The Southern Living Barn Bash
Our vision was for a spot that mingled rustic charm with modern elegance. A short drive northeast of our hometown of Birmingham led us to J&D Farms, which features a traditional Dutch-style barn tucked in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Strands of sparkling lights sweep across the 26-foot-high vaulted ceiling and crisscross through vintage chandeliers. Gold and ivory paper lanterns hang from the wooden beams.
Partygoers are seated around vintage barnwood farm tables that run the length of the space. Gold was the obvious color choice for our golden anniversary fete, and we paired it with blushing pink, creamy whites, and fresh greens. Opulent touches sprinkled along the tabletop include gold-banded bone china plates, gilded flatware, and jewel-tone votive.
Lush eucalyptus garlands—punctuated with ruffly hydrangeas, misty roses, dusty miller, dahlias, and snowberries—cascade down the centers of the tables to make a brilliant impact.
A Simple Birthday Cake
As we planned for dessert, sweet memories of generously frosted layer cakes from childhood birthdays or Grandmother's kitchen danced in our heads. Inspiration can come from anywhere, as long as the results taste delicious. Our most popular birthday cake recipe made the final party cut: six moist layers of vanilla-almond cake smothered in grand buttercream icing and embellished with glistening sugar sprinkles.
The Toasting Tower
Guests clinked Champagne flutes dusted with edible golden sugar flakes.
Signature Drink: The Golden Girl
Stir together 3 Tbsp. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, 2 Tbsp. mint simple syrup, and 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice; top with Champagne. Makes 1 serving.
The usual performance venue for New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band is not your typical concert hall. In the French Quarter, the 620-square-foot space holds about 100 listeners who squeeze onto wood benches or stand shoulder to shoulder in the back of the unair-conditioned room. If Nashville's Ryman Auditorium is the Mother Church of Country Music, then Preservation Hall is the Mother Church of Jazz. Founded 54 years ago, the band has a mission to preserve the traditional jazz of New Orleans.
Surprising touches that will delight your guests make your affair truly memorable. Birmingham artist Holly Hollon designed custom cocktail napkins, which were printed by foryourparty.com, depicting Southern states and their iconic symbols.
Send guests home with a souvenir that represents a slice of the South and gives them something they'll enjoy long after the party's over. We set out magnolia seedlings, bundled in burlap sacks, for guests to take home and plant.
This once-in-a-lifetime occasion called for a one-of-a-kind sign. These 6-foot-tall light-up numbers were custom-made (and personally delivered) by Sideshow Sign Co., based in Nashville. sideshowsignco.com
Guests feasted on an assortment of bite-size Southern classics that included mini tomato tarts, tiny biscuits with country ham and orange marmalade, and catfish poppers with pickled-okra-and-corn relish.