Inside the Ultimate Outdoor Party
Celebrity wedding planner Andrea Freeman shares her best tips for a beautiful soiree
Table for.... well, a lot.
Photos courtesy of Andrea Freeman Events
With the help of Andrea Freeman of Manhattan-based planning-and-production studio Andrea Freeman Events, a local couple recently hosted an outdoor fete to celebrate their friends, and boy, was this one soiree their guests would not soon forget. Here, in her own words, is how Andrea pulled it together.
No Theme Necessary
"This party did not have a theme, but was an elegant and eclectic upstate BBQ that was relaxing and yet lively. We wanted guests to feel as if they were sipping wine at a vineyard as ethereal music played in the background. The perfect place in the country for a group of friends from the city to meet, spend time, and kick off the summer together!"
The Planning Stages
"I pulled this party together in about one month's time. I would strongly advise against that if you're not a professional planner with a complete Rolodex of vendors. Generally speaking, summer is peak party season, so lining up service providers can't begin too early."
"Private-event parties tend to be heavy on the set-up, because you're building the environment from the ground up. I was onsite for a week prior to the party to coordinate rentals and deliveries. Tents, tables and chairs, china, lounge furniture, and restrooms were all brought in to provide comfort for those in attendance."
"I was going for a rustic-urban-chic, music-festival vibe. Free-spirited and eclectic lounge areas were set outside the tent. Long farm tables were adorned with floral arrangements in a white, yellow, and a lush green palette. We used green hydrangea, white open roses, yellow button mums, green dianthus, white lisianthus, silver thistle, white star of Bethlehem, and lots of greens (pennycress, lemon leaf, and spingeri). A cigar lounge under the tent was an alternative to tables. The idea was to create a variety of seating areas where people could enjoy a bite and conversation while lively music played."
Food and Drink
"When I initially met with the party host, one thing was clear: She wanted a really fun and relaxed family friendly shindig. So in an effort to keep things flexible and allow people to mix and mingle, explore the beautiful property, and enjoy a variety of activities with their kids, I designed a very free-flowing food and drink plan. First, with many guests traveling upstate from NYC, it was important to greet them warmly. As guests arrived, they were offered tray-passed cocktails, wine and cheese, and other small snacks. The kid’s activities area featured a fizzy juice bar to keep kids hydrated. Bites included fried green tomato with avocado hummus and micro cilantro, chili spiced Ahi tuna blocks, micro corn dogs, and Kimchi short rib spring rolls. Food stations as opposed to a plated meal allowed guests to grab food whenever they were ready (always a good option when there are kids at an event). Dinner stations included a slider station, chipotle chicken, short rib taco bar, and a grilled flatbread station. As a sweet treat, there was a build-your-own gelato sandwich bar complete with affogato sips.
One of Andrea’s Great Tips
"When I start planning a new event, I like to understand the mood/vibe and then go straight to work on the food. I think food sets the tone for a party. If you want something intimate for 20, maybe you do one long table and serve food family style. If you want something grand for 100, that's a very different meal. Decor and entertainment should support and enhance the mood to create events that are long remembered."
Important Vendors and Players:
Design/Planning/Production – Andrea Freeman and @afreemanevents
Photography – Cynthia at DelConte Photography and @delcontephotography
Flowers – Flower Barn
Catering – FCI Catering and @fcievents
Tent – Sperry Tents NJ
Music – Silver Arrow Band for Scratch Music
Vintage Furniture – Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals and @hvvintagerentals
Event Rentals – Party Rental Ltd. NY and Events Unlimited
Restrooms – Premier Executive Trailers
Valet – World Class Parking
See more of the event details in the Photo Gallery below.