Dinner Party Tips on LaurenConrad.com

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I recently had the opportunity to style a dinner party concept for Lauren Conrad’s blog. I had such an amazing team of vendors and it was so fun to put something together that I would actually do. I think that’s important to share. There are soo many shoots, concepts, creative design campaigns floating around the internet (ahem, Pinterest) that are, yes, beautiful. But if you don’t have a $1500 square foot all white loft in the city with countless vendors at your fingertips and one vendor who is paying for it all to have their name attached… most of it is relatively unattainable. So what I love most about this shoot (besides how incredible everything tastes) was that it was very real. All the food was cooked in my kitchen. The setup was done on my porch (because, how fun is that?!). Most elements are from West Elm, which is totally do-able to replicate. Some items are just things I had around my house! The florals are from Whole Foods. We ate the food as we were shooting and it was DELICIOUS  and incredibly do-able – even for someone like me who never cooks. So cheers to being realistic, while still creating a beautiful setting that hopefully inspires you to get out there and try it yourself!

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From Lauren Conrad’s blog : “When you’re in your early 20s, your idea of a dinner party typically involves something like ordering pizza and inviting your girlfriends over for The Bachelor—and there’s nothing wrong with that! But as you move into your late 20s and 30s, you realize there’s almost no greater pleasure in life than hosting a truly grownup, elevated dinner party. At this next stage in life, most of your friends are busy with full-fledged careers, and perhaps they are starting families or becoming puppy parents too. It’s harder than it used to be to get everyone together in one place, but nothing does the trick like an invitation to an elegant yet comfortable dinner party with a multi-course menu. With that in mind, today we are sharing a beautiful dinner party designed by Tasteful Tatters and photographed by Anna Delores Photography. Oh, and did we mention there’s a full menu of recipes from chef Marlene Bernstein?”

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One of the elements we were prompted to tackle, was addressing the difference between a dinner party in your 20’s versus your 30’s. So we wrote up some tips that can help the hostess as well as the guests!

Tips for an Adult Dinner Party

  1. Bring a host/hostess gift. This isn’t your BYOB party right out of college. A lot of planning and effort went into this dinner, so show some appreciation by bringing an indoor fern for the green thumb, an incredible bottle of wine for the wine connoisseur in your life, or some artisan bitters for the friend who loves crafting new cocktails.
  2. Serve the meal in courses, not family style. A coursed out menu gives an air of elegance. Conversation also flows better when you aren’t constantly having to ask someone to pass the salad.
  3. Make a seating chart. There’s nothing officially wrong with the free-for-all seating plan. But taking this extra step and strategically placing certain guests next to each other can help conversation flow in the most optimal way possible and even spark a lifelong friendship between two people you know will get along.

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Vanilla Bean Lavender Whiskey

My favorite part of the shoot was the custom whiskey cocktail we created literally on the spot! But be sure to check out the LC post to see all the recipes from the shoot.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. pour (or 2 shots) whiskey (we used Johnnie Walker Red Label)
  • 4 Tbsp. simple syrup (see recipe for homemade simple syrup below)
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice, fresh squeezed
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • orange rind

Instructions:

  1. Mix together the whiskey, orange juice, simple syrup and cinnamon.
  2. Serve over ice, and garnish with orange rind.

Lavender and Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of lavender

Combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and lavender in a saucepan and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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How delicious does all of the food look? We promise it tastes just as good as it looks. Have you ever thrown a dinner party all on your own?Share your own tips and favorite recipes in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you

** Special thanks to Circa Rentals for the tables & chairs!

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