Photography by the extremely talented & absolutely amazing Caroline Morris. She was kept us together & took the dreamiest photos I’ve literally ever seen. Follow her on Instagram here. You won’t regret it. 😊
Birthday Picnic Dinner on the Beach
A few months ago I got this idea in my head (I tend to get fixated on things, it’s an issue)… who knows how or WHY, but all of a sudden (I’m sure it was around 11:30 pm while on Pinterest) I just knew what I wanted to do for my 25th birthday dinner with my best friends… I wanted to have a full on dinner spread, with real plates and everything, smack in the middle of my favorite beach in the whole world.
Totally normal, and not at all logistically difficult, right?!
I started like any girl who works in PR does… I got together a mood board (consult any of my girlfriends if you ever want to see it 😊) set a color scheme, and put together a timeline. Please note that planning this party was my birthday gift to myself because I love doing things like this so much, and truly wanted to make it a special night for everyone involved.
Turns out, that I have pretty epic girlfriends (jk, I already knew this), who rallied behind my out-of-the-ordinary birthday dinner idea and offered help however they could. Instead of giving me birthday gifts, they each coordinated a different part of the food for the dinner (food > material gifts ANY day of the week). And you better BELIEVE that my culinary skills were NOT behind that cheese board. 😊
Jessica, Megan, and Nicole absolutely went over-the-top with the cheese board (they were telling me something about the technique of salami boats?!!), Meredith and Anna Catherine tag-teamed getting my favorite pizza on the island and made sure everyone had a drink they enjoyed, Kaeli and Rylea came with their family’s famous cheese dip in a bread bowl and tomato mozzarella skewers, and my little sister oversaw the entire production of the set up, since she has the best eye for décor.
Did I mention that we were both the production crew and the party goers?
I promised them I would have more budget next time around, ha! But knowing us, we’d still want to be in charge of the set up and every little detail 😊.
The final product was, quite honestly, better than I had even envisioned. There was about a 20-minute period of sweaty chaos, with Jeeps filled with wooden slats for the table and someone balancing the cheese board off the side of a golf cart… and random shouts above Lizzo playing in the background… things like “Should the seashells go next to the peonies?” and “don’t forget the flower petal ice cubes!” This was clearly a very serious affair. 😊
God bless my girlfriends.
(And my mom who had helped me prep for this weeks in advance, though she had a wedding the evening of!)
Then, after not even batting an eye at a bunch of tipsy detail-oriented women setting up a beach picnic, Caroline Morris swooped in and photographed the entire thing without missing a single detail. Long story short, but I found her on Instagram and we got on the phone together and instantly connected. She was an absolute dream to work with, and we both know that it’s just the start of a long friendship!
In sum, (because I could truly go one forever), the dinner was held on the beach I grew up on, alongside my best friends, and it entailed all of my favorite things… A picnic in the sand, country music playing, peonies and rosé everywhere, and one epic cheeseboard. 😉 I had introduced all of my girlfriends to Bravazzi Hard Italian Soda that weekend (if you had’t tried it, you must). We sat long after the sun went down and enjoyed every last sip!
You better believe that I’m not waiting until my next major birthday to throw another one. Anyone have an excuse for a beach picnic dinner round two?!
The Party Details
This night wouldn’t have been anything were it not for the unbelievable brands that were so generous and enthusiastic to be a part of the festivities. Seriously, the below peeps are some of my favorite brands of all time, and definitely worth looking into and shopping around!
c/o Juliett Dunn
My dress arrived the morning I was leaving for the weekend. Honestly, I haven’t even considered it as an option because I thought it wasn’t going to get to me in time, but dresses that are Meant To Be have a funny way of finding themselves to you, and this one arrived from London days before I had anticipated. I unwrapped it from the packaging as I was leaving my apartment building, and immediately knew it was perfect.
I wanted something loose-fitting, comfortable, and bohemian… with some sort of metallic touch. Which is a tough ask to make unless you’re looking at Juliet Dunn. You’ll hear it from me now… this is not going to be the last time I am lucky enough to wear one of her gorgeous designs! I also carried an Amanda Lindroth bag, and wore my David Yurman cable bracelets, earrings c/o Primaura, and sandals c/o Marlylilly.
My Sister’s Outfit:
This was one of my original dress options, but honestly no one can wear tan/beige like my little sister 😊(my mom and I joke that she’s the only one in our family who looks fab in neutrals!). It was so perfect on her!
Drink of the Evening:
Hard Soda is the new spiked seltzer. There. I said it. I am absolutely *obsessed* with Bravazzi Hard Italian Soda. It’s inspired by gourmet Italian sodas and comes in four unbelievably refreshing flavors. It’s all natural (no artificial flavors!) and made with real fruit juices. Did I mention that it’s 100% gluten-free too?! The flavors are like drinking liquid sunshine that has a little bit of a kick to it and makes you happy from the inside out.
I picked up our cases from a liquor store King of Prussia, PA, but you can find their full list of retailers here (scroll down!). It’s my new favorite summer beverage, perfect for poolside afternoons, backyard BBQs, or you know, boho beach picnics. 😊
Amy, who is a friend of ours on LBI, was unbelievably patient with my mom and I as we debated (at length), which flowers/greens should make up the centerpiece, and how long it should be, etc. She literally came to the beach, as we were setting up, with buckets of the prettiest things. A few minutes later, she had configured the most epic pink and green “beach fairy princess” centerpiece I had ever seen (my description, not hers 😊).
c/o Darbie Angell
I had received one of Darbie’s beautiful pottery sets in the mail about two weeks before the dinner, and as soon as I opened the pale pink plates and bowls, I knew that I wanted to use them for the dinner. Darbie was kind enough to send me extra, and I am so thankful to her! Read all about her story here, I promise you’ll fall in love just as I did!
Seagrass cups & carafe:
I’ve been a longtime fan of all of Amanda Lindroth’s Palm Beach-inspired designs. Her designs and décor sense is the epitome of breezy, yet elevated, island life, and these couldn’t have been a more appropriate choice for drink ware!
Table runner, drink bucket, & “Cheers” cups:
I have been shopping Emily McCarthy Shoppe for years, for everything from presents for my mom to a holiday gift for my boss. They truly represent the best of the best when it comes to hostessing, thoughtful gifts, and stunning monograms.
Iridescent paper straws, flower twinkle lights, gold cutlery, & metallic votives:
You may recognize this name from this recent blog post in Aruba, but I have a major brand crush on them. Seriously, they curate the chicest party décor sets that make party planning and setup a breeze. For this event, I chose their a la cart décor options and went with a few of my favorite pieces of theirs. They added the most perfect details to the evening! You can use the code ‘PINK15’ for 15% off your order!
Napkin rings: Pier One
Wine Opener: Laura Ashley
Table: Four Home Depot wooden slats that we kept in their cardboard boxes
Lanterns & Pillows: Pier One & Home Goods