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5 Dynamic Dinner Parties

Vibrant dinner parties—whether at your home, a fabulous restaurant or a stunning destination—are some of our very favorite events to feature. Below, we’ve compiled stories on five of the most interesting and colorful dinner parties on our site. Eat your heart out!


Photo by Kristin Banta Events

Held over a weekend on the grounds of the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa in California, this intimate birthday celebration, planned by Kristin Banta Events, toasted its woman-of-the-hour with two lavish dinner parties.

On Friday evening, guests enjoyed a full bar featuring three artisan cocktails, as they took in the pink sky during the sunset over the mountain scape. A vine-covered pergola above a long feasting table dressed in soft gray kick-pleated linen awaited guests for dinner on the patio. The meal was served family-style amid brass and glass hurricanes, gold-rimmed hobnail votives and lush florals in plum, aubergine, sage and gray Dusty Miller. The opposite side of the patio offered a love seat lounge vignette with corresponding accent pillows, poufs and coffee table décor.

Saturday night brought more wonder as guests were invited down to the pool area for cocktail hour. An open canopy—draped with white fabric accented with gold chain tie-backs and gold chandeliers—set the tone for dinner. The dining chairs comprised of white linen-back chameleon chairs with gold legs alternating with white tweed dining chairs framed in gold. Each place setting received a custom gold foil menu along with golden, high-sheen flatware, Riedel glassware, a stack of gold-rimmed Carrington china and a white hemstitch napkin. Tiffany blue polished ceramic vases filled with dahlias infused the table with the perfect amount of color, as guests enjoyed the nine-course tasting menu with wine pairings.

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Photo by Collin Pierson Photography

Chicago Illuminating Company graciously displayed its finest Southern-style hospitality during this memorable dinner party hosted by Modern Luxury Brides Chicago, designed by Erin McDonald and planned by Michelle Durpetti Events and Engaging Events by Ali. An inspirational night for Chicago’s event planning elite, the fête featured a sophisticated Southern design palette of toile, seersucker and classic stripes, with custom linens by Tailored Elements and rentals provided by Tablescapes. Gorgeous floral & décor, including gilded pineapple, came from Northern Decor.

For the dinner, famed chef Stephanie Izard whipped up the meal herself, which featured such specialties as creole crab salad and shrimp and grits. The real wow factor came at the end of the night: guests were filled with spirit as the voices from an authentic Gospel choir filled the air, courtesy of Beatmix, a talented Chicago entertainment favorite.

Other highlights of the extra special event included bespoke invites by Hannah Handmade, photography by Collin Pierson Photography and film by Aria Films.

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Gold Standard

Photo by Gold Grid Studios

Gold Grid Studios celebrated the launch of its sister studio with an elegant evening party for many of Chicago’s premier wedding professionals. The goal was to bring everyone and their ideas together in a festive, fun and fancy manner. Offering up the gift of time to these busy event pros, the dinner party’s flow was kept open, as guests bounced from colleague to colleague, chatting about the latest trends. Deep, regal shades of plum awaited guests at the long King’s table for dinner, accented with gold flatware and gold-rimmed china. Remarkable laser-cut menus were delicately placed at each seat, highlighted with a gentle orchid. Gold chiavari chairs were draped with lace overlays, adding to the evening’s opulence. The soft tones of a solo guitarist played well into this event’s intimate tone.

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Photo by Amanda Hein Photography

Produced by event designer extraodinaires Hello Darling, The Ritz-Carlton Chicago hosted an evening entitled “Unlocked,” welcoming local event professionals for an evening of lavish inspiration. Royalty met modernity during this plentiful night, filled with ombre tones, clean place settings and strategically placed lighting. The stunning floral felt like a breath of fresh air, as impossibly perfect blooms of amaryllis, garden roses, parrot tulips, ranunculus, japonica, magnolia, green trick dianthus, wild smilax vines, jasmine, ferns, dahlias and privet berries virtually stole the show. Seating vignettes were strategically placed about, inviting guests to sit and share ideas. The catering team did not disappoint, as guests dined on specialties presented in classic Ritz-Carlton fashion.



For her 80th birthday dinner at Chez, a well-known Chicago interior designer wanted to have a sophisticated dinner party to celebrate the monumental occasion. Her vision? A colorful summer party—one that was very sleek and contemporary to reflect her own personal taste.

For this fabulous party birthday, Kehoe Designs‘ Phil Cooper chose to seat the 100 guests at white “Delmonico” tables, which boast central illuminated panels—perfect to present the vibrant ombre of color that rolled down the long feasting tables in mirrored boxes.

For an added bonus, Mr. Calihan himself (of Chicago’s Calihan Catering) personally coordinated this event, as he is the family caterer for the guest of honor.