Entertaining

Our Engagement Party

When James proposed we had only been dating 3 Months. As soon as I met him I knew he was the one for me. However we had two different dreams for our wedding. I wanted a beautiful old church and James wanted near the water. Considering we were getting married in Autumn and you can’t have an engagement party in a church… well normally, we went with a beach for our engagement party. And oh my was it everything we dreamed. We decided on a Moroccan themed Twilight Party. Our location was Kurnell in the South of Sydney. It is our favourite beach in Sydney. What’s so beautiful about this beach is not only does it have crystal clear flat blue waters but there is so much green grass (bike tracks) and a forest of trees planted by Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence and George Prince of Wales back in 1881. Well I say thank you gentlemen for creating a romantic backdrop to our special day.

So we went down to the venue a few times to get a vision for our party. We ABSOLUTELY LOVE ENTERTAINING!! We love serving others and giving them a beautiful experience and lasting memories of being transported into a different time or place. I wanted people to love our engagement party just as much as we did!

Our location was a walk along the beach then up some enchanting sandstone steps and into the lush forest of green grass and trees overlooking the ocean. Yep, it really was as good as it sounded. But I was a little worried people wouldn’t know where to go exactly. My dad actually suggested to somehow have red and gold flags going up the steps to the venue so people know their way. Wow! This had to happen. Luckily he had sooooo much bamboo growing where he worked. He cut it down and after another trip to good old Spotlight and more red material and crinkly scissors (you know the ones that help save on sewing) we made some makeshift flags.
I wanted lots of reds, cushions and blankets to be the flooring of our party. We sourced small stools from Tree of Life and literally bought metres and metres of red material from spotlight. Throwing in miss matched dark rugs, old Persian rugs and sourcing small side tables from the Salvos or Vinnies.

So what we would do is place a rug down, a small table on top and then one day randomly I found at my local shopping centre (don’t you love when this happens at the perfect timing) a woman who was making pillows for $5 each!!! You could pick your choice of colour. We bought about 40 red and burgundy pillows. So now we had lots of little spots for people to relax and sit for the evening. 

The 3 Gazebos set up and decorated in a Moroccan feel.

With that vision coming together I realised there needed to be a few stations. For food. Our meats, salads and a red themed Lolly Bar!! We started looking on eBay and party hire websites, very slowly we were dying inside at the $$$$ just to hire Moroccan style tents! We had exhausted nearly every avenue when James found on eBay a simple Red Gazebo.They were affordable and draping material and lamps over them would jazz them up. So another makeshift success. We bought three of them and popped them up in a matter of SECONDS on the day! Wow! 

Our twilight engagement party was coming together. We had a lot of resources up our sleeves. As a music and drama teacher it was easy to grab a hold of some of our students to be the live acoustic music. Plus they were able to promote their band. They added just the right feel for the evening. So talented and such humble students. Not to mention a drama student of mine, Erin Latimer and a parent took the photos for the event. I never asked, they just did it from a love of photography and a love for us ha!

So can we all say community. We have some incredible friends. We really do. To feed the masses in the woods meant we needed to use a generator to keep the meat hot. We used our friends huge spit. On it we cooked up beef and lamb. We served it up with a huge pot of gravy and an array of salads and breads.

The Bridesmaids serving up the Salads.
The groomsmen served the meat and gravy to our guests.

Our cake was made my best friend. A huge chocolate mud cake iced in red with the writing in the same font as our engagement invitation!!! She is one talented lady that’s for sure!

We had a delicious surprise up our sleeves. James and I would often buy Manoosh at Carlton after teaching. How good is Zaatar and cheese Manoosh?! Seriously, It’s Lebanese flat bread… baked from a dough in a hot oven with Mozzarella, Halloumi and cheddar and Zaatar. It melts and the spice is infused into the cheese. They wrap it up tight and oh my! It has you salivating and wanting more. Think of it as Lebanese Pizza. We ordered in over 100 of these to start the evening off! They went like hotcakes. Such a stand out of our night.

What’s a party without a bit of disaster…. We had one other delicacy up our sleeves. On our first date James brought me to a fantastic restaurant called Sultan’s Table in Enmore. *Side note, it’s super affordable and so delicious I promise you will be rolling out the door!!* During the week I went back to our well loved restaurant and bought about 10 tubs of their fresh housemade dips! Then I just picked up crackers to go with it. My thinking was, as the boys carve up the meat everyone can be eating the Lebanese pizzas and dip. Simple, yummy foods. BUT, when I went to go place all the crackers on the table i suddenly remembered I left the dips in my fridge back home! DYING!!!!! AGHHHHHH! So our guests has dry crackers on their tables… they must of been thinking, um, thanks for the Parrot food! I tell you coming home to gallons of dip in your fridge is not fun. You simply cannot eat your way through Garlic dip and Baba Ganoush without a not so happy ending!
Ok, can we just take a moment to look at our lollie buffet! We had red M&M’s but instead of those initials, we had ours!!! You can actually do that. You can order in your own initials! What an element to bring to the party. On each of the candy lids we tied a small tag around it with ribbon. For the tags we printed famous romantic movies quotes. The lollies were in different sized jars and spread out along the table for convenience. We made up lollie bags for the children to keep little hands out of the jars and make the line up not so cluttered. 

The huge Lolly Buffet being set up….

My dress was really special to me, I bought it from Positano Italy when I was travelling that year with my friend. I bought it thinking I needed to wear it to something special. Our engagement was the perfect occasion.

My Dress was purchased from Positano, Italy.

We stood back a few times throughout the evening and watched the children paddle in the water as the sun set. People were chatting and laughing, enjoying good food and fellowship. We took these moments in and thanked God for such a wonderful day. The sun was golden and shone down where we were celebrating the evening. A shining ray of warm light. Yep, The Lord was in this place!  And so our dreams came into reality creating this relaxing, ambient, romantic engagement party. Our hearts were full and I couldn’t wait to marry the man of my dreams and spend a lifetime creating memories and entertaining our friends and loved ones.

Jennifer X

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