The summer festive season is one of my favourite times of the year for so many reasons!
1. Lots of family time is involved
2. I love making platters!
3. The weather is amazing and ideal for enjoying a glass of wine in the sun
4. It's the perfect excuse for throwing a ladies lunch!
So, two weeks ago, I joined forces with one of my closest girlfriends, Sara Crampton, to host a very intimate Penfolds picnic in the sun with our nearest and dearest in Manly, Sydney. Sara and I are both naturally very organised and absolutely LOVED getting prepped for this event. We came together to brainstorm the overarching theme for the event, wrote a very big list then divided the tasks between us. It was seamless and stress free - allowing us to feel present when it actually came time to guests arriving on the day.
Below are my first hand tips for throwing a ladies lunch this summer...
1. COMMIT TO A THEME + COLOUR PALETTE:
When you are planning a lunch (or any event in general) it's important to commit to a theme so that everyone involved has a clear idea of the outcome you are wanting. Sara and I are both very minimal and wanted the theme for our ladies lunch to be a Summer Picnic. Colour Palette wise, we wanted everything to be nice and neutral - white, cream, beige with a touch of greenery.
Below is our moodboard & HERE is our Pinterest Board
2. DATE + GUEST LIST:
Second on the list is writing your guest list and finalising a date for the lunch. Our Summer Picnic was nice and small with x8 guests in total. We also made sure we gave our guests a dress code - simply a Summer Picnic. Everyone came in fresh whites and neutrals which was perfect.
3. SECURE YOUR BUDGET
The next task (and one of the most important of course) is to secure your budget. Be realistic and work within your means. Sara and I created a Google Doc Spreadsheet that we could both access. We wrote a big list of everything we would need to (ideally) purchase and put an estimated cost next to each item. Some things were mandatory and some things were flexible (i.e we had to get creative and come up with a lower cost solution!). Some of the things on our list were the below:
Food: We did and overall estimate and decided to make all our own food rather than organise catering to save on costs. Plus I love making platters and Sara has some great salad recipes!
Drinks + Ice: Luckily Penfolds sponsored our beautiful lunch as Sara + I are ambassadors which was amazing. We chose a variety of white and red wines including my favourite Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay and a very special bottle of Grange. We stocked up on sparkling + still water too.
Foliage: Nice + simple and cost effective
Candles: Our choice was - LUMIRA
Rug + Cushions: For our guests to sit on and that fitted with our theme and colour palette.
Photographer + Videographer: So we could share all the fun with you!
Plates, Cutlery, and Glassware: We managed to utilise what we already owned and decided to buy the extras we didn't have rather than hire.
TIP: On your google doc spread sheet have an estimate column and an actual column for your budget so that you can keep track and see if you are above or below budget at any time.
4. WRITE A TASK OR TO-DO LIST
Utilising a new tab on your Google Doc Spreadsheet, create a task list. We split our task list up into weeks - 3 weeks to be exact. Each week had a list of tasks we needed to complete and other key deadline dates: e.g design invite artwork, send invites out, rsvp's due, write grocery list, organise candles, etc, etc.
The key to powering through your tasks is to divide and conquer the list with the others you are organising the lunch with. If however you are organising the lunch on your own - simply arrange your list in order of priorities, and give yourself ample time and a bit of buffer room if you can.
As Sara is based in Sydney, and I'm in NZ - Sara took control of everything that physically needed to be arranged or collected. For example - cushions, glassware, rugs, etc. I looked after things I could arrange via email or online - candles, the invite artwork (not much really!) :P
Throughout it all we made sure we had great communication skills and I ticked off each task that was completed by using a different colour as a key on our Google Doc.
5. A RUN SHEET
In order to have a stress free lunch - it's always helpful to create a run sheet, no matter how simple or complicated it is. Things can happen on the day of an event, and it can be easy to miss something. Write a run sheet and print it out, or pop it on your phone so that you can tick through everything methodically on the day, ensuring everything runs smoothly and seamlessly.
Our run sheet was very simple
7am: Meet at Sara's
7.30am: Grocery Shop
8.30am: Collect foliage and ice
9.00am: Arrive at the location
9.00 - 10.30am: Chill wine, prep food, and picnic area
10.00am: Photographer + Videographer arrives - prep her and show her the location
11.00am: Guests Arrive
2.30pm: Pack down
3.00pm: Leave location
5. ON FOR THE DAY (+ the night before)
Some other tips of mine for on the day are:
The To Do List: Have a detailed to do list of everything you need on the day prepped. For example: an exact grocery list, your printed run sheet, etc
Prep the night before: Pack anything you need to the night before - e.g salt, pepper, salad spoons etc.
Plan For The Unexpected - unfortunately I had an unforeseen An Organised Life emergency that I needed to deal with so Sara had to take on some of my tasks on the day - luckily we prioritised what was the most urgent and powered through what we could. Where possible overestimate timeframes rather than underestimate.
Be The Best Host: Look after your guests and stay ahead of the game - do they need a refreshment? do you need to whip up extra food? is your playlist correct for the vibe?
Clean As You Go: If you can, clean as you go when prepping for your event and when tidying up dishes, empty bottles etc, along the way. It doesn't make the pack down at the end so horrible!
Be Present: Once guests arrive, make sure you are present and try to enjoy the lunch