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The two Memphis event mavens behind Ashley Lang Events have added a new service to their much-loved event planning agency. Friends since elementary school, Jordan Scarleski and Mallory Lester combine their talents for building lifelong memories through their work at Ashley Lang, curating unforgettable celebrations. Taste the delicious new item on their event services menu: Bluff City Picnics!

The beginnings of ALE and Bluff City Picnics

Jordan began her career in events and fundraising, sharpening a knack for bringing people together and making their experiences unforgettable. Mallory grew up behind the scenes of her family-owned and -operated business of movie theaters, providing an insight into event and experience production, production quality, and the thrill of creating memories for strangers and friends alike. Ashley Lang Events, their company, has grown to specialize in luxury weddings. We talked to Mallory about how the picnic side was born.

A picnic tablescape with blue-and-white china
Bluff City Picnics builds spreads inside and out, big and small, and for various occasions. Image: Morgan Newsom Photography, Florals: TCB & CO, Food: Paradox

“Truly, we watched from the sidelines as one of our past brides created Bluff City Picnics during the pandemic,” Mallory says. “She did such a great job of standing out from the crowd and making it so precious. After the pandemic, that bride posted online that she and her partner were interested in selling the company, as it was too much to juggle now that they were back at work. We scooped it up immediately. It was too turn-key with our connections within Ashley Lang Events not to go after it.”

A fun new endeavor for a serious event company

People are often surprised to learn that the owners and event planners behind Bluff City Picnics are the same professional event and wedding planners behind Ashley Lang Events. “They wonder why we’re setting up a ‘silly little picnic,’ but in reality, we get so much joy from the scaled-down, intimate setup that can sometimes be lacking in our other large-scale events,” Mallory adds.

Bluff City Picnic spread outside by a lake
To propose with THIS scene and spread? Well played. Image: Michelle Evans Art, Florals: TCB & CO
Ashley Lang Events' owners with picnic spread
When considering Ashley Lang Events, people often ask who ‘Ashley Lang’ is. “It’s actually both of us! Ashley (Jordan) (right) and (Mallory) Lang (left) were the names we dropped when we got married,” Mallory explains. Image: Morgan Newsom Photography

The makings of a great picnic party

If Jordan and Mallory were planning their own picnic for friends, three necessities would be a cozy, private atmosphere, top-notch catered food, and a signature cocktail. With the team’s extensive wedding planning background, they know no shortage of vendors across Tennessee and beyond.

Memphis Tea Party
To create the perfect picnic, think about the space, pops of color, and appropriate refreshments for the weather and time of day. Image: Stephanie Greer Photography
Kids around a picnic table.
Ignite your little ones’ wild imaginations with a themed picnic celebration. Image: Stephanie Greer Photography

The best space for a picnic is a private property. Move the furniture in the living room or find a grassy knoll in the backyard. From there, decide on your party size (they can seat up to twelve at two tables or six at one), and then Jordan and Mallory can help as little or as much as you need with the rest of the planning. For example, you can bring your own flowers, or they can book the florist for you. You don’t have to add extras. Just customize it to your comfort level. If you want them to do everything, they can — from decor and signage to catering and entertainment.

When should you throw a picnic party?

The short answer is anytime. There is no occasion too insignificant or momentous to celebrate with a picnic. Bluff City Picnics plans birthday parties and bridal showers, of course, but the picnic clientele has expanded in recent years. Kids’ parties, engagements, bachelorettes, and men’s events are becoming increasingly popular. One of the coolest things about a picnic party is that any time of day is fair game. Get savory, sweet, and boozy at a weekend brunch picnic, or elevate the typical dinner party at golden hour.

Newly engaged couple sits at picnic table in front of a Marry Me neon sign
This proposal was bold and bright while still bringing in the delicate elegance we associate with picnicking. Image: Stephanie Greer Photography

“Hands down, the coolest thing we’ve been seeing at our events is ENGAGEMENTS!” Mallory says. “Engagements are something we die over (in the best way). Every one of them is completely different, and the excitement behind helping pull it off is next-level fun!”

Memphis picnic engagement
Whether you’re one couple or a whole friend group, Instagrammable photo ops abound at a Bluff City Picnic. Image: Michelle Evans Art

Picnic parties aren’t just for the ladies!

“It’s such a common misconception that we’re just for girls and women,” Mallory says. “We’ve had men approach us about doing a whiskey tasting with cigars around the picnic tables, and we definitely welcome more ideas like this!”

I asked Mallory who her dream picnic client would be. “Local entrepreneurial mothers,” she says. “It would be an honor to host driven women and give them a place to have a meeting of the minds where they can network and make plans for themselves, their businesses, and, as a result, their community.”

Thank you so much for chatting, Mallory!


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Zoe Yarborough
About the Author
Zoe Yarborough

Zoe is a StyleBlueprint staff writer, Charlotte native, Washington & Lee graduate, and Nashville transplant of eleven years. She teaches Pilates, helps manage recording artists, and likes to "research" Germantown's food scene.