How To Host a Slim Aarons BBQ

Kelly in Green Vintage at Beverly Hills Party

Do you dream of living in a Slim Aarons photo? Me too! I wanted to bring that dream to life by hosting a vintage-style BBQ that was reminiscent of a Slim Aarons photograph. Luckily Glad was on board to help make that happen.

See the party pics below + 8 Tips for Hosting a Stylish BBQ! 

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If you’re not yet acquainted, Slim Aarons was a photographer known for ‘photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places,’ most notably in my favorite style era – the 1960s.

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Since we’re blessed with summery weather year-round here in LA, I wanted to take advantage and gather friends to ring in 2014 in style, with a backyard BBQ + Bourbon Bash that channeled the glamour of a Slim Aarons photograph and the charm of Hart of Dixie’s Bluebell, with a twist of vintage Palm Beach-chic.

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Here are all the party details + 8 Tips for a Stylish BBQ:

1. Location:  While I don’t have my own backyard in LA, we were lucky enough to rent a beautiful mid-century modern house in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills to host the party (i.e. my dream house and ‘hood!). It’s a BBQ so the outside space was essential and that pool didn’t hurt either. But a beautiful city park – perhaps with a fountain — would work just as well.

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2. Dress Code: The trick to great party photos is having a suggested dress code (it’s what makes everything look cohesive and, let’s face it, is an essential part of the decor). I invited guests to wear attire that was Slim Aarons meets Hart of Dixie meets polo match. A little unorthodox, but guests appreciate direction and it makes for fabulous photos and a festive, convivial atmosphere. Plus, it’s so fun to see everyone’s take. Some went vintage Palm Beach-chic with colorful prints, others went for more streamlined classic polo match attire, while other guests could have passed for Lemon Breeland from Hart of Dixie.

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One common theme: fabulous headgear, from turbans to oversized bows to giant sunhats and sunnies!

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3. Photo Booth:  Every party needs a photo booth. It’s the best way to guarantee you’ll get great photos of everyone. But a traditional photo booth isn’t required. For our BBQ, a peacock chair became our makeshift photo booth of sorts. With props like vintage badminton racquets and vintage suitcases (rented from Disregarden), parasols, palm fronds, hand fans, croquet and vintage picnic blankets and baskets, guests had a blast snapping away. Plus, who doesn’t want to snap selfies in a peacock chair?!

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4. Décor: In my opinion, a party’s not a party without a giant inflatable swan! To keep Swannie Golightly company, I added a few faux lily pads to the pool. We also suspended polka dot pom poms from the trees. It’s essential to choose a color palette, which also helps keep you focused when making décor decisions. I went with black, white, yellow and a few pops of red. To play up the theme, I filled berry baskets with strawberries and used mason jars as balloon weights, with a lemon inserted in each one for a pop of color. Red-and-white polka dot baskets were filled with chips to snack on and chalkboard paper covered each table.

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5. Music: Fun tunes add so much life to a party. We played Dolly Parton radio on Pandora to match the vintage BBQ theme. You can never go wrong with Dolly!

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6. Drinks + Drink Tags: To match the BBQ + Bourbon theme, we served rootbeer in bottles, sweet tea and a signature bourbon cocktail: Bourbonade in mason jars! To help guests keep track of their drinks, we fashioned drink tags from chalkboard paper (guests simply wrote their names with a chalkboard marker on chalkboard tags we cut by hand), which were clipped onto twine with a miniature clothespin.

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I’ll be sure to share the signature bourbonade cocktail recipe soon…

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7. Food: You can’t have a BBQ without good grub and I wanted food with flair. I worked with Heirloom LA to create a menu that was Southern-tinged but seasonal as well. We served mini fried chicken and waffles with creme fraiche and blueberry-maple compote (fun and deelish). Also on the menu: smoked brisket, sweet and sour potato salad, a farmer’s market salad and macaroni and cheese.

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For dessert, handpies filled with berry jam were a sweet finish. I almost always recommend re-plating food, but in this case, the silver containers and kraft paper played up the BBQ theme and charm – and Heirloom makes everything so cute – that it wasn’t necessary. I did, however, add height to the table by wrapping a box with kraft paper and using a cake pedestal. I let guests know what each food item was by writing its name in chalk on a chalkboard paper tablecloth.

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Tip: I always worry that I’ll never have enough food and tend to over do it, which was the case here. Instead of letting food go to waste, it’s nice to provide to-go containers (I used Glad MatchWare) so that your guests have something to snack on when they get home.

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8. Clean-Up: In addition to providing to-go containers, in order to help keep things tidy during the party — and make clean-up after the party easier– it’s essential to have trash bags and trash cans in easy reach. I’m a long-time Glad Black Bag and ForceFlex fan, which is just one reason I was excited to team up with Glad as a Glad brand ambassador, and I used them for our BBQ, which made clean-up a breeze. We also had a fun surprise in store that made clean-up easy and, dare I say, fun. Yes, really!

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Next up I’ll share the big surprise we had at the party + a fun giveaway! Stay tuned…

 

A huge thank you to GLAD and our guests, as pictured above: Taye Hansberry of Stuff She Likes, Kristen Conahan of Style Wax Poetic, Jamie Stone of Queen of the Quarter Life Crisis, Rachael Dickhute of Everything Hauler, Annette Vartanian of  A Vintage Splendor, Kristen Turner of Glitter N Glue, Jenny Wu of Good Bad and Fab, Amelia Alvarez of A Clothes Horse NYC, Laurie Brucker of Laurie B Style, Shauna Miller of Penny Chic, Devon Dyer of Devon Rachel, Roxy Manning of Red Carpet Roxy, Sydne Summer of Sydne Style, Sheryl Luke of Walk In Wonderland, Marilyn Oliviera of Evite, Jenny Heller, Gray Malin, Suzy LeQuex of Rossmore LA, Ashley Fultz of The Style Editrix.

Production: Kelly Lee of Kelly Golightly //Photography: Fred Baby Bar + Pom Pom Photos: Everything Hauler // Food: Heirloom LA // Props: Disregarden // Dress: Vintage // Décor: Sweet Lulu, Kate Spade, Save on CraftsJust Artifacts, Paper Source, Dollar Store, Etsy, Amazon, Glad, Ikea, Disregarden, Classic Party Rentals

 This post is brought to you by Glad. I am a GLAD® Trash Crash Ambassador and supplies for this party, including GLAD® products, were provided to me by GLAD®. My Trash Crash party experience is my own.

 

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About Kelly

Fashion and lifestyle expert Kelly Lee gives a front row seat to the latest in fashion, beauty and lifestyle to chic readers around the globe, all from her sunny perch in Beverly Hills, California.

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