How To Throw A Simple Summer Party

Posted Monday, July 23rd 2012 at 12:16pm

By Zarna Surti of Zarna's Runway

I’m currently in that whole I-Just-Turned-25-And-All-My-Friends-Are-Getting-Married phase of my life.  Yes, it can be terribly annoying but when it’s a good friend, it actually ends up being a blast.  When one of my best friends returned from Paris this past December, she informed me that her (then) boyfriend proposed a few days before New Years Eve and they were planning their wedding for October 2013!  I’m not one of those girls that freaks out and gushes over the ring and all of that jazz, but I was genuinely happy for the two of them and offered (after a few glasses of wine at Rumours East) to throw them a party! I mean how hard could it be….right?

Lucky for me, Nashville is full of really nice people willing to help a completely confused party planner how to throw a great party.  First of all, I make my living as a freelance writer and stylist, so clearly I was on a serious budget.  Thank god for Nashville, it’s helpful folks.  Here’s who I ended up working with – and FYI, I’d work with each of them over and over again:

Social Graces

For party-perfect invitations, Social Graces is a must.  Gone are the days of buying Hallmark cards in bulk, Social Graces tailors each invitation to every client.  We started with a simple meeting to discuss what I wanted and from there they sent me proofs and we worked on the design together.  They even had their amazing calligrapher, Elizabeth Hardin of Hardink Calligraphy hand design the invites!  These ladies have impeccable taste and tons of ideas, so even if you go there without any prior knowledge of invitation making (like me!) – they’ll absolutely help you find the perfect fit for your gathering.  I plan on using them for my next shin-dig as well! 




Whole Foods

I’ve always felt that even though Whole Foods is a chain, they have a very local feel here in Nashville.  I frequent the Green Hills locations often and always see tons of friends whenever I go there.  Since they have an amazing catering department, I was very excited to use them for the party.  I worked with them on creating a menu with a few desserts and light hor d’oeuvres.  They were also very accommodating and made an entirely vegetarian spread for me (the majority of the guests were vegetarian!).

The menu included a gorgeous platter of grilled peaches with goat cheese, toasted bread with beautiful vegetables and balsamic, and an assortment of desserts (including a glorious fruit tart, a collection of bountiful cupcakes, a few mini tarts, cupcakes, and chocolate concoctions for those just wanting a small nibble).




Whole Foods was also kind enough to include an easy summer recipe for future parties:



Drink Music City

I worked with Ryan Moses of Drink Music City on drinks.  At first I wasn’t sure weather to have beer/wine or liquor and Ryan recommended I keep it cool and refreshing with some champagne and champagne cocktails.  He has some amazing ideas and I highly recommend keeping Drink Music City in mind for your next big event (also, if you just want a few tips and tricks for unleashing your inner bartender, their website is chocked full of all sorts of fun information).

For the party, I had one side of the bar full of champagne and on the other side I created a cocktail using both of their first initials called “The L&J” – it included champagne, Mango Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, and grapefruit juice.  They were both refreshing beverages on a very hot day!

All in all, it was a fun party and I felt pretty accomplished for putting it all together.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning of my engagement party/bridal shower career, and believe me – I’ll be using all of these amazing companies again, cause let’s be serious…I just dove in to the next 20-ish years of my life!


The opinions expressed in Her à la Mode are those of the blog's writer and not necessarily shared by Southcomm or its partners (or you, quite possibly). Zarna is a fashion blogger and wardrobe stylist who runs


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