[Snapshots from the dessert area, which greeted our guests, complete with snow cone machine.]
My husband graduated (with a 4.0 GPA!) with his master’s degree in education last weekend, and I hosted a backyard bash to celebrate my smarty pants. (In case you’re wondering: Yes, I am totally hot for teacher.) But enough gushing about newlywed bliss. Let’s move straight to the goods: party styling. Given that my hubby will soon inhabit a classroom of his very own, I went for a laid back, backyard picnic vibe infused with some good old vintage schoolhouse charm.
[Our "help yourself" dinner area and galvanized bin BYOB-storing station.]
The resulting look, as you can see, was all about black-and-white gingham tablecloths on worn wood tables and vignettes adorned with stacks of vintage books, globes, chalkboards and plenty of amber bottles filled with peonies, tulips and the most fragrant freesia of all time. (Thanks to my bestie Anna for buying and arranging the flowers. Aren’t girlfriends who double as party-planning worker bees the greatest?)
Our guests (who numbered less than 20, which is best in my book) noshed on hamburgers and hotdogs from the grill, a few salads with fresh herbs and more traditional picnic goodies. While our boozy skipper punch definitely saw its fair share of guzzling, the water infused with lemon verbena from my herb garden was the surprise hit. Though I think anything tastes better out of a mason jar. And the snow cones…oh, the snow cones! That shaved ice maker was an impulse purchase after a few too many drinks at our favorite Mexican restaurant, but the 80-degree day definitely called for a sweeter-than-sweet icy treat. (Look at those snow cone flavors. Definitely not colors found in nature!)
[A few details to distract from our yard's (many) shortcomings. That wooden crate with our initials written in chalk has miraculously not smudged since our wedding.]
All in all, the party was a success. The guys smoked pipes. The dog ate potato chips. And I pretended that I wasn’t sweating in my favorite new graphic black-and-white shift dress. I’m so glad to share these photos–not only to provide a little DIY vintage fete inspiration–but also to show that even backyards that aren’t worthy of a spread in Better Homes and Gardens can have their moment in the sun.
Let’s be honest: Our yard makes my 84-year-old neighborhood cringe. The grass is plagued by mysterious dead spots. Several bugs fell out of the trees onto my guests’ heads. And there is just no way to hide the compost bin. But so many guests pulled me aside to compliment our beautiful backyard. It just goes to show that you can’t underestimate the power of styling and romantic lighting. The string lights, the candles we placed inside hanging birdhouses and lanterns and, of course, the mosquito-fighting tiki torches, made our otherwise ho-hum yard kind of dreamy. Well, that and the strong vat of vodka-kissed punch.
As always, if you see something you like among the party decor, you can find it in the Stockroom Vintage inventory, which I admittedly raid on the regular for personal entertaining purposes. What’s the fun of having a vintage stockroom if you can’t shop the aisles every once in awhile?