Celebrating with friends in Southwest Florida

There’s just something about weddings and engagement parties that makes me happy. It’s not only the chance to dress up and enjoy good food and dancing, but it’s also the way everyone in attendance is there to celebrate love, and everyone takes the time to talk about it.

I flew back to Florida for the weekend to attend my dear friend Melissa’s engagement party in our hometown of Port Charlotte. Melissa was one of my bridesmaids and also visited me in San Francisco last year with two of our other girlfriends.

This was not your average engagement party. In fact, it was a Big Fat Greek Engagement Party, and it was super fun, so I’m going to take a minute to tell you all about it. 

Much-needed grooming in a flash

I arrived in Florida late on Friday night, a little bit tired and draggy from a full day of travel. Because I knew I had the party the next day, I had an excuse to get groomed up. On Saturday morning after a quick workout, I headed out with my Mom to get a manicure, pedicure and a spray tan. Believe it or not, I live my life in San Francisco a little bit pale and wasn’t super excited about throwing on a cocktail dress like that. I did a quick Google search and found a very cost-effective Zoom Tan had opened up just about 20 minutes from my parent’s house, so I gave it a try. In less than 45 seconds, I went from pasty-white to slightly brown, and it only cost $25. Pretty awesome!

A beautiful engagement party

But I digress … Unfortunately, Dave was not able to come back for the party with me because he had already planned to be golfing with some guys in Scottsdale. However, also unfortunately, my best friend Yolanda’s husband was also not able to attend either. Therefore, she drove down from St. Pete to my parent’s house and went as my date with my parents and me to the party. A perfect match.

Melissa's engagement party - Ashley and YolandaMelissa's engagement party - Ashley and YolandaYolanda and I posing with our bubbly in hand.

Both Yolanda and I are bridesmaids in Melissa’s wedding, and we’re very excited to stand up with her on her big day in May 2015. Our bridesmaids dresses already came in, and Melissa gave me mine at the party. It’s long, mint green and quite pretty.

Melissa's engagement partyMelissa's engagement partyThe ladies from left to right: Me, Melissa, Dena (Melissa’s younger sister) and Yolanda.

If you know anything about Greeks, they throw a good party. As expected, Melissa’s family went over and above at this shin-dig, serving a table of excellent Greek-inspired appetizers, as well as a full meal of Greek fare, prepared on a huge grill out back. Here’s some of the food … 

Melissa's engagement party food tableThe Greeks know their food, and they do it right.

If we weren’t already impressed and full, the dessert table definitely topped it all off. And Melissa’s Mom planned ahead by offering to-go containers for everyone. You can bet we filled up quite a few to take with us, and I had some leftover desserts and spanakopita again after dinner last night at home. Just look at these beautiful sweets ….

Melissa's engagement party dessert tableImpossible to pick just one dessert, I decided to try them all. The fluffy white coconut cake was definitely the winner!

There was a lovely tented outdoor area for people to eat, which is also where the official family toast took place. The Florida weather was absolutely perfect and even a little bit cooler than usual, so we spent a good amount of time outside.

Melissa's engagement party - centerpiecesBlue and being Greek go together like two peas-in-a-pod. Cheers to Melissa and Neal!

I’ve known Melissa since elementary school, so my parents were included in the festivities. And of course, it wouldn’t be a blog post recap without a little family selfie …

Melissa's engagement party - family pictureJust a little snapshot I took of my parents and me.

Dancing the night away

After dinner, the music went up, and the Greek dancing began. We passed around some bottles of signature-Greek ouzo and took off our high heels. (Fun fact: I actually brought a pair of sparkly flat sandals to change into from heels once the sun went down. Preparation is key for these types of events.) Let it be known, I don’t actually know how to Greek dance, but I can definitely hold hands with my neighbors and move around in a circle on beat with the best of them. If my dress were long, guarantee nobody would know the difference.

Before things got too heated, we were able to steal one good shot with the future groom, who is not Greek, but quickly becoming an honorary Greek …

Melissa's engagement party - group shot with NealFrom left to right: Me, Neal, Melissa, Yolanda and Dena.

Needless to say, the party was a great time. In addition to celebrating Melissa and Neal’s engagement, I got to catch up with a whole lot of Florida friends who I haven’t seen in a while. Everyone is the same, and it’s always a great time reminiscing on old times and talking about life in the present.

We closed the place down and didn’t get home until way after midnight. The best part? Yolanda stayed the night at my parent’s house just like our college days!

I loved every minute of the party and am still pretty brown from my spray tan.  A win-win!

I hope you enjoyed this “fun” post, but I’ll be back tomorrow morning with a big giveaway and some more talk about fitness. Now I have just a little more time in Florida before I head back tomorrow. Hope your day is going great!

Questions of the day

Have you been to a good party lately? What did you do this weekend? 

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  1. Aw looks like a nice time, are you still in Florida? I love the photo of you and your parents. I always have to crack up at my Dad when he asks about my blog (which he reads daily!) but he called it “Skiffy Firms” once… lol totally wrong.

  2. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary this weekend with great food, drinks and friends ! It was one of those nights were you start thinking just a few drinks and ends in ‘MANY’ drinks and belly hurting from laughing too much!!

    Looks like you had a fab weekend!

    1. Hi Fiona! Oh that’s wonderful!! Did you get each other paper gifts? We did, in a way. Basically wrote notes about other gifts, so that it seemed like paper.

  3. How fun!! I loved this post and am glad you’re getting some time with old friends and family.

    I spent the night out with some friends on Saturday and rode a mechanical bull! My inner thighs are SO sore – haha, gotta love an unexpected workout. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Your tan looks great. I’m always hesitant on spray tans, but they’ve been good to me the past few times.

    Looks like a blast catching up with people. My weekend was concerts and running. Not a bad mix!

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