We aren’t bragging or anything — well, I obviously am, although the rest of this group is much better behaved — but a group of friends and I have pretty much perfected party-hostessing. Seems as if every year one of our children is getting married or getting engaged or graduating or having a baby, and naturally each of these occasions calls for a celebration. We can plan a party at the drop of a (wide-brimmed, ribbon-decorated white straw) hat and check off half of our to-do lists before the men in our lives — who, even after all these years, still do not understand the difference between “tea” and “brunch” — can ask “Tell me again why you pay so much for flowers when the side of the road is full of them?” Take, for example, the bridal shower a few weeks ago that we hosted in an old bank in the once-thriving and now-quiet Sweetwater business district of Florence, Ala. Recently the space had been a restaurant and the owner now rents it for events. We originally thought “rustic,” “vintage” and “weathered” were appropriate decor themes to coordinate with the exposed brick walls, tin ceilings and original woodwork. However, a professional we consulted — we’re always up for a second opinion — suggested we go sleek, sophisticated and girly instead for a visually intriguing contrast. And she was correct. The light and airy silver “bamboo” chairs paired with snowy white linens and stunningly tall tropical-flower centerpieces were the perfect touches. Add a steady supply of mimosas, good times and good friends and you’ve got a party. I told you we are good!
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? I mean, you’ve got food & drink & cake & music & friends & mingling & can-you-believe-what-she’s-got-on all in one space — and when the bride and groom truly love each other and are looking forward to beginning a life together … well, that’s even better. Like a recent wedding Husband JP and I went to in Oxford, Mississippi — Ole Miss territory. It was sweet and simple and festive. Not over- or under-done. The young couple were joyously delighted to be getting married and sharing their day with their special people, and that spirit shone through every detail. At the ceremony — held in an Oxford church north of downtown — the bride was beautiful, the groom was adorably nervous and the church’s minister blended humor and faith with a dash of irreverence and a healthy respect for marriage that resulted in perfect officiating. Then came the mad dash and eternal quest for parking space in Oxford’s downtown square as folks drove back for the reception at the Oxford University Club. The gorgeous fall evening meant the party took full advantage of the club’s outstanding second-floor outdoor space for dancing, dining and drinking al fresco, while the inside dining room was just right for cozy meeting and greeting. Despite a minor mishap at the mashed-potato bar — who knew a pyramid of martini glasses could be so unstable? — it was a fun night and a lovely wedding and we were honored to be a part of it.