Bowen, in a my custom bow tie by This Humble Abode, putting together her gorgeous flowers-and-peach arrangements.
Tell us about the concept for this party.
"I love to throw a dinner party and I believe that no occasion is the perfect occasion. San Franciscans love a theme, so we subtly dubbed ours 'A Summer in S.F.' party. Our color concept was inspired by the gray fog and the golden color of the Golden Gate Bridge. For the food and wine, we used local purveyors, farms, bakeries, and wineries."
Locavore treats from Cowgirl Creamery, Marshall Farm, The Fatted Calf, and others.
How did you plan the food for this party?
"I love to cook, but don't believe that a good hostess has to actually make every single dish herself. I built the menu around the main course, which was paella. I wanted something that could be easily prepped ahead of time and didn't need to be served the second it was out of the oven. I love cheese, so I always serve cheese during the cocktail hour. I like to go to Cowgirl Creamery since they have a great selection and give a generous sample. I love to bake, but decided not to for this party. I enlisted the skills of Batter Bakery for the shortcakes and then added my own fruit and whipped cream for a partially home-made dessert. I'm also a big fan of Bluxome Winery in S.F. and thought the wine there perfectly complemented our summer meal."
Guest Taylor Carter, co-owner of Pilates Proworks, lends a helping hand.
What ingredients do you think go into having a great dinner party?
"I love fresh and beautiful ingredients. A good hostess is aware of the dietary needs of guests, so there should be plenty of variety so everyone is happy. It is also good to have food out when people arrive. Everyone loves to snack and everyone needs to snack when drinking our killer pisco sours!"
Party goers soak up the sun (and some booze) in the backyard.
Tell us about your idea for the floral arrangements.
"I saw peaches on the branches at the market and let that lead my design. I felt that they were the perfect choice for a summer party and their warm coral color matched the table perfectly. For a dinner party, I love a centerpiece that is beautiful but also has an unexpected element to it, and I feel the peaches served that purpose in these arrangements. "
Three arrangements graced the table, as well as 12 mini-vases-cum-nametag-holders, each with a bloom.
What are some quick tips on doing DIY floral arrangements for a dinner party?
1. "Don't try to do anything too elaborate. A mass of a single flower can be just as striking as an intricate arrangement."
2. "If you do multiple arrangements make sure to leave room for dishes if you are serving family style."
3. "You can use scraps from the arrangements to garnish the platters and other dishes. It is a detail that makes everything looked finished."
Bowen in a beautiful coral jumper (left); We're loving the cheese nametags (right)!
What creative elements of your party were you the most proud of?
"I loved the gold culterly and thought it pulled the whole table together. I was really happy with the way the table looked and loved that the chairs almost disappeared. I also loved that we served the soup course in teacups all from my own collection. Each teacup was different and our guests had so much fun choosing their own cup."
Bowen's husband, Seth Brookshire, mixing up the Pisco Sours, inspired by those served at Spruce.
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