The French Garden Soiree

I was so excited when Mona approached me about helping her to design her Spring is Finally Here To Stay party!  However, after "interviewing" her for clues as to what she would like, I began to get a bit nervous. Her only response was "Do what you think- you know me and I am sure I'll love it." Gulp. Talk about pressure!

When I considered Mona, my observations were that she is a true Southern lady, she herself is gorgeous and she lives in an incredible home. She loves all things French, authentically quirky accessories and flowers. Since she was inviting her best girlfriends and their husbands, I decided that throwing a French garden soiree was the solution. And since Debra, from 5th and State, is helping Mona to revamp a few areas  of her garden, it will be looking great.

I began with collecting items and placing them on the inspiration board.  

Let's begin at the front, where Mona's guests will be entering. Previously I suggested her everyday container plants, but it seemed appropriate to change a few items for the party and enjoy them for the rest of the season.

We'll keep the two front urns planted as before, but the boxwood in the containers flanking the doors will be replanted elsewhere until fall and replaced with blooming, deep blue hydrangeas. Mona will purchase the hydrangeas now, while they are offered for Mother's Day, and place them in the containers for the party. When she is ready, the blooms can be cut off and used in a vase indoors; the now small plants can be planted right in the garden, where they will continue to grow in the coming years. (That is how we have collected most of our hydrangeas... and we have many at this point!)

Moving around to the back loggia and patio area, I suggest that Mona add a few gardenia plants, either as topiaries or in a bush form. Their scent will help to create a magical evening as guests catch it wafting by during a gentle breeze.

Her wisteria will hopefully remain in bloom for the big day. It is just so romantic!

Mona did tell me she intended to look around for a few table linens as she was tired of what she had. We found the perfect cloth over at Sharon's (My French Country Home) My French Country Brocante shop. Just look at this beautiful linen (on top)! The second linen is from Karin at the La Pouyette blog, also in France. This fine linen damask was sent to me as loose fabric and is being made into the linen size that Mona needs for her round table.

The napkins are from Garnier-Thiebaut and truly capture the colors of the party.

This photo set the tone for the party: a combination of collected treasures along the way. 

Since lighting is always the key to a great party, we decided to not only place votive candles everywhere, but also to hang them in the loggia. The candles will last 10 hours.

Mona had a dozen of these precious silver leaf votives, so we'll use these and intersperse them with a plainer silver leaf votive on all of the tables. At least eight per table will be necessary to create the sparkling candlelight. 

These candlesticks, found on her last trip abroad, will be given a place of honor on the food station table.

This collection of greens will be on the loggia's mantle. Be they greens from the florist or greens cut from the yard, they always look pretty massed together in a silver urn, or even just a terra cotta pot (lined with a garbage bag or foil to hold the water).

I decided to create the guest table centerpieces with this soft spring color palette.

Some of the flowers that we used are lavender lisianthus, periwinkle blue scabiosa and hydrangeas in soft pink and white. They were placed in old zinc containers and were kept low so Mona's guests could see across the table. Our rule of thumb is no taller than the height of your arm with your elbow on the table and your hand (shaped into a fist) up in the air. Any taller than this will interfere with the sight line.

The silverware is a collection of old family pieces.

 They can be set by the plates or casually grouped for the taking.

Petite vases of roses will be placed on the occasional tables, spread around the patio area for cocktails.

Mona did splurge on a fabulous vase of blue delphinium for the cocktail hour, to set on the bar.

This is how I envisioned her party at the end of the evening.

Good friends, good food, good wine.

A great party!

 And a great party indeed!  Wow!  A huge thanks to Ann.  You are sooooo talented. I don't know when I've enjoyed myself more. 

It's been quite a week...If this is your first time here please check out all the events leading up to this Soire...

First a complete re-do of my gardens by Debra with 5th and State here.  Next Marsha with Splenderosa dressed Sister and I for the party here.  And the Crescendo today with Ann from Plum Siena

No Sunday Supper this week.  I'll still be cleaning up from the party and re-hashing everything with good friends.

Speaking of good friends...did you enjoy the party?  It's your turn.  Let's talk!

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