A Bastille Day Party by Tara Guerard
How the event planning maven turned a birthday fête in Charleston into a Francophile-friendly dinner party you won't soon forget
A 70th birthday is as good a reason as any to throw a party. A 70th-birthday that happens to coincide with Bastille Day, the French national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the onset of the French Revolution? Even better. So to celebrate both occasions, Christine Jablon and her husband Eric hosted a French-inspired fête that honored her father-in-law in the most stylish—and historically conscious—way possible. Click here to view more photos.
With the location set—the Jablon's historic home in Charleston is a grand 18th-century townhouse with a shady swath of lawn that serves as the perfect backdrop in which to celebrate—the hostess was able to focus on the party itself. To get the festivities underway, Christine enlisted Tara Guérard, the woman behind the magazine-worthy 2012 nuptials of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds and who planned Jablon’s own wedding seven years earlier. Together, the pair chose a sophisticated blue-and-white palette with understated touches of red appearing in items such as the calligraphed name cards for each guest. “I didn’t want the connection to Bastille Day to be too literal,” says Guérard. Instead, she infused French-inspired details in subtle ways throughout: mini baguettes wrapped in the day’s menu sat at each place setting; handmade cocktail stirrers featured paper toppers meant to resemble fireworks.
To make room for the party of 50, Guérard moved furniture from the patio to the lawn, in the process establishing an intimate space that encompassed an outdoor living room, a porch-top bar area, and an intimate dining nook using a long rectangular table already owned by the Jablons. "When a party seems really full, it is always more fun," says Guérard. "As long as you can get to the bar to get a drink, life is good." Her team strung lights and candle-carrying lanterns from neighboring branches to create a soft glow as the party lingered into the evening. And when the heat threatened to force the party indoors, the organizers installed fans in the trees to keep guests cool. Unlike on Bastille Day, there were no actual fireworks to mark the occasion at the end of the night—but there were sparklers, which proved just as festive.