We celebrated our engagement last weekend with a casual picnic style party with a bunch of our friends and family. We decided to hold the party in Newcastle and were fortunate to be able to use a lovely common park area near my sister's place (also where Ben and I used to live). This meant we had free venue hire which saved us a lot of money. We were blessed with perfect sunny weather which made for a beautiful afternoon/evening of celebrations.
My wonderful friend Linda helped me with the styling/decorations and kindly lent me a lot of her props, including some beautiful picnic baskets, rugs, bunting and the beautiful drink dispensers for our beverage table. I chose the drinks (Pimm's, pink lemonade and water with lemon and mint) and bought all the ingredients, cups, straws etc but it would not have turned out so well without Linda's creativity and attention to detail.
For the food, we decided to put together 10 picnic baskets full of goodies for people to share. They contained cheeses, crackers, dips, chocolates, fruit, nuts, jams/fruit paste and fresh bread. I had heaps of fun buying various things to put in the baskets, such as wooden cutlery, paper plates, mini jars for jams etc. Most of it I bought at two dollar shops! Ben had his own bar too (not pictured) with a few different types of tap kings (beer in a mini keg thing). We also had wine and champagne aplenty.
We had a few games set up for people to play - darts, ring toss/quoits and boules. My mum and Ben's mum made cardboard bunting and asked us to write 10 things about ourselves and 10 things we love about each other, which they then wrote on the bunting and hung around the park. It was a good conversation starter and quite funny to read what each other had written.
Ben's grandma made our engagement cake - a delicious mud cake. It was so good. Ben's mum decorated it with fresh flowers and cute paper bunting. I was so happy with how it turned out!
It was a really lovely afternoon and so nice to see so many of our friends and family who we don't see very often. It was also great to introduce some of our Sydney friends to our families and other friends from various places. We feel so loved and excited about our wedding next year! Thanks to all of the special people for helping us celebrate and pitching in to make it such a nice party.
Special thanks to my brother Sam and our friend Ian for some of these photos.