“Cancer Shucks” Party

My dad recently completed successful treatment for throat cancer and we’re all so grateful for his recovery. There’s no better reason to celebrate, so over Labor Day weekend I hosted a “Cancer Shucks” oyster soiree to toast his health. This was such a fun and relatively easy party to plan, so I wanted to take you behind the scenes and share all the details. I think this whole setup would be perfect for a birthday party, anniversary, or even a holiday gathering. The oysters really do bring something unique and interactive – everyone loved it. Happy hostessing, y’all!


My motto is usually “paper invites only,” but even I admit there’s a time and place for an evite, especially since we planned this quickly. Paperless Post is my go-to for elevated email invitations, and everyone got a kick out of my “Cancer Shucks” design (below). This oyster card is actually meant to be a birthday greeting; I just tweaked the verbiage on the front and back to make it an invitation. Paperless Post’s designs are really flexible – their customer service team can help you add an RSVP to any greeting card design to make it an invite.


Oysters. Of course, oysters were the star of the show at our “Cancer Shucks” soiree! I worked with a new company called Surfing Cowboy Oyster Co and was thrilled. They’re a mobile oyster service and take care of everything: set up, shucking, clean up. They source oysters nationally and offer every topping you can imagine: cocktail sauce, mignonette, lemon…the list goes on. Oysters can be served raw, grilled, or you can opt for half and half. I highly recommend John and his team if you’re in the Nashville area.

Loveless Café. Since oysters aren’t for everyone, we also offered a full buffet spread from Loveless Café Catering – friend chicken, greens, the works. It was great. Their food truck wasn’t available for our event date, but would be a darling addition to any party.


We did this in the backyard, so I wanted the whole vibe to be celebratory but really laidback. I decorated the tables with oyster shells from Amazon and clusters of sunflowers from Trader Joe’s. The bright, happy yellow was perfect for a joyful occasion! I stuck to a blue/yellow/white palette which felt right for late summer, and sourced on-theme cocktail napkins from Caspari (here and here). I want y’all to know that I also used PAPER PLATES AND PLASTIC CUTLERY…just practicing what I preach here. We had 65 guests and while I considered bringing in “real” place settings from Please Be Seated, I found great, sturdy paper goods at Party City and leaned in.


I used Beautifully Boozed Beverage Catering and had a fantastic experience. I selected several batch cocktails which were delicious (they’re all crafted by the founder, Nate), and of course we also offered mocktails, beer, and wine. The Passion Fruit Margaritas were a particular hit, and they kindly shared the recipe with us. Enjoy!

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