The word that best describes the night is magical, and it really, really was.
Last week, I turned 24, and to celebrate, I hosted a farm-to-table with a group of wonderful friends in my own backyard. It was the best birthday I’ve had in my adult life.
My roommate Elizabeth and I have been talking about hosting a farm-to-table dinner for weeks. To serve a meal sourced exclusively from local ingredients. And then when my birthday entered the horizon, we decided it was the perfect occasion to turn our idea into reality. With the tables I had purchased for the Woodlawn Street Market, we turned our backyard into the most magical place on earth.
We kept the decorations simple and embraced a mixed-matched theme. I had purchased the white tablecloths for the street market, and the burlap table runners came from my grandmother’s 80th birthday party. I have an assortment of cloth napkins that I had purchased from prop sales at work. And we used every chair in our house (plus a few from Elizabeth’s mom).
My dear friend Stephanie arranged the flowers using jars I had lying around the house. I love how elegant the simple arrangements look, using only sunflowers, spray roses and baby’s breath.
I don’t know what this says about Elizabeth and I, but we had to borrow plates, knives and chairs to accommodate 16 people, yet we had more than enough wine glasses. We set out drinks and appetizers for when people arrived, keeping the main courses inside to avoid bugs. I made a yummy white wine sangria, my friend Leah brought rum to make Dark ‘n’ Stormys, and (since my mother always say you should have a yummy, nonalcoholic option) I had lemonade and cucumber-lemon water. And then several people brought a bottle of wine.
As people arrived, we mingled on our back porch, and we have a nice stone patio at the base of the porch steps. To combat the bugs, we had tiki torches lit on the deck, and we set up a couple of these mosquito coils from Off. (We found ours at Target.) They worked great. Highly suggested.
The food – oh the food – was so crazy good! I prepared a bbq pork shoulder from Morning Song Farm in the slow cooker. Elizabeth made cheese grits with McEwen & Sons grits. We also enjoyed potato and green bean salad, yellow squash casserole, feta and artichoke tarts and so much more!
We ate, drank and talked for hours. It was spectacular. And then we ended the meal with a personal favorite: Edgar’s strawberry cake. Perfection! I couldn’t have asked for a better night with wonderful weather, delicious food and amazing friends. I vote this becomes an annual tradition.
A huge thank you to Stephanie for taking these pictures throughout the night!