Well, if it’s even possible, I loved Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding even more than I thought I would. I woke up at 4 a.m. ET because I was not as ready as I wanted to be at the end of Friday. Let me tell you, I needed every one of those four hours before the party started — and my girlfriends still had to help me get food on the table. Yes, friends: it happens to ALL of us!
Sometimes my plans exceed my grasp. I never did manage to design and print my buffet labels and a few signs — or bingo! I’m a little sad about the bingo. But I don’t think anyone missed them. Here’s a secret: if you don’t tell your guests that you haven’t finished something, they will never know. And if you’ve invited the right folks, you’ll have a fun party no matter what.
Guests arrived at 8 a.m. and we backed up our recording to about 6:15 a.m. so we could see Harry’s arrival. If you are not a talker, you would not have enjoyed our gathering! We were full of royal “knowledge” — you know, via People magazine. We had more fun admiring little Prince George, Meghan’s dress (I was a big fan), and how happy Harry and Meghan both looked. I also loved Prince Charles taking Meghan’s mom’s arm.
Personally, I feel like I totally missed the mark by not having a gospel choir sing at my wedding and by not asking Presiding Bishop Curry to preach. I want a do-over.
Oh — and did you see the bridesmaid grab the bouquet from another bridesmaid during the recessional? I want to know what 6-year-old-ish drama was behind that moment! It was totally the kind of thing my girls would do.
Our tweens and teens were less interested in the arrivals than the moms were, but the girls were all about fascinator-making. I pulled out my left-over tulle and silk flower heads, picked up some barrettes at the dollar store, and gave the girls a glue gun. They made their own fascinators and then made more for the moms.
I did most of my decorating in the dining room. I made white buntings out of cardstock and strung them from the curtain rod to the chandelier and then to the opposite corners of the room. The thing I liked about the plain white bunting (aside from the Downton Abbey inspiration) is that it dressed up my house without clashing with my regular décor.
From the chandelier, I hung a felt ball garland with red, white and blue felt balls. (Here’s how to make your own.)
I set our dining room table with a white table cloth and made a table runner out of two Union Jack tea towels. For serving pieces, I pulled out my silver, milk glass and crystal. The champagne flutes are actually plastic from Party City. They had a nice weight to them and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality.
Our Royal Wedding Viewing Party Menu
I know it may be a while before there’s another royal wedding, but this menu worked out really well for us. I’d use it again in a heartbeat for another brunch.
- Cranberry Orange Scones – My favorite scones recipes are from Simply Scones.
- Blueberry Scones – My girls called these “fancy muffins.”
- Lemon Curd
- Strawberry Heart Pastries – These took a little time, but really weren’t hard. We prepped the strawberries and cream cheese mix the night before.
- Ham, Cheese and Green Onion Omelet – I’ve also made this recipe with green bell peppers and onions, but for this event, I kept it simple since we were feeding kids.
- Brown Sugar Bacon – I will definitely make these again.
- Citrus Salad with Honey & Mint – This was so good and so easy. You can prep the citrus the night before.
- Mixed Berries
- Hash Brown Cups
- Lemon-Blackberry Cake by Smallcakes Woodstock – This was as close as I could get to lemon and elderberry and it was delicious.
- Retro TV Cookies by Guilty Confections
- Wedding Dress Cookies by Guilty Confections
- Union Jack Cookies by Guilty Confections
- Shortbread Cookies
- Red, Silver and Blue Hershey Kisses
- Mimosas with Orange Juice and Grapefruit Juice
- Iced Mocha Coffee
So… What Could I Have Done Differently?
I really want you to understand that I don’t throw perfect parties. Not everything goes as planned. That’s how it was for our Royal Wedding Viewing Party: no printables, no cute signs about your picking your “royal” name, and no bingo. But we still had good food and a fun time and cute décor.
However, what I always tell you is true: do a little bit every day, and you’ll be ready on party day. This time, I did not do a little bit every day – for good reason, but it left me working awfully hard on Friday and really early on Saturday morning to be ready. I made it just in the nick of time with guests helping. I really don’t want my guests to have to start working when they arrive to my parties!
This morning would have been easier if I’d only had to finish prepping and baking and plating food. If you want party day to be easier, complete your foundational tasks the day before, otherwise, finishing your set up is harder. But instead, I still needed to arrange flowers. I had to hang our party backdrop (yikes!). And I still had to get my luncheon plates and cups out of storage (double yikes!). Thank goodness Baby B was enthused about getting up early and helping bake. That let me take care of the other stuff.
What I Did Right
You’ve probably heard me quote FlyLady before: “You can’t organize clutter.” For the past month or so, I’ve been tackling cabinets, drawers and countertops, decluttering so I’d have better storage options for the things I’m keeping. It’s always easier to be party ready if your house is already clean and clutter-free. We’re not clutter-free (because: teenagers and a party business). It’s really an on-going battle, but I tell myself that at least I’m fighting the battle!
For the past week, the girls have been helping me tackle a few cleaning chores each day. We focused on the party floor of our house, so that the day before our party I could spend time on decorating and baking instead of cleaning.
I bought our party cake. I made everything else, and it is – frankly – hard to make all your party food and do everything else. Smallcakes can make and decorate a better cake than I can, and since I was short on time, it just made sense to outsource that task (within my budget).
First thing this morning, I got myself ready. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you’ll work up until party time, and be left without time to get party-ready.
While I accepted all offers of help this morning, I didn’t make a big deal out of what wasn’t done or apologize that things weren’t perfect. If you want your guests to relax and have a good time, you have to relax and have a good time.
When my friend Elizabeth offered to stay and help clean up, I said yes. If the offer is sincere, always say yes.
I hope my “rights and wrongs” help you plan your next party! If you want more advice like this, think about enrolling in The Party Course. I’ll help you plan your next event!
- Party Styling and Backdrop Printable: The Party Teacher
- Backdrop Printing: Driftwood Printing
- Lemon Cake: Smallcakes Woodstock
- Cookies: Guilty Confections
- Harry and Meghan Peg People: Texas Pegs