My group of friends and I recently hosted an engagement dinner for my dear friends Anne and Dave Pulliam. You might know them from their recent feature in September!
Anne and Dave are the kind of amazing friends who you can't help but want to celebrate, because they are always doing the same for others. In preparation for their wedding day we wanted to throw an intimate dinner party with an Italian theme because their upcoming honeymoon was to be in Italy.
I love a themed party. Or gift for that matter. In that regard, I follow in Deb's footsteps. I feel like a theme gives you a framework for all your ideas and also makes a party much more personal for guests. We hosted the party in the last wisp of summer in DC, so we could dine alfresco. We tried to create an outdoor bistro feel with lots of twinkle and candles. (FYI, I don't recommend burning tall candles if there's any wind. I was picking wax off the decks for days!)
We picked blue and white as the colors and recruited one of our favorite DC florists, Highway to Hill, to do the flowers. If you live locally, you must check them out! The food was all Italian small plates because, who doesn't love cheese and pasta and meat! One of my favorite small touches was the ice. I froze rose buds in ice cubes overnight and they made all the drinks look so fancy and fun. It was a great talking point.
SCOUT, of course, made a huge appearance. We used some of the thermal totes for transporting food and for chilling drinks. Two of my friends made all the food, and the Two Plate Special was great for keeping things warm in transit. We loved having The Stiff One handy for keeping bottles of wine and champagne chilled at the bar.
If you want to spoil your your guests, Tiny Packages or Spirit Liftahs make great party favors. You can hang them on chairs or put them on place settings.
As for the the night's dress, we decided to ask our guests to wear black and white. We also had the bride and groom all in white. Everyone had fun with their outfits and the effect was fabulous for pictures. For myself, I wanted something chic but comfortable. Our office is conveniently right next door to Rent the Runway in Georgetown so I rented this jumpsuit by Sachin & Babi. I paired it with our new wink collection Bacall bag, perfect for heading out on the town post party.
"This is a thoughtful, decorative piece to give your glitzy friend to display her 'booze'. How funny?! Classy, yet sassy." - Laura
The team heads to our photographer Dan's studio in Baltimore. Fixture assembly ensues. If you haven't spent the day setting up fixtures - you haven't lived! We need a day to get as much product, props and, of course, the fixtures up to Baltimore. It's a lot of schlepping.
Flat shots. Deb will tell you herself, she's a collector. She has so many cool things that she meticulously curates into the photo shoot. The story behind the shot has been planned in advance so, the products are pulled and Deb's props to match. All of the products and props are carefully laid out and photographed. Our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah, has the photo shoot down to a science so we can maximize our time in the studio. Each of these shots had to be done in 22 minutes. It's major what we get done while we're there!
Wall shots! We get our faux room situation put together in the studio and that is what we work on capturing all day. Again, the shots are all planned out in advance, but sometimes things just fall into place and we wing it a little.
The models arrive. Ahh, the last day, model day. We have 89459 things going on on this day. Deb styles all of the looks and puts them together in advance. She is a pro. Every outfit has a contingency plan in case something doesn't look quite right. Each outfit mixes pieces from her own wardrobe and pieces she finds specifically for the shoots. Meanwhile, people are packing up all of the fixtures to be shipped out and all of the product is getting packed away to be sent to our showroom in Atlanta. #chaos.