Dreamy Backyard Bohemian Dinner
Welcome to bohemian night! I teamed up with The Inspired Home to bring you guys the most epic backyard bohemian party. I don't know if you're like me but I drool over all of the bohemian themed content on pinterest. I am a California girl through and through so maybe the free form and natural elements just speak to me. I have done quite a bit of summer parties like this summer fiesta and this intimate mountain summer dinner party but this one was on another level!
This was the first party we had in the backyard which made it all the more special. I really wanted to convey just how much detail and help goes into one of these grand dinners so todays post is a little different! I am going to take you through the 24 hours before a dinner party. I think this format best shows the scale of how everything comes together and what it takes to create everything to be 'picture perfect'. I did include a few recipes at the bottom to create your own menu as well as all of the links and sources so you can create your very own bohemian dinner party! Scroll to the bottom to find everything you need!
FRIDAY - 24 HOUR COUNTDOWN
3 PM: My dear old Dad is packing up his tools and finishing this epic custom table for the dinner. I looked at a few inspirational pictures but mostly just let him run with the design. The table is made up of 9 ship lap pieces that were ten feet long. The table is HEAVY but very slowly I can move it by myself (Jared was in Japan this week for work so I was running the house solo, which meant, yes, an ultimate ladies night!). I am so fortunate to have family live close by and help me with these insane projects that blogging throws at me.
4 PM: Abbie has arrived which means I've got an extra pair of hands to help continue to get ready. Luckily, she went to the LA flower market that morning to pick up all of the blooms for the table. She has a 'business' card that links up for all College Housewife expenses. After unloading the flowers she makes the name cards for the table and finishes up the painted calligraphy for the menu signs. I always put her in charge of certain tasks for special projects. We pow wow about what needs to get done over the next few hours to stay on schedule for tomorrow.
5 PM: I set the table up on some plastic crates and get everything ready to stain the table. I head inside to quickly change my clothes to some raggedy ones. I used the same stain for the table that I did for my wooden kitchen shelves. I am starting to stain the table (I love to stain stuff!). Abbie heads outside and I verbally go over the dinner party menu with her so she can make some grocery lists. She is set to go and heads to Trader Joe's and Sprouts for everything. I love it when I can send her to the grocery store. I go 4-5 times a week so it is such a nice break for me. I'm hoping she won't spend over $300 on everything. Abbie is so much great about keeping me on budget!
6 PM: I finish up the table and clean up the rest of the backyard so it is in perfect shape for tomorrow. The door knocks and Rascal heads into a frenzy. Abbie's sister Alex (my best friend of like 12 years!) is at the door. Such a pleasant surprise! She is in the area to grab dinner with Abbie and I. I wanted to get some more work done but this is such a great surprise that I can't say no! Abbie has arrived back with a slew of groceries! Ranking in at $270! Woo!
7 PM: I am showered, exfoliated and dressed in a loose black summer dress. Abbie is driving us and drops me off at my local spray tan place. I head in for ten minutes and quickly grab a super light spray for the dinner tomorrow. Whenever I have a big 'shoot' coming up with pictures that I know will live on for a long time I always like to get a little color. Call me vain, but I always think they make me look ten pounds lighter and I feel like my best self with a good glow!
8 - 10 PM: The three of us head into Old Towne to our local BBQ place. We all have a few glasses of wine and chat about old dorky stories. These nights that we get together are like the absolute BEST! I blink and it's already ten o'clock. I could have sat there all night gabbing on but luckily we had the dinner tomorrow too! Abbie and Alex have a good half hour drive ahead of them so we party ways.
10:30 PM: I jokingly think I am going to arrange some flowers or prep some food for the dinner and laugh myself out of it. Between my two glasses of wine and hard work all day for the dinner I am so pooped. I grab Rascal and head to bed for some puppy cuddles and a good nights rest.
SATURDAY -12 HOUR COUNTDOWN
7:00-7:15 AM: My alarm goes off and I call Rascal over for a quick cuddle session. I am not a morning person ever and this especially goes on Saturday's. I know I have a crap ton of stuff to do still so I get my but in gear!
7:15-8:00 AM: I start the keurig and send Rascal outside for a few minutes. I quickly whip up some egg whites and mashed avocado for a fast and healthy breakfast.
8:00 - 9:00 AM: I quickly check my email and take care of some quick tasks that have been neglected for the last two days. I painted the backyard wall on Thursday and did a ton of prep on Friday which left me hardly anytime for my day to day work. I turn on the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy to have on in the background. At this point if I don't take Rascal on a walk he will literally start pacing the house. I put my tennis shoes on, grab Rascal's leash to head out!
10 - 12PM: We are back from the walk and I head out to the backyard to star the party set up. I couldn't lay anything out the night before because the sprinklers go off in the middle of the night and I have no clue how to turn them off. I lay down the big jute rug, milk crates wrapped in fabric and get the table laid down evenly. I painted the block wall white on Thursday night because I hated the grey and tan combo before. I knew white would look great in photos and my vision was really starting to come together. I layer in the plants, pillows, rugs, and tons of comfy blankets. The whole set up is starting to 'scream bohemian'.
12 - 3PM: I finish up with the outdoor furniture set up and head inside to start prepping all of the food. I do one last clean up of the house and force myself to get the appetizers, drinks and dinner ingredients ready! I always start with the cocktails so they get super chilled before everyone arrives. I hate adding ice to pitcher drinks because they water down so quickly!
I wanted to keep the cocktails super light and fresh. I went with a jalapeno grapefruit margarita and a white wine strawberry lemonade sangria. After drinks I prep the orzo pasta salad and lay out the broccolini and salmon filets on baking sheets. This menu worked out so nicely because you can prep and wrap everything that goes on a baking sheet and just pull it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before it heads into the oven.
4 PM: Alex and Abbie arrive! When you're throwing a dinner party one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself is have a close friend come over and help you get last minute things ready. Abbie helped my craft the vision for the party on a brainstorm day so she knows exactly how the table should look. She starts arranging flowers and getting everything buttoned up outside. She also taste tested all of the cocktails (she always thinks I don't sweeten them enough!). She adds more jalapenos to the margs and more sweetener to the sangria. I sent Alex out to the store to grab some dress tape and ice. Unfortunately, I am not so blessed in the front as I am in the back and need a little tape to keep the straps in place on my dress.
5 PM: Alex is back and the table is setup. At this point everyone is arriving in about an hour or so. We scramble to curl our hair, set our make up and get into our bohemian style outfits. I told everyone to wear something bohemian or floral themed (it's good for photos okay?!).
5:45 PM: I am running around trying to get a big cheese board together and light some candles. I ask Alex to quickly write down a random celebrity's name and place them randomly under everyones plate. The object of the game is to have the person put the name on their forehead and ask the rest of the guests yes or no questions to try and unveil what celebrity they have. If they can't figure it out in five minutes then they have to chug the rest of their cocktail. Have I mentioned how much I love dinner party games?!
6:00 PM: Abbie is outside grabbing some table photos and Alex is getting the bohemian playlist going. The first two guests have arrived! Luckily they were excited to take photos of the backyard setup so I have a few minutes to get the rest of the cocktails and cheeseboard out.
6:15 PM: I have a cocktail in hand the the rest of the girls arrive. At this point I am so ready to unwind and enjoy myself! I snag a few photos with Abbie and she reminds me I should get dinner into the oven!
6:30 PM: The salmon and broccolini is baking off and I grab the orzo pasta salad and focaccia bread for the table.
6:45 PM: We snap a few more photos and everything is starting to come together so nicely!
7:00 PM: All of the dishes are on the table to be served family style. I have Alex fill everyones glass with some rose, because why not?! We all grab are spots and I quickly thank everyone for coming and explain what is on the menu. I find a cozy spot (with Rascal right next to me) and look around at everyone through the lit candles and twinkly patio lights. That moment of "WE DID IT!" is screaming in my head and I can finally relax. We start to play some corny dinner party games and I could not be happier!
For all of the menu details including:
Roasted Broccolini with shaved parmesan
Orzo Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
Pesto Baked Salmon + Roasted cherry tomatoes