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Friday, February 15, 2013

Morrison's farwell party

While I am still in the February/Valentine's mood, I wanted to share one of my favorite parties that took place in the lovely month of February.
My Mother's best friend, Eloise, decided to sell her spacious, beautiful home in Orange County, California and move to an equally beautiful, yet smaller home in Hurricane, Utah.  It was very sad to see the Morrison's leave and my parents wanted to send them off with a farewell party.  They were a bit hesitant, however, to host a party. I am a firm believer that despite what some would-be-hosts think, everyone can host a party or gathering.  They did a great job and here were a few of the ways they personalize the event.  These little details made all the difference.

1. Announcing Your Entrance
There are lots of ways to announce your entrance.  You can use balloons or flags or any kind of decor. The entrance helps to set the mood.  For this party we asked the florist to create two heart-shaped wreathes full of fresh flowers.  I loved how they turned out.  This may be my favorite part of this party.  They were beautiful, festive, and unique.

The floral wreaths provided a great back drop for taking pictures of guests as they arrived.  After the party we gave the Morrison a copy of all the pictures.  It was a great memento of the event.  

2. Personalizing the Event
When the guests entered they saw a display featuring pictures of the Morrison's California home and also their new Utah home.  This was a little thing, but seeing their new home helped the guests get a sense of where the Morrisons would be in the future.  

3. Decorations
For the decorations we ordered some beautiful fresh flower arrangements, but we also wanted to add some color and create a festive environment.  We decided to fill the ceiling with balloons.  It took a lot of helium and were had sore fingers from tying balloons, but it created the desired effect.

On a side note, the next day the grandchildren had a blast playing in the balloons as they started to fall. Here is Nataleigh and Ethan enjoying the sea of balloons.

4. Something To Do
There is nothing more awkward than being at a party with nothing to do.  One would hope that guests would naturally talk and interact with each other, but it is a good idea to have something for guests to do.  Picture displays at weddings or a funerals help give the guests something to do or look at. For this event we created a note writing station where guests could write well wishes or advice for the Morrisons.  Prior to the event my Mom had asked people to write a letter to the Morrisons and include a family picture.   She put the notes and pictures together in a book which she gave it to the Morrisons that night.  We also added these "valentines" to the book.

5. Menu
We kept the menu very simple. We served sandwiches and pasta salad that we ordered from our favorite caterer. The cater also rented to us some of their serving dishes.  This worked out splendidly.  We choose not to have serving staff, which meant guests serve themselves and we had to replenish the food and clear the plates.  Serving the food this way save us a little money and also helped to keep the evening more casual.

6. Program/Entertainment
The purpose of the evening was to have guests interacted with each other and said farewell to Eloise and Dave.  We didn't need to do much else.  We did have a little program where Mom presented the Morrisons with the book of memories she collected.  Then Dad toasted the Morrisons and wished them well on their new adventures.

 6. Meaningful Party Favors 
 We wanted to give the guests a taste of Hurricane, Utah, so I called a shop in Hurricane that made jams and ordered an entire basket full.  We then attached the Morrison's forwarding address to the jams and handed them out as guests left. It took a little effort and some advance planning, but it was well worth it.  The guests loved having something from Hurricane and they also appreciated having the information they needed to keep in touch with the Morrisons.

For two hesitant hosts, they did a fabulous job.
We were grateful to be a part of the festivities.
It took a combined effort, and we all had a great time.
Craig, Brooke, Ashleigh, Jackie, Brianna, Megan, Mackenzie
February 2006

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