Birthday Wishes

Urban Earth chose warm colors for the centerpiece, which included yellow and pink dahlias, yellow spray roses, eremerus, blue thistle, salmon roses, orchids, white roses and drumstick allium. The long floral arrangement was kept low so people could talk to each other without obstruction. After the party, Angie and her friends brought home the arrangements.

The phone call came a week or so before: Meet at Feelings Café for Angie’s birthday. The honoree—attorney Angie Bowlin—and her friends often celebrate their birthdays at favorite restaurants. For Angie’s party, her friends decided that it might be fun to dress the setting up. While Feelings is very atmospheric all on its own—housed in a historic Faubourg Marigny building with a beautiful courtyard—some decorative touches were going to be added.

A doberge cake from Maurice French Pastries was customized with pink and green icing.

The first thing the friends did after they made the reservation at Feelings was to make sure they could have flowers delivered and bring a birthday cake. Once that was approved, a call was made to Urban Earth, which is known for its innovative floral arrangements. Flowers in warm colors—rich pinks, greens and golds—were chosen, and Urban Earth was told to be creative. Once the color scheme was decided upon, one friend called Maurice French Pastries and ordered a doberge cake customized with pink and green icing. Another went to stores to find items to add to the table: placecards and mini-albums from Plum, napkin rings and extra votive candles from Pottery Barn. Gifts became part of the party décor with stylish wrapping paper from Scriptura and ribbon from Gordon’s. An inexpensive canvas bag from Target was bought to bring the presents and to make it easy for Angie to take them home.

An inexpensive canvas bag from Target was bought to bring gifts and to make it easy for Angie to bring them home. (And, it’s an extra gift!) The presents look like pieces of art wrapped in paper from Scriptura and tied with ribbon from Gordon’s.

The day of the birthday arrived and one friend went to the restaurant early to put the placecards on the table, add the napkin rings and light the candles. The flowers and cake had reached Feelings safely. Soon Angie arrived and the festivities began. “Birthday parties at Feelings are so great because it is like being at home with friends,” says Angie. “They are always so gracious, accommodating and make any occasion memorable.”

While waiting for latecomers, partygoers sipped on cocktails—some ordered one named the “Angie” (actually a Cosmopolitan) —in the courtyard or in the adjacent bar, where a pianist entertained the crowd.  Dinner was in the main dining room and everyone sat where their placecards indicated—though later in the evening there was much “chair-hopping.” The table looked amazing with the lush floral arrangements highlighted by votive candles. Guests ordered straight off the menu and a champagne bottle or two were popped. After presents were opened and cake was served, the night’s discussion turned to where to go next: stay in the Marigny, head to the French Quarter or go Uptown? A decision was reached: start at Mimi’s in the Marigny, then move to the French Quarter and end up someplace Uptown. But wherever they all landed, Angie and her friends were continuing the celebration.

Birthday girl Angie Bowlin at the head of the table.

Placecards indicated where everyone should sit. The napkin rings are from Pottery Barn.

Another idea for placecards is to find photos (though not shown here!) of who is attending and put them in a mini-album. You can use original photos or go to Kinko’s and have them copied in color, so you don’t have to cut the photo. Then have the birthday girl write a special message in it for her friends. Other inventive and easy ideas for placecards include using a luggage tag or a large leaf with a person’s name on it written in gold or silver pen.

Restaurant Party Essentials
Many local restaurants are more than happy to accommodate special requests.  However, it’s important that you make sure what you want to
do is approved. Some guidelines:

Feelings created the “Angie” cocktail for her birthday.

Make sure the restaurant is okay with your special requests. Can you bring a birthday cake? Can someone bring a bottle of champagne? Some restaurants will charge a slice or cork fee. Remember, when you bring something food or drink related, the restaurant is losing money it could make.

Time deliveries. Make sure if you are having anything delivered—such as flowers or a cake—that the restaurant is open and can receive whatever is being dropped off.

Keep the flowers low and doublecheck the colors. While florists should know this, remind whoever is doing your flowers to keep them low so people can talk to each other without having to dodge around flowers that are in the way.

Be sure that the colors in the flowers are reflected in whatever decorative items you bring.

Get contact names and phone numbers. Make sure if something is being delivered, that everyone knows who the contact person is and a phone number.  Things happen: For example, the flowers, which were supposed to be delivered at noon, get dropped off at 4 p.m. and the person at the door doesn’t know anything about it.

Clean up after yourself. Throw away wrapping paper. Bring home anything you brought to decorate the table. Check with the restaurant to see if they want to keep the floral arrangements, or if you need to bring them home.

Thank you! Be sure to thank the restaurant.

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