Milestone birthdays, actually pretty much all birthdays, for us are usually celebrated with a family dinner, for husbands recent 65th we did two. A family and friend small party for thirteen at the ski house, and then a little more formal affair for eleven at the club. In real life I took an entire week for preparations, dark chicken stock and all. He’s our man of the hour, our man of the year, our man of the decade, our man for life.
For the ski house dinner, I prepped pretty much the entire meal city-side and then very carefully transported all by car. For the club dinner I called the day before for a reservation and then ran all over town securing props to make it special.
Home cooked meals you have complete control unless you have house wide gas leaks, which we did, and Niagara Mohawk shut it all down a half an hour before guests were due to arrive. A fast-hot shower, several phone calls to connected friends, a super nice company guy and a hero plumber and we were good to go. It did take several hours, and I did need to start reheating the osso Bucco on the outdoor grill, but we had faith, and we had dinner, even if it did end up being served an hour and a half late. With wine and an awesome cheese board, thank you Liz, we could all hang on.
For special dinners out I always like to add a personalized touch, and I usually like to send guests home with a small little gift or two. Candles and flowers are also two things I almost always bring to add light and texture to the table. For this celebration I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and wrapped them up in cellophane bags. I wish I had a great relationship with a florist, I guess that can be a 2020 project, as I’m always buying flowers at the grocery because it’s just easy. None of the cut flowers looked great that day so instead I bought three potted things, I was drawn in by the freshness of the blue, white, and green tones. A table for eleven is a big round, therefore the three pots to make more of an impact, one might have gotten lost.
The real pop was the half-bottles of Veuve Clicquot that served as place cards at each seat. When there are more than four people at a gathering, I think being told where to sit makes the sit-down easier and more seamless. I googled ‘quotes about champagne’ and found a fun little Town & Country piece, copied each different quote onto a small card for each guest, and attached them with two lengths of ribbon. As an icebreaker and conversation starter (not that we really needed that, it simply added some novelty) we each read our quote as we moved around the table. My kids were delighted to take home champagne and cookies.
As for my personal style for both nights I wore clothes with some history from my closet, nothing really new. In fact, for most of the last several months I’ve been shopping my closet, even re-wearing certain looks on repeat for different parties, and it’s felt right, and okay.
Happy 65th dear Bill, wishing us all many returns of the day.