How To Host a Fall Ladies Lunch | Flower Arranging

Ever since we moved to the Keller Farmhouse, I’ve wanted to host something outside in the fall. We have five gorgeous acres of trees with changing colored leaves, a beautiful mountain view, and a porch we don’t use nearly enough. Living in a Seattle suburb though proves a challenge, meaning, it rains here. A lot. Even if it’s the middle of August, you never know when the rain clouds are going to roll in.

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I have a fantastic group of girlfriends I meet regularly for lunch.  Sometimes we lunch at a restaurant and other times someone hosts at their home.  It’s so much fun to get together with your friends {while the kids are at school} and just enjoy each others company.  With hopes of our Seattle weather cooperating, I planned a Fall Ladies Lunch outside at the Keller Farmhouse!

It was a very simple party/lunch to put together.  I sent each girlfriend a beautiful orange watercolor invitation from Tiny Prints.  For a simple lunch of four, invitations aren’t totally necessary, but I think it’s a sweet detail most guests appreciate.  Who doesn’t love getting fun mail??

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After sending out your invites, it’s time to prep!  I like to add pops of party color into my everyday decor.  Use naturals if you can.  In the fall, grab pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, mums, even fallen leaves!

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Look for decorative pillows to add a touch of autumn to your everyday space.  I found these darling seasonal pillows at Tiny Prints along with a monogrammed “K” throw to cozy up my outdoor living area.

Fall Ladies Lunch

Offer your guests a beverage as they arrive.  If you don’t own a bar cart, that’s ok!!  Use a entryway table, console or even your kitchen counter for a great bar.  Don’t overthink your drink!  Keep it simple and offer one or two signature drinks for guests, and if you’re serving alcohol, always be sure to offer a non-alcoholic drink for those who don’t drink.

I pulled out my beloved copper cups for our ladies lunch.  They’re meant for wine but I think you could enjoy any beverage in them!  I drink plain water out of them, it’s just more fun!!

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To give your bar cart or bevvy area a little decor, again, use pumpkins!  You can find them at nearly every grocery store.  I picked up this darling Give Thanks banner at Target.  It was all one long banner so I cut it in half and hung it from my cart!

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Who doesn’t love a personalized napkin?  I found these cute beverage napkins at Tiny Prints and added our hashtag to them #ladieswholunch.  Little details like a printed napkin always make a big impression!

To drink, I made a Cranberry Apple Cider using TreeTop Honeycrisp Apple Juice with Cran Raspberry Juice and Tito’s Vodka.  I added sliced oranges, cranberries and cinnamon sticks for garnish.  This can be served hot or cold and with or without vodka.  Your choice!

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For lunch, include your friends!  I used to be the type of host who wouldn’t take anyone up on their offering to “bring” things.  I’d be worried someone would show up late and we’d be waiting around for their contribution, or they’d forget it completely.  I’ve turned over a new leaf.  Women love to help and be assigned a task.  Do it!  You’re already hosting the lunch, have your friends help!!

Set a fun table for your friends.  You’ll spend the majority of your time together sitting and chatting, make it special!  I picked up this orange plaid table cloth at Target in early fall and I absolutely love it!  A great table cloth can add such a pop underneath place settings.

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When setting your table, always set out serving pieces first.  You want to make sure there is ample room for everything.  I know I can get carried away with centerpiece decorations, sometimes not leaving enough room for the important stuff..the food!

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We had a very simple lunch, but just enough to fill everyone up without it being too heavy.  My girlfriend Wendy made the most fantastic orzo salad (see recipe at bottom of post) which paired perfectly with our fall fruit salad with candied pecans, tomato bisque soup and sourdough bread.

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I never want our lunches to end.  Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry, and sometimes we sit around planning the next lunch.  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked about doing a flower arranging lunch.  We’ve been dreaming of it for two years, so imagine how giddy we all were to finally do it!!

It’s fun to add an activity to your get together.  There’s not much more I love than sitting around crafting and creating with girlfriends.  Our favorites have been cookie decorating, terrarium making and a baking class!  We were thrilled to invite Kelli of Country Bouquets Floral to our fall ladies lunch.

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If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you must contact Kelli for a flower arranging session.  If you don’t, find someone in your area!  There are florists everywhere.  Kelli was so perfect for our lunch.  She brought flowers for each girl and all the supplies we’d need.  I found inexpensive wood boxes to house our flowers at Save-On Crafts as well as cute linen bags, floral tape and shears which made a sweet place setting for each guest.

If you can, personalize each place setting with a seasonal accent.  You could tie a name tag to a little pumpkin or gourd, or write your guests name on a leaf in a gold sharpie.

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Don’t forget dessert!  All my outdoor fall entertaining dreams came true when I not only got to sit around gorgeous foliage with my best girlfriends arranging flowers but with a table of dessert nearby.

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Plan a great take home box for your guests to enjoy their dessert at home.  There’s really no way your guests can eat all of this dessert and nothing better than having a box of goodies to enjoy later.

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I could have sat outside and enjoyed our flower arranging lesson until it got dark outside.  It was SO. MUCH. FUN.

Have extra blankets on hand or ask guests to bring a coat if you’re hosting something outdoors.  You just never know what the weather will do!  Our lunch was a little chilly.  I ended up pulling out every scarf and blanket I had to keep everyone warm, but the sun ended up coming out and we all warmed up quick!

Collages

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It was really neat to see how each of our arrangements turned out so different, even though we were all working with the same flowers.  One of the things I loved about Kelli was how she encouraged us to find different flowers, branches and leaves around our own homes to mix in with simple grocery store flowers!

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After we created our flowers, we indulged in a gooey chocolate cake topped with caramel apples.  It was delicious and so easy to make.  I just made a layered chocolate naked cake and then topped it with a chocolate ganache.  After the ganache dried, I placed three small apples on top (with sticks inserted into the tops) and poured melted caramel over the top.

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Orzo Salad
1 package orzo pasta cooked
1 yellow onion chopped finely
6-8 basil leaves chopped
1 can drained sun dried tomatoes chopped
I can sliced black olives drained
1.5 cups pine nuts. Toasted. Take 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Place in fry pan along with pine nuts. Using a heart resistant spatula, stir until all pine nuts are coated and toasted.
3 chicken breast cooked. You can pan sear with salt and pepper, or boil or BBQ. Chop
Mix all ingredients.
Add good balsamic vinegar and good olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup each)
Mix and let sit over night in fridge
Next morning add additional balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Fall Fruit salad
Peeled and chopped honey crisp apple
Peeled and chopped Bartlett pear
Caramelized pecans

(1/4 cup sugar in a fry pan with 1 cup pecans. Stand and stir together while sugar melts and coats pecans. When all nuts are coated with melted sugar, and pecans start to get toasted, pull off stove and cool on a plate. When completely cooled break apart with hands and mix into salad)

We didn’t use a dressing because of the sweetness of the nuts, but you could add feta or blue cheese.

Do you get together with your girlfriends? What kinds of things do you do?

Photography by Laura Marchbanks Photography

6 thoughts on “How To Host a Fall Ladies Lunch | Flower Arranging

  1. Not only does this all look amazing but I love how simply it’s done but in an elegant way. Would love to know where you purchase the balking in the photo of the tomato bisque on the plate? And do you have a special tomatoe bisque recipe you could share?

  2. Soooo amazing! If only I had the yard/farm/back porch you do 🙂 I do have your amazing book and I love love love it up! Thank you for the fantastic ideas and always having beautiful pictures on your blog to share even more!

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