Monday, February 07, 2011

Party in the Dark

Are you ready for a lawn party? Yes? Well, I'm afraid that we're going to have to hold our horses because it will be some time for most of us can take the party outside. But, there's no reason that we can't start making plans. While trolling through old House & Gardens this weekend in search of party ideas, I found this August 1966 article about a nighttime garden party- a Party in the Dark. The June party took place on a Long Island lawn, one which measured only 150 feet end to end.

Elegantly attired guests arrived at dusk to find cocktails and empanadas waiting for them at a small bar on the lawn. After a few drinks, a little chitchat, and a game of black-tie croquet, guests proceeded to a buffet of chicken adobo, green salad, rolls, and fresh fruit dessert. And what might be the best part is that after dinner, everyone took pierced tin lanterns that had been placed around the dining tables and walked to a wooded area in which a dance floor had been laid. Now, how fun does that sound?

I love this idea because first, I prefer an evening event to a daytime party- if only because it's much easier to relax and cut loose after a long day. Daytime parties can, at times, seem a little stiff. And, nighttime lighting can lend a real sense of drama to a party. Of course, other things can add to the drama of a party, but perhaps we ought not to go there.

The buffet table was covered in a black and white striped fabric, while dining tables were outfitted in black and white polka dot cloths. Tin lanterns were hung on stakes around the periphery of the dining area.

Individual tins kept the dessert cool and bug free.

Tin lanterns filled with candles and carnations were used as table centerpieces.

Love the bottle of Bertolli Chianti. Note too that each table was accented by a different color- orange, yellow, or blue.

Guests enjoying conversation and chicken adobo.

The procession from dinner to dancing. Each guest carried a lantern in order to light the way to the dance floor.

Dancing in the dark until dawn.

All images from House & Garden, August 1966.


  1. I adore this! I have given croquet parties before where each couple had to dress in the color corresponding to their mallet. But this is just oozing with elegant chic - wish I had a forest enclave like this to make the destination of the lantern processional. I guess we could walk to the other side of the house - ha!

  2. My kinda party. Very chic with the lanterns!

  3. I want to go back in time! So elegant and everything was so feminine and fabulous....whats happened! Now I see people thinking its chic to run around in yucky velour sweatsuits with big names on their backsides...ugh! Thanks for this wonderful trip back in time.
    Please visit me for a wonderful giveway, a great french chair!


  4. Loving the idea of adding flowers in the candle lit lanterns. Saving that one under 'ideas-for-once-the-frozen-tundra-has-thawed'.

  5. With the snow falling rapidly, I cannot tell you how ready I am for a garden party. I prefer an evening outdoor event because of the more comfortable temperature in the South. But the opportunities for lighting can make it even more special.

  6. I wish that I had a lawn where I could host a party like this!

  7. yes -perfect in everyway. Love a lawn party and love the seemingly effortless nature of this - so refreshing.

  8. Great Idea! How original - the guest carrying lanterns + can do that NOW in S. CA. Thanks for the grand post!

  9. Thanks for the swoon-worthy first photo. I want to be the Woman in White (and no, not from the novel)! Sigh.

    I actually did take my coffee outside in the garden yesterday morning. How lovely that was, if brief.

    Will also be stealing the flowers in the lantern idea!

  10. Love this post! Any idea where on LI the party was? Living on the North Shore I would love to know...

  11. Colleen, Unfortunately the article doesn't say. Drats.

  12. Candle light, great friends, too much wine...bring it on...

  13. What a great idea for a party! Love this. Think there was a mosquito problem? I suppose it didn't matter - such a great idea!

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. So elegant and simple. I love all the aspects of this party and wish I could have been there to see it in action. Thanks for the lovely post!

  15. Jennifer --

    I want to steal the daisies in the lantern idea!