Holding events at AVA

Sofia Coppola Blanc de Blancs.

Sofia Coppola Blanc de Blancs.

I’m so honored that Mary Beth Harris (owner of AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar), asked me to step in with a guest blog post about my various different parties at AVA.

Full disclosure: I built Mary Beth’s Website, and have worked for her on some graphic design projects as well as community events, like the Fellowship of Warmth, and some of the local Eco-Swaps.

In turn, I’ve hired her to work for me, providing parties for personal occasions, as well as event space for community activities.

But I still feel objective enough to offer my feedback about her party-planning and catering skills. After all, I keep coming back for more!

The kid’s official

The first personal event I held at AVA was my daughter Anwyn’s high school graduation party from Stuart Hall School. I was so nervous because so many family members were coming in from out of town, traveling so far to see the big day, and I really wanted them to be well fed as well as feel the graciousness of Staunton culture and its eateries.

But equally important to me was the necessity to not have to do anything myself. I had plenty on my hands that day already, making cooking, decorating, and serving seem way too much to handle.

Instead, I outsourced it all to AVA — to Mary Beth and her team. And it came out great!

I had requested a Parisian theme to match Anwyn’s passion for all things French and Mary Beth came through with the decor beautifully, taking my little decorations and dispersing them throughout the room in a lovely and personal way.

The food and drink was amazing, too. Even though she couldn’t drink it, Anwyn had requested Sofia Coppola’s Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine for the adults and Mary Beth sourced that for us. And the food? It was presented in such a gorgeous way and tasted divine!

We had bleu cheese on endive, cucumber sandies, fresh veggies in abundance, bowls spilling over with berries and fruit and whipped creme on the side, tiny wraps, beautiful macarons, and heaven only knows what else. It was two years ago so I might not recall all the specifics but I can remember the rave reviews from our guests.

It was a perfect day and made my life so easy.

To Erik

The other BIG party I’ve held at AVA was just recently, for my hubby’s 50th birthday. It was designed as a Civil War-era themed fête with an abundance of 19th century savory food, plenty of local beer, and old-timey desserts. (Erik digs history, especially the American Civil War.)

Again Mary Beth and her crew came through with flying colors.

Many of our guests had not yet visited AVA, and what we heard again and again from them was what a beautiful space it was, how roomy, and that they heartily enjoyed the food and drink and wanted to come back for dinner.

Mary Beth even put up with my goofball accounting system which was to give our guests antique buttons as “tokens” for their two drinks, and let them turn them in to the barkeep if they wanted to whet their whistles.

It was an awesome party where again, the personal touches made all the difference!

Gatherings of all sorts

But I’ve also gone to Mary Beth with more unorthodox plans.

I’ve requested that we hold political events in her space (notably in her former business, the Darjeeling Cafe). I’ve also shown films at AVA, held public talks, hosted artisan craft shows around the holidays, and co-hosted charitable events there.

In short, every thing I’ve done at AVA has been expertly planned, aesthetically pleasing, and rounded out with yummy food and spirits!

If you’re looking for an event venue, a caterer, or an event planner, for anything either large scale or small, I heartily recommend Mary Beth and AVA!

— Lindsay Curren, Curren Media Group

Lindsay Curren About Lindsay Curren

Lindsay Curren is the Creative Director of Curren Media Group. She's also a writer, artist, gardener, and mom who lives in Staunton, Virginia with her husband Erik and their two daughters, Anwyn and Chloe.