One of my good friends and neighbors, Nicole Hirsch Whitaker, is a director of photography and just finished a six-week long Nokia campaign that shot in Portugal, England, Iceland and Denmark. Whilst at her house on Sunday, I was so taken with her photos of a dinner party she attended in Copenhagen last week that I asked her if I could post them. She kindly agreed.
They serve as a personal reminder to me that creating a magical evening doesn't need to involve fancy table settings and a time-consuming elaborate menu. The nights I remember most are the ones in which the dining table became a private repository for laughter, recollections and sharing future plans. I departed feeling that my soul had been nourished, not just my stomach.
Let's look and learn, shall we?
1. Less fuss = less stress.
The unadorned wooden table, the casual relaxed atmosphere, the rustic pleasures of sharing an informal alfresco meal with friends -- it's enough. It's more than enough.
2. Food-wise, keep it simple.
Stick with fresh and seasonal. Here, freshly-baked bread, lettuce from the garden and homemade chili followed by gigantic bowls of caught-that-day crayfish did the trick and more.
3. Never underestimate the power of fading light.
Dusk is a dinner party's golden hour. People lean in closer, secrets are shared, friendships are forged. Everything becomes more intimate. These unselfconscious moments are what your guests will remember the next day, even more than the dessert.
4. Let the dishes be.
Conversations over the remains of a meal are always the most memorable. I don't know exactly why this is, but it is. Once the plates are cleared away, so is the mood.
(All photographs by Nicole Hirsch Whitaker)