The party technically started at 5, but my friend Hannah drove down from Philadelphia early to help me get ready. (Thank you, Hannah!) People began arriving around 5:15 and by 6:00 nearly everyone had shown up. The drinks were flowing fast, and I thought that if I set out the food earlier than I had planned we might slow the inevitable descent into inebriation, but no - the food disappeared quickly, too, and the drinks kept being poured! The Pimm's was gone early, and the white wine sangria followed soon after. I actually had to make a quick run to pick up wine and beer - I was afraid we'd run out!
We all ate on the porch - my parents' house has a wonderful screened porch in the back - but then after dinner most people dispersed into the garden. When I looked outside after clearing up the remains of the food, I saw about twenty people sitting in a circle on the grass around bottles of wine and candles that they had brought out. The rest of us joined them outside as the sun set until the bugs drove us back to the porch.
I'm sorry that I didn't take photos of the food or the drinks or the presentation of everything - you'll just have to take my word that everything was beautiful! I did take lots of photos of friends, though, so I'll share one with you here:
It was such a lovely evening. Having all of my friends in one place and watching them have a good time was one of the best send-offs I could wish for. (And the toast they presented to me was very, very sweet.) Thanks to all for coming! And for those of you in London: I hope to throw another garden party there soon, so keep your ears open for news!