October nights in Southern California are the perfect time for eating al fresco. The heat of September finally starts to wear off, and crisp mornings give hints of cooler weather and fall holidays on the horizon. This October night was warm and wonderful as our family celebrated a weekend together at the Homestead at Bridle Creek in sunny San Diego. The weekend culminated with a fall dinner party under the stars to celebrate a family birthday. We knew that the perfect gift for the birthday girl would be an evening spent under the gorgeous canopy of Oak Trees on the property, eating, laughing and reminiscing.
Using picnic, tables found on the property of the Homestead, we pushed several together end to end to create a long, casual dining area. An antique chandelier that was found in amongst the property’s vast array of antiques available for guests to choose from, was hung from a high branch above the center of the dining table to light the space once the sun began to set and allow the party to continue long into the night.
Not only did it provide the perfect, soft lighting, but it also added an element of sophistication and a bit of glamour to an otherwise very rustic evening, which was the perfect, special touch.
Aside from the glitz that the chandelier brought, I wanted all the other elements to be very rustic and casual, creating a comfortable space for my family to gather. Pumpkins, ears of dried corn, and other natural elements found on the property created a beautiful centerpiece celebrating the season.
I added in a few extra elements, like candles and rusty tin stars to finish it off.
The menu was simple and down home. Hot Dogs, potato salad and baked beans are always a hit with a crowd, and there was plenty to feed everyone invited. By keeping the menu simple, it also allowed all those that were involved in throwing the party, to sit and enjoy the party too, instead of being stuck in the kitchen all night. To keep with the rustic feel of the evening, old pie tins were used in place of paper plates.
Drinks (homemade grape lemonade from the farm’s own grapes and lemons) were served in darling old glass bottles that once held organic cream. Adding striped straws to the glasses and napkins tied with twine were simple inexpensive touches that took hardly any time, but made guests feel extra special.