perfect party. A really beautiful afternoon and evening spent with our oldest and closest friends, with lots of good food and delicious champagne. I couldn't have asked for anything better! Thanks so much to my parents for letting us take over your house, thank-you to Jenni for taking the photos, to our best men Surya, Jimbo and An for all their efforts. They really are the best! And of course, the biggest thank-you goes to Sandra for wanting to spend her life with me.

Sparkle sparkle

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8 comments

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I've followed your blog since you blogged all of Nigella Lawson's recipes --many many moons ago. Your blog was my introduction to Nigella and the blogging world, which I've so enjoyed over the years. Thank you and Congrats on your engagement. P.S. I love the little flags on the GF food--great idea and I'm going to start doing that! Kim

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  2. Congrats! It looks perfect, low stress and full of good food and better friends!

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  3. I love your blog sara!!really such beautiful dine with yummy food!! photography is absolutely eye tracking,Thank you.

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  4. Looks like a lovely day and the food looks amazing!

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  5. Aww so lovely! I love that pic of you all in your backyard with the lights and photos!! :D

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  6. Congratulations from a long time follower of both of your awesome journey. You have such a beautiful joie de vivre Sarah, keep it up!

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  7. Congratulations - what a beautiful looking engagement - the food and the aesthetics. The fairy lights and photos of you both are so clever and gorgeous!

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