I've always loved birthdays, but I haven't really had a party or celebration since I turned 18, so for my golden birthday I wanted to really do... something. One of the best things about living in the Shenandoah Valley is the abundance of vineyards and wineries. Lucky for me, my mom had "won" (i.e., was willing to pay the most for) a private tasting for 10 at King Family Vineyards from a silent auction.
My birthday was right in the middle of the boyfriend's exams, which was fine... whatever. On my actual birthday, we got take out, and he studied, and I ate a delicious veggie burger with pimento cheese and bacon onion jam. And yes, I get that the bacon contradicts the veggie burger, but they are just so good together. Besides, we already celebrated my birthday a few weeks earlier with a 10 course tasting menu at Uchi, so it really was fine.
On the Friday after my birthday, exams ended and my weekend golden celebration began.
I wouldn't call my self Type-A, but having ADHD means I have to be extremely organized and break projects down into small parts to get anything done. I can't just put 'clean living room' on my list, I need to break it down into 'pick up Dixie's toys', 'vacuum the carpet', 'tidy the coffee table', 'fold blankets', etc. My to do lists are always a little crazy long, but you get to cross so much more off and it's oh so satisfying. It also means that every last detail of this party was documented.
I'm going to start with the decorations because decorations are always the best part. Obviously, I went with a gold theme for my golden birthday and complimented it with hot hot pink and teal. Cheeky (sold at target) has a new collaboration with DESIGNLOVEFEST and it's amazing. It has the best paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery, and to go coffee cups. Virginia has pretty strict alcohol laws, and you are not supposed to have open containers in cars. Even cars with a hired driver. Combine that with the desperate need for coffee during a 9:30-4:30 wine outing, and the coffee cups were easily the best purchase I made. My other favorite decor were the giant "26" balloons. We could have gotten them filled with helium at the grocery store, but I forgot. Instead, my mom and I used paper straws to blow them up. It was a struggle. They suggest using a bike pump.
I didn't want to buy (okay, that's a lie I still want them... I couldn't justify buying) fancy weck juice jars that I would probably use once, so I used gold spray paint on plastic juice bottles. Did it look as nice as weck jars? Probably not. But I liked it. You can browse or buy all my decorations for the party through my Amazon Universal Wishlist here.
Now for food. Everything on the menu is so easy to make but will still impress your guests! The Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar takes a little set up, but even that is very low key. You can pick want toppings and mixers you want to use and make it as simple or extravegant as you want. I used Charleston Spicy Bloody Mary Mix and Old Bay Vodka for the Bloody Marys. The cheddar cheese cubes and jerky stocks were my favorite toppings. For the mimosas, I was surprised how good pink lemonade mimosas were! Pineapple juice is also great!
As for our picnic, the saffron-cardamom lemonade and baked Cuban sliders were the biggest crowd pleasers. They are so easy and addicting, I actually make batches of both on a regular basis. A good portion of both can be made ahead too!
You can download the full party menu and party prep checklist here:
...aaand here are all the recipes. The breakfast casserole has ways to go before I include it here, but I've included the recipe that I based mine on.
A tip for the cream cheese: if you don't like any of the herbs (I'm looking at you, parsley) and really like another (hellloooooo basil) don't be shy about messing with the proportions set in the recipe or leaving something out all together.
Oh, and I know there are unlimited buffalo chicken dip recipes on Pinterest, but when I make buffalo chicken dip, I just combine 1 jar of Robert Rothschild Farm's buffalo bleu cheese dip and 1 tub of Graul's chicken salad. There is zero clean up, and it's instantly delicious. What more can you ask for? I also use apple slices to use instead of chips for the dip (trust me, it's so good and totally work with crab dip too).
Final note on foood: most vineyards have charcuterie and cheese plates made-to-order, so I didn't include it on my menu even though cheese is a must.
Finally, my absolute favorite thing I purchased for my party was my fujifilm instant camera! It is so fun to use and the pictures turned out great!
Thanks for for reading about my party! Keep scrolling for more pictures of our fun at Pollack, Stinson, Kings Family Vineyards, and