My husband and I attended The PopUp Wine Country event over the Memorial Day weekend with a group of friends. What an incredible evening. I am excited to share it with you!
PopUp Dinners happen in cities across the nation and are put on by Hand Made Events.
You may be wondering what a PopUp Dinner is. Let me explain how it works:
~ Gather a bunch of friends, buy tickets and plan your table decor and menu.
~ Tables and chairs are provided, you bring everything else: tableware, glassware, table linens, decor, food and beverages.
~ Wine and beer are permitted (check the Hand Made Events website for more information about that).
~ Guests are asked to wear white.
~ PopUp Dinners are held in secret locations, announced via email to ticket holders at 3:00 pm the day of the event.
Doesn’t that sound like fun? This is the second year Hand Made Events has chosen Wine Country as a location for a PopUp Dinner.
I met Hand Made Events owner, Nicole Benjamin-Sathre, at the last G3 Women’s Conference in Sonoma a few months ago. We sat next to each other on the morning of the second day and happened to partner up for an intense meditative exercise that one of the speakers facilitated. It was quite the bonding experience! We didn’t even know each other’s names until after the speaker finished her presentation, but by then we felt like old friends.
Nicole generously provided me eight tickets to the PopUp Dinner Wine Country so I could experience it first hand. I invited 6 friends, quickly got to work searching for a pair of white jeans for my 6′ 7″ husband, and started working with our group to coordinate who would bring what.
At 3:00 pm Saturday, the email was sent. The secret location was the bucolic and historic Jack London State Park in the neighboring town of Glen Ellen.
My friend, Jeannine, who owns Wine Glass Writer, came with her husband, Paul and their longtime friend, Gordon. Here’s Jeannine with my husband, Bill, as we walked to the ruins where the event took place. As soon as I told Bill the event was at the park, he headed for Home Depot to buy a sturdy wagon to cart our belongings. We will surely use it again and again for gardening, camping, picnics and next year’s PopUp Dinner!
Once we decided on the ideal table, we got busy setting it up.
Daidri, my friend and fellow blogger who writes the blog Thee Getaway Gal, is also a talented photographer and has a keen eye for beauty and design. She volunteered to be in charge of table settings and decor.
Jeannine and Paul provided our dinner. My friend and fitness trainer, Debra, brought appetizers. Gordon brought a smoked salmon he caught himself and I made a charcuterie platter and a fruit plate. I also brought cookies and a delectable carrot cake that Tori, my stepdaughter, so generously baked for us.
We all chipped in to help set the table. Take a look at the gorgeous flower arrangements Daidri made! (From left to right: Gordon, Debra, Bill and Paul in back, and me)
The venue started filling up quickly. Five hundred tickets were sold to this event. It’s actually one of the smallest PopUp Dinners that Hand Made Events puts on. Larger cities like Brooklyn and San Francisco host three to four thousand!
Part of what makes PopUp Dinners so much fun is looking at everyone else’s tablescapes. I love those blue Mason jar glasses and the big white candle pillars on these tables.
After we finished putting together our table, it was time for a group photo.
There were so many wonderful photo opportunities…
This photo was technically taken by my husband but he used Daidri’s camera and her settings so it’s really her talent at work here. This is one of my favorite photos from this special day.
Here are a few of my other favorites:
Debra in her beautiful hat, talking with Daidri’s husband, Richard.
Daidri and I walking around the ruins.
Jeannine and Paul
Me and my honey
Daidri and Richard
Paul, Jeannine, me and Bill
Soon it was time to eat! Along with great food, we brought plenty of wine with us – good stuff – that we surely did not want to waste by losing track of our glasses.
We had plenty of Wine Glass Writers at our table and made sure to write our names on our wine glasses. Not a single wine glass misplaced!
Tori used Ina Garten’s Carrot Cupcake recipe to make the cake. The original idea was to make cupcakes but, after the batter was made, we remembered we ruined our last muffin tin during an unfortunate eggy breakfast muffin incident and never replaced it.
Tori simply poured the batter into two springform cake pans and the cake turned out perfectly! It was so moist and flavorful. A huge hit at our table and the table next to us. They had a couple pieces too!
Soon we were full from dinner and dusk started to settle in.
Daidri brought battery-operated candles for the table as real candles were not allowed due to the dryness caused by the drought. The candles added such a special touch to our table, even when messy!
After dinner, Daidri and I decided to walk to the area above the ruins to take some photos before the sun set.
We could see our group from above. See Debra in the pink scarf, waving to us?
The crowd was ready to dance off their dinner. Soon the packed dance floor would extend onto the grass. The DJ played great music and everyone seemed to be having a blast!
What a beautiful ending to an incredibly fun event! I will definitely return next year and am thinking about attending their Le Dîner à San Francisco this September. San Francisco was Hand Made Events first location, five years ago.
Be sure to check the Hand Made Events calendar to see if there is a PopUp Dinner headed to a city near you this season. You won’t want to miss it!
In my next post I will share the details about what I wore to the PopUp Dinner event and I have a BIG and exciting announcement to make!
Next week is June’s How I Wear My. The theme this time is Spring Jacket. For more details, including how to participate, visit the HIWM page. The deadline for submission is next Monday, June 1st!
Make it a rich day!
Disclosure: I was given eight tickets to the PopUp Dinner Wine Country in exchange for promotion. All opinions are, as always, my own.