Charmed: An Excerpt from Miss Bailey's Party Book

7:30 AM

July 24, 2010 -- Welcome to Charm, a school in etiquette, a course wherein young ladies cultivate ladylikeness and courtesy, where girls turn into women and everyone of all ages has fun. May I introduce your hostess, Miss Bailey, who just so happened to host this course for her sixteenth birthday party.

Our evening-long course will equip young ladies with the poise, confidence and ladylikeness to take their place in society. We offer the following to foster the lady within:

- Ball
- Dinner
- Classics Class
- Program of Posture
- Art Appreciation
- Department of Diction

At the end of the evening, each young lady who has successfully (and gracefully) completed the course moves on into life following a grand graduation.

Charm is widely known for its elegant dining room. Tulle bows. Heirloom china. Place cards inscribed with inspiring quotes. Vases of flowers and the occasional spiky caterpillar.

Your hostess searched high and low for sweet and friendly young ladies to staff as waitresses for the evening. In a stroke of luck, she discovered four of the sweetest and friendliest girls in her own home: Miss Caroline, Miss Hannah, Miss Bethany and Miss Sarah - sisters all.

What's a party without a cake...or three? Thanks to Miss Bethany, Cake Decorator Extraordinaire, there was no shortage of prettiful sweets. That they tasted good is due to Providence, for Miss Bailey was at the helm of that.

The Party Begins

Only the most promising young ladies were invited to Charm, for this is a school exclusively for the most eligible young ladies in town. Seventeen girls attended (not counting their hostess), different in age, height and family situation. All had ladies' hearts waiting to be directed. And their engaging mothers played chaperons and role models.

They gathered into the parlor for an introduction. After Miss Bailey gave the (yawn) talk, they tripped single-file down to the basement...........

........for some skirt-swirlin', heel-kickin' dancing! I mean to say, a dignified reel and circle dance. These ladies, due to their height comparative to their partners, served as the gentlemen. Whether or not that dampened their ladylike spirits that night, I cannot say. They all looked animated, no?

Single-file back up the stairs and every lady sat in her place, soon to be served punch. Dinner followed with strict rules in etiquette: Sit up straight, elbows off the table, napkin folded in half across the lap, conversation edifying, spirits high and used forks not touching the table cloth. Some lovely girls hosted each table, being in charge of making everyone feel welcome and well-fed (though Miss Bethany confessed later that, starving as she was, she could not eat too much for fear of being piggish).

Miss Katie, the hidden one in the foursome, performed wonderfully in her role. Bravo, Miss Katie!

Due to the fact that seating was arranged according to unfamiliarity, conversation starters were provided. Yet since the young ladies were ladies, happy laughter and talk soon filled the dining room. In this photo, the proper diction, posture and listening skills are demonstrated beautifully.

Miss Anna, dressed in the dark blue, hosted this next table. Another fine example of good social skills.

Miss Bailey and the Privileged Ladies who are good at keeping secrets and have a penchant for Italian food. Strange what conversation starters can uncover. (A special thanks to Mrs. Reinke, who took over Miss Bailey's role while the latter strolled about...which was most of the time.) I cannot say enough of these sweet girls, Miss Maddi and Miss Kadee.

Dressed in her handmade Regency gown, Miss Lindsey presides over this happy table, which is to be applauded for its enthusiasm and laughter. A stunning show of hostessing indeed. Wonderfully done, dear Lindsey!

Miss Bethany took good care of these sweet ladies. Much was spoken of on kitchen disasters, sad pet stories and yarn.

Miss Stacy, in the yellow, was another stunning hostess to Miss Sarah and Miss Louisa. Are they not all adorable together?

Speaking of adorable, Miss Caroline hostessed herself, keeping happy in frilly pink and emptying out every single dish towel in the kitchen.

The evening quickly led the young ladies through the courses. In Classics Class, two teams tested their knowledge of literature, from Beowulf to Black Beauty. Program of Posture found the girls two by two demonstrating the proper way to stand, walk, bend, curtsy and sit - no slouching, slumping or spraddling here! And the way some young ladies curtsied - it made one feel pretty all over. During Art Appreciation, these ladies proved themselves in following the directions of their hostess to draw a picture of Goldilocks visiting the last of the three little pigs in his house...without knowing what they were drawing. It was...rather interesting. And finally, in the Department of Diction, a select few ladies spoke on important topics (root beer, polar bears and the like) for thirty seconds - without pausing or stuttering "um" or "uh." Well, a few did, anyways.

Since time prevented some young ladies for joining in on that, they all drew a sigh of relief - for not only were they saved from embarrassing themselves, they also had approached the time for graduation.

Charm's Most Accomplished Ladies

"Miss Lindsey?" And then rose Miss Lindsey, one of the many accomplished young ladies present, to gracefully accept her certificate and curtsy to her fellow graduates. A collection of sweeter, friendlier and more completely ladylike girls there could not be. Miss Bailey beamed throughout the whole party for joy. Yet there was a vote for Charm's competitive Most Accomplished Young Lady award.....

....and by popular consensus, Miss Lindsey won it. Feminine, mannerly and charming - all Most Accomplished young ladies appear so.

Most, anyways.

In gratitude to their hostess (and in honor of her sweet sixteen), Charm's graduates showered her with gifts for her hope chest - aprons, washcloths, pot holders, glassware, books, plaques, table runners and some of the most wonderful little notes written to undeserving almost-sixteen-year-olds. Miss Bethany stitched up a snazzy little deal of pink-and-brown and Miss Bailey totes her purse around proudly. And the birthday girl shall always think of Miss Stacy and their shopping trip to Wal-Mart when she wears the pretty shirt she gave her - though Daniel Franklyn did dump Juicy Juice on it the very next day. And as she promised Mrs. Reinke, she will unwind after blogging for the day with some embroidery...which she has been itching to do ever since she got hands on it.

Post-Graduation and Beyond

What happens to the young ladies after they graduate - after they prove themselves worthy of Charm alumni, of ladies of grace and godly femininity? They take it out to the world. They walk through life happy, confident and womanly, proud of their girlhood and joyous in their Savior. They love to be ladies and others love to be around them. They go on to be gentle mothers, dutiful daughters and energetic sisters, women of courage and conviction in a world turned against true femininity.

Girls whom I, Miss Bailey, love and am proud to call friends. Better than friends. Congratulations to Charm's 2010 graduates!

- Miss Anna
- Miss Kara
- Miss Maria
- Miss Louisa
- Miss Kadee
- Miss Kylah
- Miss Katie
- Miss Rachel
- Miss Rebekah
- Miss Hannah R.
- Miss Bethany
- Miss Hannah B.
- Miss Sarah B.
- Miss Stacy
- Miss Sarah R.
- Miss Maddi
- Miss Lindsey

And as for Charm itself...after the exciting Saturday night festivities, it makes a lovely Sunday morning cafe.

Are you a Charm alumnus? Tell your story of etiquette on your blog and add this button to your post!

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14 impressions

  1. I'm slouching right now. :) There is a reason I got only one vote for the most accomplished. :D

    'Twas a "D-lightful" party m'dear! And I might post about it, yet you took all the nice pictures...herm...


  2. Bravo to all of the graduates of Charm! Thanks so much for looks like a lovely time was had by all and I greatly enjoyed being able to browse through the photos. :)

    *cough* However, could not the lady of honor have dropped subtle hints on her blog about her upcoming birthday so that forgetful friends might have remembered to wish her many happy returns of the day? ;D Happy 16th Birthday (a day late)!! :)

  3. What a perfectly delightful idea for a sweet sixteen! That was so much fun to read about and to look at.. I only wished I could have been among those lovely young ladies! :) We all loved the picture of you lovely Bergmann ladies! You all look so lovely and grown up!! Thanks for sharing your lovely day with us!!


  4. LOL Well, I'm sure you can come up with something, Miss Flop. And I believe you got two votes, or thereabouts. ;o)

    'Twas a very lovely time! And have no fear, Miss Erin; the party was the biggest hint of my birthday, which is on Wednesday. Consider yourself saved. :D ((hugs))

    Ah, now you were there, Miss Elissa, at the beginning of my party planning...the big mystery bash. If only you were here too! Then it would have been even lovelier. I think I left half my heart in Texas.((hugs))

  5. Oh. lol Well, dear, I'm early then because Elisabeth and I sent you a 'belated birthday' e-card last night...I thought about it later and wasn't sure if that was even your email address anymore that I sent it to, but I didn't want to be ANY later with my birthday wishes. LOL :)
    Miss Ditsy ;D

  6. Miss Bailey,

    "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness" (Proverbs 31:26).You, our kind and most gracious hostess, are to be commended for a wonderfully creative and FUN Charm school in etiquette. As an older mother and chaperone, I believe I had just as much fun as my daughters!! Most importantly, thank you for pointing out to these young ladies the truth of God's word concerning charm..."Favour is deceitful,and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised"(Pro.31:30). Congratulations to all the graduates, and a big round of applause to Miss Bailey and the charming Bergmann ladies. Love & hugs, Mrs. Reinke

  7. What a lovely birthday party!! :D I'm so glad to have seen the pictures. I certainly wished you lived nearer. :P Or that I could have visited, just so that I could have wished you this in person: Happy birthday, dear, even a little early. *Hug*

  8. ROTFLOL! Have no fear, dear Erin, I got it and I LOVED it! Thank you so much for thinking of me. You two are so sweet.

    Love you too, Mrs. Reinke! I had so much fun putting this all together, though all my special guests truly made it memorable. I especially loved having the Reinke ladies with me. :o)

    It's just too bad that we aren't next door neighbors, Lizzy. :o/ Someday...someday we shall celebrate something special together and shall fill the camera with self-portraits of ourselves together. Unless Flop will take them for us. (((hugs)))

  9. Hey Bailey! You commented on my tutorial for help, so if you email me, I can totally help you! Thanks!!!

  10. MISS Bailey,
    I had a wonderful time at your birthd-I mean at Charm it was most enjoyable!I'm glad Miss Lindsey won the vote.She deserved it!Sha was great at keeping the conversations going!
    P.S.I found one of those caterpillars on one of the Black-Eyed-Susans!:D

  11. I am so glad Miss Lindsey won the vote too, though it in no way took from the accomplishments of all our other wonderful young ladies! I'm so glad you came and that you found enough fortitude to continue eating after that run-in with the caterpillar. ;o)

    Love you - Miss Bekah!

  12. Yes, it was so delightful at Charm. What a wonderful time. I believe I should thank you for inviting me, instead of you thanking us for coming! It was so much fun! I loved how you had the tables set up: a mom at every table. We did have some great conversations!
    I love ya, sis!

  13. Another Charm graduate! If every graduate commented...let's see...that'd be seventeen comments. Oo!

    I always feel like I should send thank you notes to the hostess for having me over. But that might not be good etiquette.

    *dances* I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Love you too, Big Sis!

  14. I hope you don't mind if I still this for my sweet sixteenth. :) It's the perfect party idea! (And, although my sixteenth is still seven months away, I have been searching for the perfect sweet sixteenth party plan since I first starting planning parties at the young age of eleven.)


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