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A Romantic Backyard Anniversary Dinner

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For her parents that eloped 30 years ago, Kristen Forgione of THE LifeStyled COMPANY planned A Romantic Backyard Anniversary Dinner giving Danna and Bob those long lost traditional elements of a wedding. Her daughter acted as a darling “flower girl”, they dined at dusk at a beautifully styled tablescape and even displayed the original wedding dress! What a lovely way to celebrate years of love and friendship! As Kristen said, “I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house while celebrating my wonderful parents.”

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • “Let Love Shine” Sparkler Send-Off and Traditional Cake Exchange!
  • Dining room table turned bar with handwritten butcher paper
  • Striped Table Runner, White Linens and Chalkboard Menu
  • Blush Pink Florals, Succulents and Desert Bloom Centerpieces + Bouquet and Boutonniere
  • Cookie filled brown paper favors with “Love is still so sweet, even after 3O years!” labels

outdoor dinner table



married couple

backyard anniversary dinner

chalkboard menu

anniversary party favors

anniversary party

amazing cake

sparkler send off



PARTY DETAILS, as told by Kristen

My folks, Danna & Bob Gabardy wed 30 years ago on June 11th 1983, after only a short time together. With limited funds and their lives ahead of them, they opted to skip the many of the wedding festivities and eloped up the California coast in a small ceremony with only 4 guests. My husband and I began planning a tribute to the pair, their 30 years together and their lack of traditional wedding elements about a year before their 30th Anniversary.

Some background on Danna & Bob: They are both extremely generous people who are always hosting and throwing events for others, but never for themselves. They enjoy fine food, tasty libations, traveling, great company, and since always a host and never a guest, we knew a surprise evening was the perfect way to celebrate their union.

After being welcomed into our home, guests were ushered to a self-service, original dining room table turned bar concept made with handwritten butcher paper. I wanted to add something fun and inviting to make guests laugh, possibly create a drink they never would have, and/or feel comfortable to pop open a bottle of wine, as we did not hire any service staff. Shortly after everyone arrived, my parents came to the door expecting my husband, Vince and I to hop in the car and go someplace for dinner but were quickly greeted with our daughter as their pseudo Flower Girl, Harper Rose. She lead them into the doorway and into the HUGE surprise of a house full of friends & family, from near and far! We broke out my Mom’s actual wedding dress, which after catching a glimpse of, brought many joyful tears to her eyes.

Once mixing and mingling, dinner seating began. We invited only close friends and family and decided on a large kings style table to ensure everyone was able to see, chat and toast with all of the attendees of the evening! Champagne flowed freely along with Italian fare and plenty of stories! Since the dinner party was outdoors and in our backyard, I wanted a luxe yet rustic feel while keeping romance top of mind. The flowers popped with ethereal white and feminine yet classic varieties of pink. The color palette bounced off of the ivory & white linens, jumping with metallic accents, shades of blush pink and the natural hues of succulents and desert blooms.

With fully bellies, cake cutting began! This three tier fondant and buttercream carrot and lemon raspberry cake melted in our mouths! We couldn’t get enough of Danna & Bob’s traditional cake exchange as they were first timers!

Guests left with handmade cookies in brown paper favor bags with custom tag reading “Love is still so sweet, even after 3O years!

We rented most of the event furniture except the gray/blue banquette where my parents sat. That glorious piece of furniture was relocated from our Dining Room and is literally my favorite thing in my home (other than daughter, hubby & dog). I searched and searched for a graphic table runner long enough for an 18 foot table but sadly had no luck and was left with no time to sew one myself so I found the perfect gray/white striped wrapping paper. I cut the wrapping paper in half down the entire length of the roll and placed it in the center of the table. In looking at the images, I honestly think that little detail MADE the table!

Vendor Credit


  1. @Wedding_Agent September 11, 2013 at 7:50 am

    A Romantic Backyard Anniversary Dinner http://t.co/sAfmYYq4pW #weddings

  2. @Events_By_7 September 11, 2013 at 8:19 am

    A Beautifully Romantic Backyard Anniversary Party ~ via @HWTM_Jenn https://www.hwtm.com/2013/09/outdoor-anniversary-dinner-sept-11/

  3. Intertwined Events September 11, 2013 at 8:43 am

    What an elegant, yet stylish, anniversary dinner! We are obsessed with the décor, and the cake looks simply beautiful!!

    The Ladies of Intertwined

  4. Lisette Wolter-McKinley September 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

    What a beautiful and thoughtful gift to your parents. Love it!

  5. Shannon September 14, 2013 at 8:25 am

    What a romantic anniversary! This is where we should put the real importance of the event, at the anniversaries. It’s nice to see such an importance put on an anniversary.

    -The Botanical Box

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