Nothing beats the excitement of being newly engaged, and if you’re anything like me, you simply can’t take your eyes off that sparkle on your finger.

My fiance proposed to me a few months ago, during a trip to the Hunter Valley and to celebrate the special moment and share the news with our family we decided to throw an intimate engagement party in our backyard. We wanted it to be a small affair – just for the closest ones (around 20 people to be precise). And although it was a very intimate party, I’m positive our guests will remember it. Here’s how we pulled off our perfect engagement party.

The Day

We totally lucked out with the weather. I was checking the weather cast application on my phone every day for two weeks prior to the party and was having mini anxiety attacks every time there were scattered thunderstorms predictions for the big day. Luckily, the weather was on our side. Add great food, cocktails, family stories and laughter to that and the outcome – a perfect day. Everything was just like we have imagined it to be.

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The Seating

To accommodate our guests, we decided to buy instead of rent furniture. We figured it would be wiser to buy new outdoor dining furniture since it will come in useful for hosting birthdays and other family gatherings in the future. So, we did some mixing and matching. We used the outdoor chairs we ”inherited” from my parents and bought a timber outdoor dining furniture set – a dining table with two benches.

Featuring straight lines and simple patterns, the top of the table and top seats of benches are made from timber (a high-quality material) which are supported by a powder-coated galvanized steel frame. The benches are designed to easily slide under the table, making them convenient for casual use as well. We chose timber because, in addition to being durable and resistant to various weather elements, the natural wood grain was just the look we wanted for our engagement party.

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The Décor

Engagement without flowers is not an engagement. So, to bring blooms to the table I used empty glass bottles (old wine bottles and bought few new ones in a local craft shop) and filled each with a single purple peony stem (my favorite colour and flower). Low candle lights helped create a nice contrast to the floral centerpiece and for the festive feeling, we hung string globe lights on the cherry tree. For the dinnerware, we decided to go with white – simple yet elegant.

The Food

Before we decided on the food, my fiancee and I both agreed that me cooking was out of the question, especially because I already had a long list of things to do prior to the party. Plus, I wanted to enjoy my day. Traditional barbecue was also not an option. Finally, we decided to have our favourite Mediterranean-cuisine restaurant cater the event. The menu included lamb, chicken, beef, rice, grilled vegetables, fresh pita, sauces, lemonade, wine, beer, mixed drinks and homemade sangria I made using this recipe.

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The Cake

Mmmmm, the cake! Last year for my birthday, a friend of mine (who is actually a baker) made a cake for me and nobody knew it was dairy-free until I told them. So, we asked her to make the same cake again for the party and we couldn’t have been happier with how it all turned out. It was exactly as we’ve asked her to be – simple and delicious!