Dress: Wayf Hannah A-Line mini dress via Shopbop–I also just recently got this similar multi-colored version! | Shoes: Everlane (these are excellent hostess heels if you’ll be on your feet all night! They are SO comfortable! | Necklace: Similar here and here | Lipstick: Givenchy “Carmin Escarpin” | Candle holders: vintage (they belong to my friend Meg, and we’re actually borrowing them for our wedding!) but this similar set is a steal at $35! There are also quite a few sets on Etsy, I love this set in particular! | Checkered napkins: Amazon | Round Plates: Crate & Barrel | Square plates: IKEA | Gold flatware: Olivia & Oliver from Bed Bath and Beyond–similar here and here too!
A couple weeks back, some of our friends (including my BFF’s/old roommates and their significant others) got together at our friend Kai’s apartment to throw a fun dinner soiree!
Back when we lived together in our early twenties, we used to do what we called “family dinner” once a week–usually we had a different theme–Mexican night, Italian night, in the summer we would grill, or even do a picnic.
(Fun fact: when I was 22 I remember being so poor that I was frantic to come up with a side for Mexican night that was less than $5 because I had less than $100 in my bank account that I had to stretch for one more week–haha! Thankfully rice is cheap :-P)
Things have changed a lot since then! When Stella Artois reached out to me wanting to partner together to throw a fun party with my friends, I knew exactly what I wanted to do–recreate our old “family dinner” with an elevated aspect (you know, since we’re such “adults” these days). Thus, the idea to do an “elevated picnic” on Kai’s roof was born! (Get it? Elevated? Hehe.)
It was a smashing success, and ended up being a perfect night! It was 75 degrees, clear skies, a beautiful sunset, and great memories with great friends!
Scroll down for more photos of our night! And, if you’re so inspired to throw your own “elevated picnic”–here are a few pointers!
Opt for various sharable bites vs one big meal:
Luckily, Kai owns a catering company, littlevent, so she and her partners, Emily and Lisa (above!) handled the food! (I had the easy job of bringing the beer and handling the tablescape ;-P)
Sticking with our “elevated picnic” theme, we went with simple, easy to eat, passable bites–roasted brussels sprout skewers, a beautiful charcuterie spread, chicken burgers, pasta salad, and lamb meatballs over cous cous. We thought it was a lot easier putting together a variety of apps and small plates rather than having to worry about a full plated meal. Plus, if you’re into more of a potluck, it gives your guests more room to be creative with your dishes!
Upgrade your drink menu:
When we’re choosing beer to stock our own party, or bring with us to another, we always opt for something nice (i.e. a step above your average light beer) that will please everyone. We love Stella because it’s kind of the goldilocks of beers, if you will, and is so much nicer than opting for those “light” beer options (who shall not be named, and should only be consumed at baseball games and frat parties.) It’s light, refreshing, but still has a ton of flavor, and goes great with all seasons. (Kai also likes it because it pairs well with pretty much any kind of food!)
Keep the decor simple and affordable:
For the table, we aimed to keep things as simple and easy as possible.
Of course, living in the city, neither Kai or myself owned a full set of 12 matching white plates or gold flatware, but between the two of us, we were able to come up with 12 place settings! Don’t be afraid to mix and match–I love a more eclectic look–it adds character! And besides, many of your guests might not even notice that not everything is part of the same set! The best part about Stella is that you can serve it in the most elevated way–we placed chalices at each table setting, and guests could take home their own!
Keeping with the picnic theme, Kai found some adorable checkered napkins on Amazon, and for centerpieces, I picked up a bunch of eucalyptus at Trader Joe’s (okay, yeah, I cleaned out their entire supply–clearly I over purchased) for an easy runner. (Hilarious side note–Kai and I actually ran into each other in the TJ’s parking lot the day before, she caught me waddling out of the grocery store with my arms overflowing with Eucalyptus.)
We finished off the table decor with a few gold candlestick holders and white candles. (Although, it was windy and we couldn’t really keep the candles lit. It’s the thought that counts, right? Haha!)
Embrace the casual
Winter is for dressing up, but summer is for casual shorts and breezy sundresses! (Neal would encourage floral print, short sleeve button downs.) An “elevated” party doesn’t have to be stuffy–encourage your guests to wear whatever they want and not worry too much about the tiny details. You’re there to enjoy the company, not fuss over the little things.
Cheers! What are your tips to hosting a simple, but elevated summer party?
This post is sponsored by Stella Artois, a beer we love and drink often! Views are 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep GG up and running!