Have you ever had experience that stayed with you for days, months, even years after it happened? Maybe it was a trip, a visit to a particular place or even a simply spectacular meal. These rare, but prized moments sear themselves onto your brain, popping back up to remind you of life’s joys – usually when they feel few and far between. I had one of those experiences last year when I visited Franciacorta, an Italian wine region tucked against Lake Iseo (you may have caught my post about it here). So when I got the opportunity to host a dinner inspired by my Franciacorta experience, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. While I may not have been to actually transport people to Italy, I did my best to recreate an Italian-inspired late summer night to remember. The evening is currently featured in Rue Magazine’s latest issue (eek!), but I’m so excited to give you, dear readers, some behind the scenes peeks.

farewell to summer dinner party on apartment 34

When designing any kind of gathering, it’s always helpful to have a theme. A theme offers clear design direction and creates a story for guests, making the entire experience more memorable. For this dinner, I plucked one of the highlights from Franciacorta – a beautiful meal I enjoyed at the stunning Corte Bianca winery to serve as my design inspiration. The setting at Corte Bianca was tranquil, the placesettings understated – nothing was overtly extravagant. But there was an exceptional attention to detail, to the quality of everything presented, and to the value of bringing people together over amazing wine and stunning food. That’s the feeling I was hoping to capture with this dinner.

The key to accomplishing that was in the details. From the feel of the location, to the curve of the plate, the hand stitching in the napkins – every detail was just so. But when you think Italy, rustic often comes to mind. Not really my style jam. I was hoping to give this party a more refined vibe. To achieve a more modern look, I stuck with a chic black & cream color palette, but gave a nod to Italy’s rustic side with organic, loose floral arrangements, raw wood candle sticks and gorgeous stoneware. The ceramics and linens were created by local, NYC-based artists. Place cards and menus were hand calligraphied, making the table feel extra personal.

But what really brought the evening to life was seeing friends delight in all the work that went into setting this scene. From the moment the first bottle of Franciacorta popped until we finally headed for the exit, the conversation, laughs and storytelling did not stop. That’s the mark of a truly good party.

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Apparently, I have parties on the brain at the moment because all I want to do is throw them! Or maybe it means I’m really craving human connection…hmmm something to ponder elsewhere. But I digress. After hosting a rosé party and designing a pampering party, it only seemed right to throw a good old fashion dinner party to cap the summer season. But I certainly did not bring my vision to life all on my own. I turned to a group of amazingly talented people to make this the dinner of my dream. You should definitely check them all out and give a follow on the Instagram.

event production: @filigreesuppers
venue & food: @faunnyc
wine: @franciacorta
ceramics: @wynnenoble
linens: @thebayith
calligraphy: @in.this.wonderland
florals: @nikkipaitus

 

To see even more of this party, be sure to check out the latest issue of Rue Magazine!

original photography for apartment 34 by belathée photography

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3 Comments

  1. Very pretty! Were there waiters to serve? In 20 years in Europe I have never attended a dinner party that had a buffet–the food is either passed around family style or plated in the kitchen and brought to each person. I’m curious what you experienced in Italy and how you worked it out with your dinner.

    1. Our food was all served family style and then we had waiters who were pouring the Franciacorta for us. I absolutely loathe buffets so definitely think family style is the way to go!

  2. Pure perfection! This dinner looks truly magical. Just like your hosting skills!