How to Throw the Perfect Party

We have a lot to celebrate around here lately. This month our youngest, Andrew, graduated from Western Washington University. We’re proud of this accomplishment for him, and also for us. It marks the end of a significant part of our lives: the part where we felt responsible for educating our children. This called for a party. And that called for friends, a venue, and good food. Mike wanted to throw the party on a boat. I wanted to turn the cooking over to someone else. A plan was hatched.

Classic family photo from graduation. Dan, Claire, Andrew, Jill, Mike, and Me.

Several years ago we were sailing past Port Hadlock when we happened to see this magnificent old wooden boat anchored out. We did a couple of circles around the boat, hoping someone was aboard, but the boat was all alone. It had a covered deck up top, with wicker furniture mixed in with wooden built in seating. Curtains fluttered behind the portholes. 

It looked romantic and a little bit mysterious. We loved it and wished we could go aboard and poke around its nooks and crannies. Still, nobody was home so we toodled along and I kind of forgot about it. Mike, however, has a long memory. When it came time to plan Andrew’s party, a vision of this boat leaped out of the recesses of the file cabinet in his head. He had to locate this boat.

Due to the beauty of the interweb and my diligent searching skills, we finally located the boat, named ‘Lotus’. Turns out, she is now permanently moored at the south end of Lake Union, just behind the Museum of History and Industry. Who knew?

For real.

For real.

She was launched in 1909 and has all of the Edwardian charm you would expect of a wooden boat of this era. Built especially to cruise around the Puget Sound area in comfort and style,  even at the ripe age of 106 she is a head turner. Caretaker Christian Gruye, whose family has been caring for Lotus since the 1950’s, has kept the boat in original condition and stepping onto this beautiful vessel is like stepping into a living museum. You can read more about Lotus here on Three Sheets Northwest. She has quite the dramatic history of late, including being blown aground off her mooring. Yikes! She was the perfect choice for our party. We secured a date and the venue was decided. Onward to the food, but how about a few more photos?

Ok, one more. Twist my arm.


Because who doesn’t love a tiny folding sink?

Christian was nice enough to recommend a few caterers who had worked with parties on the Lotus in the past. We chose to go with Honey! I’m Home! Catering and we are so pleased we did!  Owner Beth Young was professional, easy to work with, listened to us, and met with us down at the Lotus to show us how she could set things up for the party, leaving us to enjoy the evening. She made suggestions but was not pushy, a tender balance so many don’t seem to have mastered. She ‘read’ our needs right the first time and sent us a sample menu that was almost perfect and within our budget.  I have to say this was my first experience having a party catered. You know us. We do everything ourselves. But this was going to be too much for me to handle. We decided to bite the bullet and hire someone. Alas, now I am spoiled and I will never go back. The food was outstanding and beautifully presented.

Teriyaki chicken skewers? Yes, please!

The title of this post says it all. If you are in Seattle and want the perfect small venue combined with a caterer who knows her stuff and does exactly what you want with style and flavor, this combination of the MV Lotus and Honey! I’m Home! will serve you well. How many times can you say, “If I had it to do all over again I would do it exactly the same way with no changes.”?  Yeah. Not many.

The wheelhouse of deliciousness!

Unfortunately some of the cake still lives in my fridge. Must. Give. It. Away. Now. (Cakes are from Corinna’s Bakery in Tacoma)

So we celebrated our boy, ourselves, and also his girlfriend, Jill, who turned 21 yesterday. And what better way to end a perfect party than staying in the master suite aboard Lotus for the night? A couple can walk to the local eateries and bars and walk safely back to their beautiful room for the evening. I admit to having serious boat envy when it comes to this master suite.

Serious boat envy.

Serious boat envy. Phone photo. Sorry.

If you get the chance, go down to Lake Union and go aboard the Lotus. She is a grand old dame and is worth the trip.

Jill and Andrew

Jill and Andrew






4 thoughts on “How to Throw the Perfect Party

  1. I had envy when I saw the tiny, folding sink. Adorable. Also, the last photo of Jill and Andrew won’t load. Thank you for a fantastic evening. You stink…no other party will compare!

    • Yes, Archaeology with a minor in Geology. He is continuing next year for a GIS (Geographic Information System) certification. That boat was amazing! We loved it.

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