So you want to throw a brunch that will blow your friends minds. Don’t know where to start? Well Hunkiedorie has you covered. I will be breaking down how I put together my #BEEuTEAfulBrunch benefiting Madi Apparel. For more details on Madi Apparel and why I wanted to raise money for their cause check out my earlier post.
Hunkiedorie’s keys to a successful brunch are very simple. Just follow these eight steps:
Pick A Date
Choose A Theme
Make Your Guest List
Plan The Menu
Set The Vibe
1. Pick a date:
Patio season is in full force and there is no better time to host an at home brunch than late spring. It hasn’t gotten too hot yet and you can really let your imagination run wild. Do everything on a larger scale now that you have the perfect weather and plenty of space to moves things outside.
Originally I wanted to host my event on Memorial Day weekend. A nice three-day weekend where my friends would have plenty of time to slow down and enjoy themselves. Clearly this was the wrong way to go. The weather is always iffy that time of year and it is the first big cabin weekend of the season. After many of my friends expressed their distress over the date I bumped it out one more weekend. The party was set for June 3rd. Still early enough that I could get away with a Mother’s Day/Spring theme.
2. Choose a theme:
I have been really drawn to pastel colors and floral china lately. Every trip to the Goodwill means a few more dainty dishes or vintage teacups. With a bee as my logo, why not go with a spring tea party theme?! I can incorporate my love of fuzzy little pollinators and floral prints into a shabby chic dining experience.
I wanted my friends to feel like they could spend the whole day together. To accomplish this I invited their children as well, this way no one would have to worry about sitters or rushing back to their babies.
By giving the brunch a Mother’s Day brunch type feel I could incorporate one of my favorite causes into the day seamlessly. Madi Apparel is a cause-based intimate apparel company that supports Domestic Violence Shelters, Disaster Relief Shelters and Hospital Rape Crisis Centers by donating new clean underwear to women in need.
3. Make your guest list:
Since this was a woman-focused event with a very girly theme I decided to keep my invite girls only. I reached out to the ladies from my North Crew and Monty Clan. Ladies and babies, perfect for a relaxing afternoon on the deck.
4. Plan the menu:
I’m essentially throwing a tea party. But we need a little bit more sass with the appearance of class. We will have brunch and try to incorporate a few tea party menu items in. Keep in mind any special dietary requirements. Two of my girlfriends were pregnant and one of them has celiac disease. My sister is a vegetarian and several girls don’t eat dairy. I tried to incorporate many items that could be multi-purpose. Many of the garnishes for the Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bars could be used in different ways with other aspects of the brunch, for example adding fruit to the yogurt and granola.
Bloody Mary Bar:
I’m not a Bloody Mary person, but I have always been fascinated with the concept. I have no interest in drinking them but all the snacks that go into them and the way people personalize them is something I have always wanted to take part in. When developing my Bloody Mary bar I went to the experts. My Monty Clan takes their bloodies seriously and I knew that they would be the perfect guides in making my set up a success.
What you need/What I used:
Mimosas aren’t always as fun as a Bloody Mary bar but I can’t imagine brunch without them. I’ll never forget when my friend Alex introduced me to them. One sip and there was no going back for me! When getting my Mimosa Bar planned out I tried to remember back to my experience to Hell’s Kitchen which has a killer Bloody/Mimosa Bar every weekend. The only problem was it was the day after Mike & Ashley’s wedding and everything that day was a struggle. (I also ran into my ex-boyfriend’s roommate which had me all sorts of flustered.) The key to making your mimosa bar fun is unexpected items, apart from the traditional fruit mix in some fun candies.
What you need/What I used:
I went Pinterest crazy and this portion of my brunch changed the most. I really had to reel myself in and keep things as simple as possible. Staging the table was a blast because I got another chance to really use my Goodwill crystal. I also decided the night before that I needed
5. Set the vibe:
I was able to reuse several pieces from last year’s Harvest Party such as my plates and harvest tables. My minion (aka Dad) used the light poles from the Harvest Party to string the pastel lanterns that I picked up at Party City the night before.
Mama Hunk and I had a blast shopping at the goodwill to find a variety of vintage teacups and matching saucers for each place setting and found some lacy pink chargers on sale at Michaels to finish the whole thing off. One of the best parts of our teacup designs was researching the history of each one of our Taylor & Kent, Lefton China or Limoge finds.
I struck gold when I found a shelf full of malt glasses that would be perfect for my Bloody Bar along with a handful of ornate crystal champagne flutes. I displayed all my glasses on the bakers’ rack that we keep on the deck as a plant stand. When I got my tables all filled with my goodies I was a little short on room.
I ended up incorporating a sofa table my grandpa made to hold the Cucumber Water and Iced Vanilla Mocha pitchers right next to my bakers’ rack, it worked perfectly.
I dressed up my harvest tables with some mirrored trays that I had at home and scattered candles, tea tins, bud vases and old teapots down the center of the table. I finished everything off with some gorgeous flower arrangements that Mama Hunk created in some pink mason jars she had in the craft drawer from a previous project. I must say I think the flowers were my favorite detail. The sunshine yellow roses in contrast with the creamy pink gerbera daisies made the whole arrangement so dreamy.
I used regular plastic folding tables to display my food. Using the old book and box trick under the table cloths to create height and dimension for all my pretty crystal.
Originally, I had envisioned making a spectacular AstroTurf background, where my friends could take pictures with their little ones. Maybe next year. The night before the party I decided to go a different route. My minion and I found a 4’x8’ piece of plywood in the clearance section of Menards. I painted it the perfect shade of pink and decorated it with some premade fan kits that were on sale at Michael’s. I used my Cricut to cut out my Blog header and voila I had the perfect backdrop for my buffet table!
The week leading up to the party I began to work on my music playlist. I feel that life should have a soundtrack and have music with me wherever I go. After searching through Pandora’s stations I found that there was a whole brunch section. I spent the week liking and disliking songs on their Sunday Funday Brunch Radio and felt confident that it would be the perfect background sound for the day.
The night after my encounter with Cassie that inspired this whole thing I created a Facebook event. It’s always a good idea to keep something like this on everyone’s radar. I ordered invites that I had designed on Vista Print. Unfortunately, due to a shipping error, they arrived too late. I relied on Facebook to keep everyone informed. I also sent out a confirmation text the week before to get a final headcount.
I took the day before the party to prepare as much of the food as possible. I learned after the Harvest Party, prepping is your friend (I lit the oven on fire and was still in my sweats when people showed up for my last party.). I can’t stress this enough, the less cooking you do the day of the better. I cleaned off the deck and got the tables and chairs set up the day before. I had the tables covered, the chairs were so easy to rent last time I didn’t worry about it. That was a mistake, its grad party season and no one had any available chairs. Luckily my mom was able to make a call to one of her girlfriends who just hosted a backyard wedding and was able to get some folding chairs together for me.
In today’s world if you didn’t post it to social media did it even happen? The original plan of the whole party was for Cassie to get some photography in. Of course, with a baby that wasn’t a guarantee. She wasn’t able to come early to take picture and help stage as we had planned. Luckily I am a pro when it comes to over documenting, I just wish I had better results (it’s a goal I am working towards). I had a hashtag created, again thanks to Mama Hunk’s brilliant mind. #BEEuTEAfulBrunch had been scattered throughout all my invites, Facebook Events and even on the Snapchat GeoFilter I created. I reminded all my friends to use the hashtag in any posts. When my friends began to arrive I also handed out my three cameras and told them to get to work and earn their drinks. Huge shout out to my friends! Lainie, Cassie, AP, Kelsey, Megan you guys were awesome!
Once you get your brunch going there will be no doubt that you are the hostess with the mostess. Don’t ruin a good thing by forgetting to circulate! This is the piece of the puzzle I struggle with the most. I always seem to sit down and act like this event is like any other outing with my friends. Later I realize I missed the chance to visit with many of them and regret it. I have always struggled socially and it is something I work on very hard. Although I have a very large friend group and am close with each member I always fall short when it comes to small talk. Another challenge in situations such as these is bringing multiple friend groups together. I was in luck, there is a simple solution to both problems. You know your friends, introduce them to each other pointing out similarities. I love to follow the Bridget Jones introductions etiquette. Always introduce people with thoughtful details. This gets the conversation going and allows you to jump in and out of different conversations and get everyone feeling comfortable. When you are a hosting any event you must remember to bounce around and show your appreciation to everyone who has shown up to celebrate and support you. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t sit and chat for a length of time. Just make sure that you get an opportunity to really speak with everyone and make them feel included and appreciated, after all, they have made time in their schedules for you make sure you make time for them.