We hosted a lovely garden party–Springtime Sips and Sweets–at Sarah’s house in Old Town, Alexandria to celebrate springtime with our girlfriends.
Here is the invitation we created using paperless post. We loved that it looked letterpressed and highly recommend using Paperless Post for invitations; they have the cutest designs!
We enlisted our party planning consultant, Pinterest, to begin collecting ideas for our party. (Side note, are you following us on Pinterest? Click here!). We knew we wanted to incorporate a wine theme with the obvious garden theme, and found this adorable inspiration: tulips in wine glasses! See below for our inspiration and result. We cut the tulips down to a shorter length than we bought them, and used pipe cleaners to hold the tulips together. Any twine or string would have worked well.
We also loved the idea of using corks as place card holders:
We used corks we had been collecting from previous sipping nights and cut small slits into them with a sharp knife. We bought inexpensive place cards at Michael’s craft store and voila!
Tip: We found synthetic corks and champagne corks were most durable!
Wine Cork Game
Another fun idea we found on Pinterest was a wine-inspired game. We wanted a good way for our guests to interact. We had our guests guess how many wine corks were in a vase. The winner won a wine bottle topper.
After dessert, we announced the winner of the cork game. Ellen won with a lucky guess of 35! There were 36 corks and we gained even more after the party we can use for future games and decor!
Sips, Savories, and Sweets Pairings
On to the “good stuff,” literally. We decided to choose a white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, and a red wine, Merlot, to pair with cheese and desserts, and a sparkling wine to pair with dessert only. To be honest, we googled around a bit to come up with our selections, choosing wines that pair well with a nice variety of items to please everyone. Sarah went to Trader Joe’s knowing the types of wines she was looking for, but relied on the descriptions of the wines to guide her selection.
The Sauvignon Blanc: Bogle, vibrant, lively, exotic flavors (yum!)
The Merlot: Red Diamond, like a diamond, it “goes with everything.”
The Sparkling: Michelle Brut, not too sweet or dry!
THE SAVORIES: Cheese!
We purchased the cheese at Trader Joes as well.
Tip: Trader Joes has incredibly priced, high quality cheeses. In some cases, the same size package was almost half as expensive as in a regular grocery store!
Smoked Gouda paired well with the Merlot.
Parmesan- Gouda was the crowd favorite and was delicious with the crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Brie was the second favorite. The creamy and slightly sweet brie paired with the dry Sauvignon Blanc.
Goat Cheese paired well with the Sauvignon Blanc.
Mild Cheddar went great with the Merlot.
Strawberries with Merlot Drizzle paired with Merlot or Brut
& DIY Dirt Cake paired with Brut
Ingredients for Strawberry Merlot Drizzle adapted from Yummly.
- 1/2 cup merlot
- 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsps honey
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups strawberries (sliced)
Homemade Whipped Cream
* heavy whipping cream: whip cream with mixer and add a dash of vanilla and sugar until smooth and creamy. Be careful to not over-whip!
- Bring merlot, lemon juice, and honey to a boil in a sauce pan over high heat.
- Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Drizzle over sliced berries.
- Top with whipped cream
DIY Dirt Cake adapted from Lorie’s Mississippi Kitchen.
We traveled back to our childhood when brainstorming garden themed dessert ideas like Dirt Cake! We have to credit Lindsay Christians’ friend with the wine pairing for this dessert, which we found here. Apparently a dry sparkling wine pairs perfectly with crunchy cookies and creamy filling, and we completely agree.
3 1/2 cups whole milk
2 small packages instant French vanilla pudding
1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (16-ounce) container non-dairy whipped topping
2 packages chocolate sandwich cookies
Assorted gummy worms
Whisk the milk and pudding together in a large bowl until smooth. Let stand five minutes. In another large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together with a hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add the pudding and beat until smooth. Fold in the non-dairy whipped topping.
Crush 1 package of cookies so that there are some fine crumbs, but also some larger pieces. There needs to be a variety. Crushing cookies is a great stress reliever!
We set up a DIY Station for our girlfriends to make their own dessert. We provided bowls of Oreos, Gluten-free Oreos, Pudding Mixture, and Gummy Worms. Our guests layered the pudding and oreos to their liking in small garden pots, purchased at Michaels, then topped with gummy worms! Delicious and adorable 🙂
We had a great time planning our first party and catching up with our girlfriends. We can’t wait to host again!
Happy Sipping and Sweet Making!!
xoxo, Colleen and Sarah