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DIY Golden Gate Bridge Dinner Party

Notes on how to have a fancy dinner party below the Golden Gate Bridge. (Original post right here.)

First you’ll need a reservation to the Day Spot at Kirby Cove. These are easier to get than the camping spots. It can be reserved right here and costs $35. Anyone is allowed to hike down to Kirby cove really what you are doing is paying for permits to bring your car down. It is a public beach so it doesn’t guarantee there won’t be other people around. Like the naked man that was hanging out 100 ft from where we set up. (ah, San Francisco!) Though in our case all the beach goers left as it got dark.

Here in the Bay Area planning an outdoor dinner party is like Russian roulette. You never know if its going to be good or bad weather and that is just something you have to take a chance on.

Whenever I do parties like this I have two tables. One 6 foot banquet table and a smaller card table so I can prep the courses and have somewhere to work from. My favorites are this 6 ft table that folds in half and this skinny long one.

Any chairs would be great here but I used my own set of 8 foldable chiavari ballroom chairs. I have to have the foldable because my car and apartment are tiny.

For linens here I used some remnant fabric my intern Alexis found at a cheap fabric store in Berkeley. Where possible I’m partial to tablecloths that go to the ground. I borrowed the napkins from my neighbor Bille. (Thanks guys!)

I wasn’t trying to do anything groundbreaking with flowers. I just wanted something colorful and low to the table so the guests could converse easily without talking over flowers. (Plus I love Dahlias!)

I also have a set of cheap Ikea dishes and silverware so I don’t have to drag my good stuff outside.

A lot of times if you do a dinner in a public place they don’t want open flames so here we used battery operated led lights. I’ll do a little tutorial next week to show how we did the overhead lights.

Food is tricky. For this party I borrowed a camp stove from Liz and warmed up the Risotto and Soup immediately before at the day spot (where that is allowed.) Then carried it down to the beach. Salad was assembled there. And the ice cream arrived as we sat down to eat so there were no problems with it melting. Another method I’ve tried with the food is to buy a thermos with soup and then have someone else bring the main course straight from the oven in an insulated cooler.

photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

  1. jennifer little

    September 30, 2010


  2. agirlandaboy

    September 30, 2010

    I'm making Holly (Nothing But Bonfires) do this with me as soon as we can get a reservation. What use is living in the Bay Area if not to take advantages of the gorgeous scenery in such creative ways?

  3. Gabrielle (aka Peanut Free Mama)

    September 30, 2010

    These ( work like a charm for transporting hot food (or cold – mine came with a cool pack too). You heat up the insert in the microwave and slip it in a pocket. Take the casserole out of the oven, cover, pop in the heated insert, zip, and voila! warm food at your destination!

    Such a beautiful dinner party! We live on the peninsula and have twinkle lights up year round in our backyard trees – makes any yard gorgeous and dreamy….

  4. Sugar

    September 30, 2010

    This is so fantastic. I love it. I'll have to try it out myself- or (wink, wink) you should do this for an SF reader meet up. So cool.

  5. Holly

    September 30, 2010

    your friends are lucky!

  6. Simply Mel

    September 30, 2010

    You are a genius!

  7. Connie

    September 30, 2010

    what an absolutely beautiful idea and execution!

  8. Where My Heart Is

    September 30, 2010

    Jordan I love to see/hear about the behind the scenes/setting up. I'm glad the naked man decided to leave and not join you for dinner!

    BTW the cake painting that Paul did for me arrived safely here in Australia! I can't wait to have it up as part of my dining room cluster wall. I will send a photo when it is hung.

  9. Jenn from Much to My Delight

    September 30, 2010

    GET OUT. You had a party on the beach? You brought down a beautiful table and chairs and flowers and food? That is incredible. I've never heard of such a thing and I really kinda envy your dinner guests.

  10. LahTeaDah

    September 30, 2010

    Thank you – for pretty much rocking my socks off!

    I love it when people live outside the box and do dinner parties "a la off the beaton path"! I bow down to you!

    Check out my Tea Party I had outside last month…pretty much the love of my life there – all done before the september ran came!!! 🙁

    Yours Truly

  11. Natasha

    September 30, 2010

    Now this is special! Beautifully done.

  12. ♥ T

    September 30, 2010

    What a cute idea! I want to move to San Fransisco just to hold a dinner party by the bridge! Haha 🙂

  13. Laura

    September 30, 2010

    What an amazing idea! The sand looks so dark at dusk – perfect contrast to your twinkling lights…

  14. megpies

    September 30, 2010

    this was the coolest table! Thanks so much for sharing how it was done! Very inventive and bold. Wish I could have been invited!

  15. Denise | Chez Danisse

    September 30, 2010

    This looks spectacular. I love the lights, dahlias, and…it wouldn't be SF without some character like the naked man, right? Bravo!

  16. Anna Walker

    September 30, 2010

    I love this oh so much! What kind of string lights specifically did you use? The are fabulous!

  17. Monica

    September 30, 2010


  18. shamaine

    October 1, 2010

    what were the fairy lights plugged into? battery packs?

    really awesome!

  19. Evy

    October 1, 2010

    I am sooooo in love wit San Francisco!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Cristina

    October 3, 2010

    ^-^ I love it!!!

  21. Susana

    October 4, 2010

    Absolutely stunning! I'll have to try this sometime

  22. Alice Q. Foodie

    October 4, 2010

    It just wouldn't be a San Francisco beach without a naked guy! If you're thinking about doing a party at Boulettes shoot me an email & I can tell you more about our experience 🙂

  23. Lisa Long

    October 4, 2010

    Lovely! That is where my husband and I got engaged. (It's actually a pretty funny story, with naked people and all!) I never would have thought to do dinner there, I will definitely remember this for an anniversary! Thanks for sharing!

  24. annie

    October 4, 2010

    Thank you so much for giving readers a "behind the scenes" look at your latest get-together. I love seeing how you made such a beautiful event possible; it gives me inspiration and hope that I can do it too!

  25. Amma Brown

    October 5, 2010

    What a cute dinner party idea… on a beach. Wonderful.

    Oh and the naked guy thing made me laugh out loud.

  26. Pearl

    October 8, 2010

    How Romantic! How Sezy & beutiful!
    Invite me next time!
    I'll be there. =)


  27. Joanna

    October 9, 2010

    Looks like a gorgeous way to spend an evening. Glad you didn't like a little naked action spoil your dinner! 🙂

    PS The naked guy reference reminds me of the ugly naked guy in Friends. Oh, how I miss that show!

  28. Joanna

    October 9, 2010


  29. Julie @ Becoming-Someone

    October 11, 2010

    So picturesque! I love it!

  30. Anonymous

    October 12, 2010

    Can't wait for the promised tutorial on lights! SO many questions about this!!!!!

  31. Diapers-n-Heels

    October 14, 2010

    This is the coolest thing I have seen in so long! Makes me want to have one down here in San Diego today!!. AWESOME!!!!

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