About a week before the party, I started staging the tents in the back yard, practicing putting them up. I didn't want to leave them out because of our summer Seattle rains, and I couldn't leave a rug sitting on the grass as it would kill it.
This party took an incredible amount of provisioning, with trips to craft stores (for faux flowers and fabrics), items arriving from Amazon, and lots of trips to Cost Plus World Market. I kept the party supplies in the playroom, staged on a card table and piled everywhere. I had to keep the door shut so my dogs wouldn't get into everything! Sadly, this staging room rendered my playroom unusable for the children who visited in the meantime - but we at least had a summery sunny backyard to enjoy instead!
This is what my two buffet tables (one borrowed, one purchased at Wal-Mart - I'll use it for Thanksgiving and Christmas) looked like once the food was set out.
Here's what my backyard looked like during the child-friendly daytime portion of the party:
Here are my three tents as they looked in daylight. I don't have very many pictures of the way they looked at night, lit up with lanterns and fairy lights, because I was too busy running around hostessing the party!
At the end of the night my dogs were exhausted from all the extra attention and petting lavished on them. They helped themselves to crashing out in one of the tents!
They know a comfy spot when they see one.
The hostess, me!
This was the party that took the most time to prepare, plan and set up. I probably will never do a party that takes this much work again, but I'm so glad I did it - what a blast. I can only hope my guests had fun too - that was the whole point! You can bet I spent the next two or three days cleaning up, resting, sleeping, cleaning up some more, and eating leftovers!!