The Murray Edwards theme of 'Once Upon a Time' was wonderfully thought outMurray Edwards Garden Party Committee

Before attending Murray Edwards Garden Party, my first event of my first ever May Week, I had been told by many people that it had been the absolute highlight of their 2016 May Week. Therefore, I was excited and also slightly intrigued to discover how a small garden party, taking place in the quiet and idyllic grounds of Murray Edwards college, could be given so much anticipation in a week bursting with ostentatious balls complete with overflowing and conspicuous budgets. However, the anticipation and hype completely lived up to its expectation, and my experience of the garden party was completely and utterly perfect. 

When we entered the garden party, I was taken aback by just how enchanted and whimsical the college grounds had become. The theme of ‘Once Upon a Time’ transported the guests into a world of fairytales; a larger-than-life fairytale book with the imprinted words “Once upon a time in a land far away… Your marvellous Medwards experience awaits” greeted a flood of guests who were awash with shimmering glitter and floral-coloured prints. Sugary pink tea-cup seats were spotted about the garden and hot pink gauzy silk fabric hung flowing from the walls of the outdoor area. The mix of colours from the decoration team was visually sensational, with gold and pink-coloured decorations contrasting the natural greenery of the gardens. Trees provided some much needed shade throughout the day, and meant that the natural light dabbled throughout the leaves here and there. Everyone around me, people were relaxing on the grass, chatting and laughing. 

Guests were greeted with larger-than-life decorations and themed propsKate Hammond

Upon entrance, in the blistering heat we were greeted with umbrellas which shielded us from the blinding rays of the sun. There is no denying that this special touch from the start put the guests at ease, and allowed them to remain stress-free during the waiting time. Overall, I found the experience to be completely relaxing, and it was evident that the committee had thought of every outcome and provided a solution for it. This attention to detail was also evident through the various food choices; crowd pleasers of sweet potato fries and mac 'n' cheese seemed to be everyone’s staples and the free-flowing bar offering apple cider and various fanciful and fairytale-themed cocktails really highlighted the intricacy of the theme and how it was so successfully woven into the day.

At first, the vibe was very peaceful and serene, and guests took time to chill. Whether you wanted to eat some pink candy floss, get a makeup artist to douse you in glitter, or go to the shisha tent to feel a bit more mellow, at every turn there was the possibility to take time to relax. A live band accompanied this carefree and casual ambiance. However, Medwards provided the guests with the best of both worlds; as the cotton-candy amber sky started to set, things on the stage picked up slightly and furthermore the silent disco on the tennis courts allowed for a more upbeat mood. The crowd got a bit more excited and classic songs that everyone was singing along to meant that by the end of the evening, this mellow vibe had been replaced by an innocent and childlike euphoria that everyone was happily partaking in. 

Overall, Murray Edwards Garden Party was brilliantly executed and I would definitely love to go back next year. It provided the perfect in-between for everyone; you had the possibility to let loose and dance to your heart’s desire on the main stage, or sit back and relax under the speckled shade with a cider and good company. ‘Once Upon a Time’ transported us back to childhood, the gardens of Murray Edwards became a playground for fairytales and whimsical and fantastical fun that left everyone feeling blissfully nostalgic and gloriously reminiscent

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