HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY
Today I’m going to tell you a love story. It’s the story of Carson and Anna, high school sweethearts that grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona.
After college their budding careers (his with Starwood Hotels, her’s with Lululemon) took them to Denver, Colorado. A while back I took you on a tour of their charming Denver Loft, remember? Click here to see it again.
Well today, just before Valentine’s Day, I’m inviting you to their stunningly beautiful and heartwarming engagement party. In doing so I’m going to show you how to host a magnificent engagement party, just in case you know someone getting engaged, perhaps even tomorrow? Not only will you see photos of the event, but at the conclusion of the post I’m sharing all the resources with links to where you can purchase all the charming party paraphernalia.
So, come on in to the beautiful Arcadia, Arizona home of my friend Jen. Not only does Jen throw great parties, she is also a celebrated interior designer with her business partner (my oldest and dearest friend) and mother of the bride, Lisa. Together these two extraordinarily talented women design beautiful homes. Their Scottsdale, Arizona design firm is called Shutters Home. So in this post not only will you get to see a beautiful party, you’ll get to see a beautiful home as well.
I helped Lisa and Jen get ready for the big event so I was able to shoot these photographs before the guests arrived.
Just inside the front door the credenza was covered with photos and mementos of Carson and Anna’s 10 year courtship.
Photos clipped to ribbon were hung from a frame…
while other photos were cleverly displayed in glass apothecary jars and under glass cloches.
On the opposite side of the foyer was this lovely vignette consisting of a guest book, photo taking props and a handsome chalkboard marking their upcoming wedding date.
In the living room gifts for the bridal party were on display, all designed to match the black and white decor of Jen’s beautiful home.
The mantle was decorated with the couples initials and a personalized heart bunting.
Stuffed white rabbits held helium balloons for the 2 flower girls, while hat boxes housed gifts for the bridesmaids.
A chair held gifts for the 2 junior bridesmaids, Jen’s twin daughters.
Opposite the living room lies the formal dining room where I helped ready the table for the catered dinner that would arrive later.
A sideboard in the dining room provided a convenient place for arriving guests to place their gifts.
Soon the family room would be the setting for a video presentation, but more on that later.
Roses adorned a family room table…
while white hydrangeas decorated the kitchen.
Just past the kitchen there is a circular shaped breakfast room where a round table, ingeniously draped in a painter’s cloth, served as the dessert table. Lisa, mother of the bride, readied the table and adorned it with more framed photos of the couple.
There were cookies, cupcakes and a cake, all beautifully crowned with glittery decorations.
As the sun began to set the guests started to arrive. That’s when my talented son Austin took over as photographer. The credit goes to him for the majority of these photos. I snapped this photo of him with our hostess, Jen.
Carson and Anna had asked the wedding party to arrive a bit early so that they could formally ask them to be in the wedding. We were honored and delighted that they asked my granddaughter Elle, …
along with the bride’s cousin, Izabelle, to be flower girls. The two girls were delighted with their balloons…
and stuffed rabbits, which kept them entertained for the rest of the evening.
Then the Junior Bridesmaids got to see what was inside their goodie bags.
Anna handed out the hat boxes to her bridesmaids…
with an especially large one going to the Maid of Honor, her cousin, Kelsey.
They were filled with a gold framed photo, a bottle of Prosecco with a personalized label, a beautiful wine stopper and a personal note to each girl.
Finally it was time for Carson to address his groomsmen.
They were each presented with a wooden cigar box that contained a personalized bottle of whiskey, a celebratory cigar and touching note.
Three generations of my family attended the party in honor of Anna, who is like a daughter to me. Here you see my father along with my son Nathan and his son Wills who flew in from Washington, DC to be here.
As the other guests began to arrive the party overflowed into the backyard where a DJ played…
and an outdoor fireplace was adorned with another fitting chalkboard message.
There were jars of s’mores fixins…
and a self serve bar with beer, wine and champagne. Wine stoppers spelled out LOVE and the couples initials, C & A.
Eventually Carson and Anna invited guests into the family room where a video was played.
Carson had proposed to Anna in Vancouver, Canada.
Anna was in Vancouver to run a marathon for Lululemon when Carson flew in unexpectedly to join her. He filmed himself on his Iphone making the journey from Denver to Scottsdale where he first asked Tony, Anna’s father, for her hand in marriage. He then flew on to San Francisco where he purchased Anna’s engagement ring at the same store where Tony had purchased Lisa’s ring 30 years earlier, all the while making a video of his adventures.
Later that day he had both a videographer and a photographer on hand to capture the proposal…
which he then edited into the touching video he shared at the party.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as everyone was captivated by the video, including Anna’s parents, Lisa and Tony.
It was such a wonderful party, one I will never forget.
So great to share in the joys of this special couple who are so much in love. They have shared a long past already, but I am sure for them, the best is yet to come.
Happy Valentine’s Day Carson & Anna.
Photography: By Austin Becker – He is available for hire in the Southern California area. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check him out on Instagram here.
Interior Design Services from Lisa & Jen of Shutters Home: ShuttersHome@me.com
Here is your shopping guide to all the things you need to host a wonderful engagement party.
Contents of Hat Boxes:
HAT BOXES – Hobby Lobby
GOLD FRAMES – Paper Source
NOTE CARD – Paper Source
CAPE JASMINE WINE BOTTLE STOPPER – From BHLDN here.
JUNIOR BRIDESMAID BAG – $10.00 from Etsy here.
WILL YOU BE MY FLOWER GIRL BALLOONS – From BHLDN here.
CIGAR BOXES – Michaels
WHITE HEART BUNTING ON FIREPLACE – From Etsy here.
CHAMPAGNE URNS – Home Goods
SILVER GLITTER CUPCAKE HEART PICKS & HEART CAKE BUNTING – From Etsy here.
GLITTER FLAG PICKS WITH INITIALS – Anthropology
PERSONALIZED SUGAR COOKIES – Barb’s Bakery
ALPHABET WINE STOPPERS – Pottery Barn
CATERER – Carolina’s Mexican Food
CHALKBOARDS – Made by painting old frames and inserting a chalkboard cut to fit. Lettering by Lisa
So there you have it: HOW TO HOST A MAGNIFICENT ENGAGEMENT PARTY
Thanks for dropping in! Do please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.