A Modern Tea Party

Check out Style Me Pretty Living's feature on our Modern Tea party! 

With winter in full effect here in San Francisco, I've been drinking cup after cup of piping hot tea. Although I used to be a die-hard coffee drinker, a few years back, I switched completely to tea after noticing that coffee was bothering my stomach, and became a full-fledged convert. In particular, I became addicted to the teas from Mariage Frères, a French brand that a friend first introduced me to when she gave my husband and I some as a wedding gift (it is aptly named!). I do still love a good latte, but a good cup of tea warms my body and soul. 

When I heard my photographer friend Anna Wu mention the idea of a throwing a modern tea party, I was beyond excited. The tea party needs a makeover! There's no reason the concept needs to be centered on mismatched china, doilies, frilly linens and sad finger sandwiches. We decided to throw a modern tea party that would honor our love of this delicious beverage AND good, clean, modern design. 

We teamed up with our local friends Tea People (the same folks behind Boba Guys) to pour their delicious teas and teach us more about the different varieties, brewing methods, and history. Benj, our self-proclaimed tea geek, brewed up 4 different kinds, all unique and delicious. I love how different the leaves and the color of each tea look next to each other. And they all have such exotic names!

Of course for me, apart from the tea itself, I was most excited about designing a tablescape that was beautiful and unusual. I decided to go with a mid-century influence to bring in a modern vibe and then soften it with florals. I must have had 20 conversations with Melanie Tom of Hawthorn Flower Studio to try and describe what I wanted...I could see it in my head but it was difficult to communicate! But she read my mind and came up with the most gorgeous floral design that was both organic yet structured, romantic but not overly feminine, and had this amazing movement that filled up the negative space in the most incredible way. All the heart eyes. 

With a modern take on the tea party it only seemed fitting to have modern sweets, too - and Craftsman & Wolves fit the bill perfectly. The lemon saffron tea cakes, banana travel cakes, and raspberry lime cream puffs were the crowd pleasers. But my personal favorite were the yuzu almond caramels...they had such a rich, intense flavor. I could have eaten the whole bag myself. 

Naturally, one needs to be properly invited to a tea party, and I loved Bri Connolly of Brown Fox Calligraphy's modern take on this invitation suite. This was the first time I'd had a chance to design something on acrylic, and though a bit finicky to work with, it's such a fun material. Especially when you have Bri's gorgeous handwriting overlaid on top. 

there is always time for tea!

Featured on Style Me Pretty Living

Planning & Design | Ruby & Rose
Photography | Anna Wu Photography

Calligraphy | Brown Fox Calligraphy
Desserts | Craftsman & Wolves
Flatware | Mrs. Peasy 
Floral and Design | Hawthorn Flower Studio

Furniture | West Elm
Hair | Fox & Doll
Makeup | April Foster Artistry 

Tabletop Goods | CB2Crate & Barrel
Tea Tasting | Tea People
Venue | 1544 Events

Rustic Summer Supper at Stable Cafe

Exciting update: Head to Green Wedding Shoes to see their lovely feature about the event!

Late summer supper at Stable Cafe

Now that fall is here and we're done with weddings for the year, I'm looking forward to sharing a ton of images from the beautiful events and collaborations we got to be a part of this year! First up is an intimate styled shoot / dinner party that my good photo friend Kayla of Kayla F Photo dreamed up and asked me to help bring to life.

Like many lovers of good food and unique urban outdoor spaces, I am a long-time fan and frequent patron of Stable Cafe here in the Mission. It's pretty much the perfect urban oasis: a peaceful outdoor courtyard lined with fruit trees and accented with clever groupings of succulents and other pretty plants from Lila B. Add zig-zags of string lights overhead, a lush covered greenhouse and beautiful old café tables and chairs...and I basically want to move in. Intimate parties or small wedding celebrations are made for this place. Who wants to let me plan an event here?! 

Kayla's original vision was a simple and rustic dinner among friends - sounds easy, right?! Here are the key ingredients to any good intimate gathering, as far as I'm concerned: 

Beautiful flowers. If you know anything about me you probably know that I'm a full-fledged flower addict. Amanda Vidmar created this garden-inspired centerpiece that had us all swooning with its romantic combo of garden roses, ranunculus, bearded iris, Abelia branches, and blue Viburnum. 

Amanda Vidmar floral centerpiece

To help the table blend in even more with the courtyard setting, Amanda draped Hops across the backs of the chairs.

Hops chair swag

Next, you need a beautifully set table. We chose blue and white stoneware and votives from Heath Ceramics and these gorgeous pale grey, hand-blown glasses, both from Chairs + Cups' perfectly curated inventory. Cloth napkins, flatware, and marble candlesticks came from CB2. And that gorgeous hand-dyed grey runner from Silk + Willow.  

Setting the table at Stable Cafe
upscale summer supper stable cafe
Amanda and I intensely focused on figuring out the perfect napkin fold. OCD tendencies at their best!! These tiny details are the ones that make the overall picture perfect!

Amanda and I intensely focused on figuring out the perfect napkin fold. OCD tendencies at their best!! These tiny details are the ones that make the overall picture perfect!

Beautiful paper goods - another one of my favorite things. Including a simple menu at each person's place setting makes any meal that much more special and builds anticipation for the delicious food you're about to have. Bri of Brown Fox Calligraphy hand-wrote these menus in a medium-gray ink on light-gray paper. Of course, for a larger event, hand-written menus for each guest might not be practical, but when you're only setting a table for 8 this is a worthy splurge! We made each place setting extra special by attaching each person's place card to a sweet little plum. 

hand lettered menu on gray paper Brown Fox Calligraphy
Brown Fox Calligraphy hand lettered place card

Sometimes a little literary inspiration can really help set the mood. When I found this Virginia Wolfe quote, I knew I had to incorporate it into the design, so I had Bri make up a small sign to adorn our dessert table: 

one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well

And of course, what's a good dinner party without amazing food?! We teamed up with LRE Catering who put together the most delicious, fresh, seasonal summer menu we could have dreamed of. Not only was everything to-die-for scrumptious but their presentation was spot-on. My stomach is grumbling right now...

LRE catering
LRE Catering rustic summer supper
LRE Catering grilled t-bone steak

The best part of any intimate gathering is undoubtedly getting to spend time with friends and enjoy each others' company. Ryanne at One True Love made sure we were all comfortably and stylishly equipped for QT with some pieces from the collection at One True Love Vintage Rentals. I love the rustic, mid-century feel of those leather and wood armchairs together with the weathered leather poof. And how sweet is that wicker basket? It became the perfect spot for Amanda to stash all of the hops! 

One True Love Vintage Rentals

See, it's not so hard to pull off an intimate dinner party! Grab a few of your closest friends and lay the table...and just remember, "one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well"!