It’s the summer of safe, small gatherings outside and are we ready. So today I have partnered with PRESS, a woman-founded, independently owned premium alcohol seltzer to show you how you can throw a little backyard seltzer garden party in an elevated yet casual way. We took over my friend’s backyard, styled it all out, brought the EHD crew over, drank some PRESS, and laughed A LOT.
Tip #1: Bring The Indoors Out To Elevate The Space (And Avoid Waste)
Not everyone has extra pretty outdoor tables or sets of 12 matching plates, but for parties you can absolutely bring your indoor furniture, glassware, dinnerware, and linens outside and it will instantly elevate the space. It will also make it look and feel more special and helps reduce single-use waste. None of this has to match, just choose a color palette and play in that world.
By the way, the PRESS can is fully recyclable and their packaging has been designed to be as well, and the can itself is attractive so you can skip the glassware if you chose.
You’ll notice that we have a stack of three different plates and different pink napkins – it works, I promise. For this party with PRESS, the cans are honestly so nice looking that you can leave them in buckets without glassware but if you use glassware just mix it up within the color palette to help it feel special (this can also help avoid people grabbing someone else’s drink). We added reusable glass straws because they are adorable plus they help make the drinking experience a little more fun:) It’s like a cooler wine tag.
Tip #2: Keep It Easy (But Delicious) With A Variety Of Top-Notch Seltzer Flavors
The hard seltzer movement is upon us but not all are created (or taste) equal. I signed up to do this partnership because A. I love supporting female-founded businesses (over say, large corporations that own most of the seltzer brands) and B. They taste VERY GOOD, as they were designed to be really flavor-forward, with no after-taste and truly delicious all-natural ingredients. PRESS has 8 different flavors, 4 per box which makes it really fun to provide variety. We love Lingonberry Elderflower, Pineapple Basil, Pomegranate Ginger, and Grapefruit Cardamom.
I also really love that they are easy drinking – meaning that with a slightly lower ABV (4%) so you can sip easily and responsibly.
Tip #3: Skip The Traditional Tablecloth
If you are covering a folding table I get the to-the-floor tablecloth choice, but it can look a bit “catering” or “wedding” and is just not necessary. Even a “too small” piece of cute fabric set diagonally brings in a ton of personality. It lets your wood shine through and still protects most of it. So next time you are at a flea market or thrift store and see a pretty piece of fabric or even a thin blanket, snag it and use it as a fresh tablecloth.
Tip #4: Create Multiple Drink/Food Stations For Good Flow
Avoid the bottleneck (ha) and provide easy access with multiple drink stations throughout your space (depending on the size of the space and # of guests).
We put tubs with drinks on tables in multiple areas to help move the gathering and create multiple spaces for easy access.
Tip #5: Opt For Unfussy Flowers In Simple Vessels
The flowers at the grocery store or in your backyard are so pretty in the summer. Skip anything that looks too formal (or “arranged”) and opt for something more wildflower-y (aka weeds) next to peonies or white roses that you can likely get at the grocery store. If you are getting roses get them a couple of days in advance so that they look more open and pretty (rather than a closed tight bud).
We used pretty glasses as vases (aka you don’t need to necessarily buy “vases”) and old jam jars with votives for lighting.
Tip #6: Create Food Art With Charcuterie Boards
There is something so satisfying about putting a bunch of ingredients on a board and making it look like art. Bowser is excellent at these and we call them “Boards by Bowser”.
See? SO pretty, easy to grab, and perfect for parties that are in-between meal times.
Tip #7: Create Pockets Of Conversation Areas
There was this little courtyard on the side of my friend’s house that I have ALWAYS wanted to shoot (it’s so sweet). So we rented furniture from FOUND Rental Co. in LA (they have SUCH good stuff, a ton of vintage and casual furniture, and great for parties). We turned it into a more intimate conversation area with bistro chairs and tables and allowed for some more intimate chats. Some of the EHD team (and their guests) arrived early so they hung out here while we finished shooting in the lounge area and it honestly was so great.
Tip #8: Give Your Guests Conversation Starters And Games
The PRESS cans all have a QR code on them that you can scan for fun questions that are great conversation starters. Of course with good friends you likely don’t need a prompt, but after a year of less socializing maybe we can all use a little prompt.
We also loved the idea of bringing out card games or BINGO to give everyone an activity. We find that even pulling out a deck of cards can change the vibe and make it feel casual and tells people that this isn’t a fancy affair.
Extra Large Cutting Board (similar)
I love the idea of layering rugs on the floor to create a soft lounging area and then using a big cutting board as a “table” on the floor to house food/drink.
Tip #9: Have Multiple Types Of Lighting For Good Ambience
I know I sound like a broken record but I believe strongly that lighting is key to good ambiance and good ambiance is key to people feeling relaxed and in whatever mood you want them to be in. I treat an outdoor space for gatherings like indoor – ideally you want multiple soft light sources peppered around the space – string lights, lanterns, and candles. We even added fairy lights at the food/drink tables (that don’t shoot well so we took them out of shots). Of course we had an awesome fireplace, too, which doesn’t hurt but you can see the candles on the stones lining the back and the lantern on the “tray” on the floor.
I never have professional photos of me and my friends, so I asked Sara to take one of me and Suzanne (her dress is linked here, because I know you all will ask – it’s awesome). She lit the fire with tortilla chips which I did NOT know was a thing, and her dog Boris joined in as well, obviously.
Tip #10: Good Friends = Good Party
It was SO FUN to have an occasion/excuse to see everyone safely. We kept it all outside and we are all vaccinated so those from the EHD team that were in town came plus the production team – Sara, Veronica, Emily B., Hina, and Shade.
Hina, on the right, made all the charcuterie boards (under Bowser’s art direction #boardsbybowser) and has helped out on a lot of EHD shoots behind the scenes so it was nice to actually see her in person again and hang.
And that’s Shade, Sara’s brother who has been our amazing PA on most of our big shoots the last three years so he got to hang with the ladies. We joked that it looked like a “bachelor garden party” with all the ladies crowding around him, asking to “grab him for a second”.
We all snacked, caught up, and imbibed responsibly with PRESS, which was so refreshing, light, and delicious for a strangely humid LA day.
A huge thanks to PRESS for partnering on this garden party. PRESS is available nationwide. To find a local retailer near you, visit enjoypress.com. When you buy PRESS, you know that you are not only opting for a more delicious seltzer than others, but one that is female-founded and independently-run – which is refreshing 😉
Thanks to Found Rentals Co. for all the major pieces of furniture and of course to Emily Bowser who led the execution of this awesome design, Hina who assisted (and did the boards), Shade for being our awesome PA, and of course Sara who produced it and shot the whole thing with Veronica. I love, love, love working in-person with my EHD team. 🙂
1. Copper Beverage Tub | 2. Fabric | 3. Pitcher Vase | 4. Pink Napkins | 5. Blue & Gray Plates | 6. Farm Table | 7. String Lights | 8. Wood Bowls | 9. Gold Card Holder | 10. Canning Jars | 11. Votives | 12. Amber Glass Vase | 13. PRESS Hard Seltzer | 14. Colorful Glass Straws | 15. Black Tray | 16. Elevated Serving Board | 17. Tray | 18. Chairs | 19. Bistro Table | 20. Table | 21. Table Runner | 22. 14″ Metal Candle Lantern | 23. 11″ Metal Candle Lantern | 24. Persian Medallion Tassel Area Rug | 25. Red Kilim Pillow Cover | 26. Wood Cheese Board | 27. Blue Contemporary Mirage Rug | 28. Edge Drink Glasses