This post has been pulling on my heart strings for the past week. I will admit there were tears, and definitely deep gratitude to our amazing friends and family. Five years ago we made a promise, during one of the hardest times of our lives, to pay it forward. We didn’t know how we would do it, but we just would.
Four months ago I reminded the hubs of our “karmic” promise of paying it forward and asked him what we should do? Surprisingly my very private, anti-party, husband came up with the idea of hosting a charity dinner…[Gasp] Did the world just turn upside down?!...Not really, he called my love for party planning, my “evil super power“, and that it should be used for good deeds.
Challenge accepted! 😉
Hence our Mad Men Charity Dinner came to be!
We used our “secret” five year wedding anniversary as an excuse to party.
As “gifts” we asked friends and family to donate to two of our favorite charities: The Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the SAMFund. Most are familiar with LLS, but very few know of the SAMFund, it’s one of the very few direct grant charities for cancer patients/survivors; financially assisting those with medical debt, medication expenses, utilities, etc. (Because getting to “cancer free”, isn’t free.)
This is where our friends and family were amazing (and I tear up)…Just from our little “shindig” and, those who couldn’t attend, we raised $3000.00 of direct and indirect donations! (The post office clerk thought I was probably insane when I mailed all the checks this week…Mascara running down my cheeks and “ugly crying” from tears of gratitude)
Now let me stop with the mushy stuff (or the water works will start all over again) and let’s get on to the fun party details, Mad Men decor and a little harmless “debauchery”, circa 1960s…
Thrift store entrance signs and gold flamingos on the lawn. A “must” for any Mad Men party (found pink flamingos at Ross and spray painted all of them with Rustoleums gold metallic paint)
First off, to those following our little blog, know I’m a Midcentury addict and lover of vinyl records. Any excuse to bring out my collection of vintage serving and barware, or play some records is my “bag” baby😉
We offered a sparkling gin punch, all the fixings for Manhattans, Mai Tais, Martinis and Lemon drops. Tony Bennett, and Brazil 66 played in the background.
Beer, wine, sparkling apple cider, coke in bottles, and water were all outside. To keep tummies from rumbling we filled two large jars full of peanuts and Chex mix. Our guests could fill paper trays and serve themselves snacks.
Decorating was sooo much fun! I found tons of vintage ads, put them in dollar store frames and displayed them around each table. I scored a 1960s Betty Crocker “Dinner for Two” cookbook at a garage sale, for our guests to sign.
As a way to say thank you to our guests we had a raffle drawing. For every dollar donated guests received a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes. Also everyone received “gag” thank you gifts/party favors ~Hangover Kits (we’ll have the free printables and details for the kits next blog post)
“Dinner” started as heavy on the appetizers; cheese plate, dips, and small bites. We were sure to stay true to the era and included, Swedish meatballs, a molded dip, relish trays, stuffed celery with pimentos, deviled eggs, rolled salami bites, Hawaiian rolls, ham, wedge salads, etc. By 9pm as our family tradition, we had pizzas delivered to help absorb the alcohol😉
Dessert was cupcakes I decorated with gummies rolled and skewered into “martini olives” and bubble gum cigarettes “stubbed out” with chocolate sprinkles
We offered bubble gum cigarettes displayed throughout the house, along with my collection of vintage books, magazines and vinyl records.
I resurrected a 1960s Polaroid land camera. We found film and I was able to snap a few photos before the sun went down.
Little brother hamming it up for the camera “Don Draper” style 😉
The party was mainly outside, (and where most of the fun happened). Thank goodness for perfect weather, since our little house was at max capacity. However we tried not to disappoint by decorating the backyard.
My friend who owns a thrift store lent us some vintage lamps which we used for accents and just to add ambience.
We created centerpieces from thrift store cocktail shakers, and green mums.
Now onto my favorite part…Our guests! One of my best friends has the most darling Etsy shop Lenore Loves where she sells hand made party and event items. She loaned us some fabulous photo booth props for the event and the swanky pictures speak for themselves!
Oh and the pics get even better…We have the most glamorous friends and family…
Seriously this is one of my favorite pictures of the night…
We are so, so, so thankful to our guests and all the generous giving! We hoped to provide them one outstanding party and a little inspiration to others. Maybe host your own charity event and “Party” Forward for a good cause?
When our houses are small or maybe not fully renovated, we are sometimes intimidated to host parties. Yet with a little kitsch, a whole lot of inspiration and good guests your party is bound to be a success! Happy Sunday everyone!