It’s only recently that the idea of throwing a dinner party has become appealing to me. I suppose that means I’m growing up? But when I’m surrounded by inspiration of the prettiest variety day in and day out, can you really blame me? Designed by The Pen & Anchor and beautifully photographed by Ali Walker, this sophisticated dinner affair is definitely one for the books. And if you’re anything like me, the gallery is where you want to be.
From Natasha… Growing up in England, I spent a lot of my time walking around London, checking out various art exhibitions at local museums. One of my favorite places to go was to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which houses an extensive fashion collection from across the ages. One piece in particular struck a chord: a wedding dress designed and handmade by Joe Casely-Hayford in 1992, with the words “FAREWELL SWEET LIBERTY” emblazoned across the back of it. Casely-Hayford was a big designer during the 80’s punk rock era, and had been commissioned by Liberty to design a dress for their exhibition of contemporary British wedding fashion. I bought a postcard of the dress and I always joked that one day I’d walk down the aisle in a similar fashion. Fast-forward to twenty years later and my fiancee and I decided to make this the theme of our rehearsal dinner – perfect!
Event stylists The Pen & Anchor worked with stationery designer Alissa Bell to create the invitations, as well as a selection of four different quote cards for the dinner table place settings:
“First we eat, then we do everything else.” – M.F.K. Fisher
“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” – Ruth Reichl
“Like hunger, physical love is a necessity. But man’s appetite for amour is never so regular or so sustained as his appetite for the delights of the table.” – Honore de Balzac
“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
We invited 25 guests to Jimgermanbar in Waitsburg, run by Artists Jim and Clare German. The bar is a local icon, and fans of Jim’s cocktails regularly make the pilgrimage to this tiny town, which is about half an hour from Walla Walla, in Eastern Washington. It was incredible to see friends from all over the world descend for this very special evening, and we dined on paella (made right before our eyes), and chose from a selection of delicious cocktails.
To start, we snacked on almonds and marinated olives, crostini with jamon and piave, crostini with Monteillet Chevre (from adjacent small town, Dayton) and Mama Lil’s peppers (from Portland). We sat down for gazpacho and ‘Tears of Valencia’ paella (with marinated chicken breast, prawns, and local chorizo and smoked lardons from Blue Valley Meats). For dessert there were ‘Adios, Senorita’ chocolate orange cupcakes with vanilla frosting (from local cupcake shop Frosted), and gold boxes filled with Fleur de Sel Caramels from Bright’s Candies in Walla Walla.
We had an incredible time, and loved every single second of the evening. My husband David is from Walla Walla; we met in Paso Robles, California and became friends. I was working at UCLA and living in Los Angeles, and David was the assistant winemaker at a winery in Paso Robles, where my parents live. After a year of friendship, our relationship blossomed into something more, and we made the decision to move to Walla Walla, to continue the momentum. Two years later, we got married and bought a home. David is now making his own wine while he works as Head of Sales & Marketing at Buty Winery; I spend my lazy days writing for various publications.