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Elegance—and good times—come together in this outdoor brunch celebration for a bride-to-be hosted by Claire Thomas, the blogger behind The Kitchy Kitchen and the book The Kitchy Kitchen: New Classics for Living Deliciously. Follow her lead and mix up florally fragrant cocktails, whip up citrus-highlighted recipes, and offer the supplies for one DIY activity that will make all your guests smile. Here, the menu, décor, and how-tos you need to put together this super-easy afternoon soiree.
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While garden parties are typically more formal than other outdoor gatherings, like picnics and barbecues, Thomas sets the right tone—and her table—by blending lighthearted china and loose stems and champagne corks into the tablescape.
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Grab and Go
Glasses punctuated with Italian cameos hold gold flatware, while vintage plates from Thomas’s personal collection are stacked and ready.
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Oven-Roasted and Fresh-Squeezed
For a memorable mimosa, Thomas starts with a special ingredient. She sprinkles halved grapefruits with a sugar-and-vanilla-bean mixture and bakes them until the segments are brown and bursting. After juicing them, she adds two tablespoons to each serving glass.
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The Happiest of Hours
The tangy grapefruit is tempered by the sweet vanilla bean. “The vanilla rounds out the grapefruit’s natural bitterness nicely, making for a fun twist on the classic mimosa,” says Thomas.
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Thomas also served up a peach-lavender Bellini by simmering chopped peach, sugar, water, lemon juice, and lavender flowers before pureeing and straining the mixture and combining it with sparkling wine.
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Thomas set up a drinking station by lining a tray with empty etched jars. Guests can take a water break or reach for a pitcher to pour a refill of one of the two signature drinks.
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Bust Open Some Bubbly
She also offered invitees glasses of plain sparkling wine so they could partake in the cheering and toasting, even if grapefruit-infused and lavender-based beverages weren’t their thing.
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A zesty dressing of fresh orange and lemon juices over sliced fennel, avocado, oranges, green onions, and crisp arugula moves this starter dish from ho-hum to so yum.
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Thomas tops her three-ingredient biscuits with rosewater whipping cream and macerated strawberries to create a fruit shortcake that is simply delightful. “The key to fluffy, light biscuits is ice-cold ingredients, so make sure your butter and buttermilk are thoroughly chilled, and that you’re working lightly and quickly,” Thomas says. “If you need to pause mid-recipe, pop the ingredients in the fridge to keep them cold.”
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Hold off on the party’s DIY activity until the second half of the event. Fresh blooms that began as centerpieces can be recycled into hanging flower garlands that attendees can tote home as favors.
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Because guests will be trimming stems for this craft, hide a few mini trash cans underneath the table, where they can discard unwanted pieces.
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It will take even your craftiest friends up to an hour to make a flower garland, carving out time for the bride-to-be to keep her hands busy, too—by opening gifts!
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Thomas encouraged her friends to show off their unique creations and trade them, so each guest’s finished project is the handiwork of more than one artist.