School Reunion Party Theme - 1800s Southern Plantation
I recently attended my twenty year high school reunion and it was so much fun. The theme was an 19th century Southern Plantation.
Several months before the reunion, I received an envelope with a brief letter naming the location, date and time the reunion was at as well as directions. The location was a plantation in Virginia that was now a historical monument. It was only an hour from our high school. There was a hand written invitation inside with a more formal style and the words, "A ball for the Ladies and Gentlemen of Southern high society before the dreaded war."
I was so excited. I grew up in Virginia and I was always fascinated by the romance of the Southern plantations. When I was sixteen, I'd even visited the very plantation the reunion was going to be held at. I found the clothing romantic to look at, but I never thought I'd look good in any of those Pre-Civil war styles, but I was willing to give it a try. My husband, Alan, was also very excited about attending the reunion. He grew up on the West coast and has only see the South in pictures.
Alan and I decided, since I can barely sew a button we would rent costumes from a costume shop. Our visit to the costume shop was really fun. Allan and I tried on a few outfits until we found the perfect ones. My gown was an eye-catching green with yellow trim, which I knew from my research, was typical of the day. Alan looked dashing in his Southern officer's dress uniform.
Since she wouldn't be there to do it for me, my hair dresser she recommended aher cousin's beauty shop in Virginia. It was right on the way to the reunion site so could get my hair styled like a proper Southern lady.
Alan and I decided to go back east a couple of days ahead of time so we could visit Ray and Julia, friends I've kept in contact with over the years. They came to our wedding, but we had only seen the home they had just bought in pictures.
The afternoon before the reunion Allan and I went to Ray and Julia's gorgeous, old, four-story Colonial-style home for lunch with them and another member of class, Richard who still lived nearby. We chatted as we ate catching up and gossiping about what we had heard other class mates had been up to. Later, the women closed themselves into the master bedroom and helped each other get dressed, while the men changed in one of the guest bedrooms. As we tightened each others corsets we commented this was probably how the women back then got ready for a ball and we felt as if we had gone back in time for a moment to the 1800's.
There was still a few hours until the reunion, but we carpooled and left early so the women had plenty of time to get their hair done on the way at the salon.
A valet was waiting to take the car just after we entered the plantation grounds and parked it a designated lot. A Victoria--a type of carriage with an open top, was waiting to take us the quarter of a mile to the front entrance of the main house. The coach footman helped the ladies to alight the carriage and directed us into the house.
The event was very spectacular! Even the wait staff was in period costume. A four piece band played Dixieland jazz from the gazebo on the lawn. There were lots of white wicker chairs and tables set up on the large, wrap-around porch that went around the entire house. A costumed waiter offered us crystal flutes of Champagne, or mint juleps in frosty silver cups on a large silver tray. Several photographers wandered the grounds offering to take pictures of guests in their costumes.
Inside the house and on the veranda were tables of finger foods. There were crackers and breads, sliced melons and peaches, fried oysters, apple Brown Betty tarts, stuffed seafood pinwheels, Cajun style crab cakes and plenty of iced tea, lemonade and white and red wine.
For those few hours, I felt transported back to two times. One was back to high school twenty years ago and another to the 1800s. It was at kind of weird, but also wonderful. Having a theme for our reunion was a brilliant idea and made it even more enjoyable.