Lukas & Suzy International Wedding Photographers » Blog

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  • WELCOME!

    Welcome to the blog! If the banner doesn't make it obvious enough I'll just spill the beans and let you know that we are a full time husband and wife wedding photography team. We love life, God, weddings, and if you slide over our names to the left you'll note a few other things we love.

    We are based out of Los Angeles, and when I say that, I mean our studio is right in the smack dab center of downtown. However, if you start browsing through the blog history you will soon note that we shoot weddings all over the country and world. We put a lot into making our images so I hope you enjoy checking some of them out!

    If you're up for having a great time at your wedding, and our photos have the look you are going for, then feel free to shoot us a note and we would love to chat some more!

    - Lukas and Suzy VanDyke

Reviving the Dinner Party {A Meal for Eight}

I remember when I was nine years old I told my Mom I wanted to have a dinner party. I asked if she could invite some people over and I would do the rest. I spent a good amount of time setting the table, cleaning the house, and adding all the little details I could think of. I don’t recall what we did for food, and I don’t think anyone other than our family came, but I did really enjoying the whole process and couldn’t wait until I had my own house so I could do it all the time. Ok, I will admit I was a strange nine-year-old. =)

Since we have been married I’ve estimated Suzy and I have had over 350 different people a year over to our house. The only downside is that most of those people came for parties, church events, workshops and portrait things. They’ve all been fun, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of awesome people. But only a handful of those events were small dinners or one-on-one scenarios that facilitated enough time to sit down and have a real extended conversation with any one person. It hit me recently that I could solve that problem by reviving the old tradition of having a dinner for eight.

I love going to Starbucks, and there are few things more fun to me than a coffee meet up with a friend. But there is something about having someone over to your home the makes you vulnerable, real, and invites extended friendships. A coffee shop or restaurant is a great place to meet, but I feel like if I ONLY do that I can sometimes throw off an unintentional vibe that says “I don’t want you to know about my real life”. Having people over breaks away from that and says “I’m real!”

So here’s the advantages:
– You get to spend an extended more in depth time with a smaller group of people.
– Your guests get to meet and make contacts with new people.
– Your guests get a free meal.
– It’s a great excuse to decorate your house.
– It’s a good reason to do some deep cleaning every so often.
– It’s INCREDIBLY fun!

All said we decided to jump in and do it! Thanks so much those of you who came! I hope to have many more! For those of you who are thinking of doing your own dinner party I put A LOT of details at the bottom with my sources for everything involved. I hope you enjoy the photos & tips, and would love to hear ideas for future dinners!

Here’s a little info on all my sources.

Sheer Curtains and Table Clothes: Downtown LA Fabric district has sheer for $1  a yard, and the table clothe, and chair covers were $2 a yard. I ripped all the shear into 8 inch wide by 12 foot long strips and then screwed twine to the ceiling in a square around the table. I then hung and knotted the shear.

Dinnerware: Each piece of silverware was a different antique style,  and can be found at Fishy Finds in Simi. I spent a good deal of time looking through boxes of silverware to find a lot of unique individual pieces that all looked cool. The plates, cups, wine glasses, and water carafes are from various Goodwill Stores. Goodwill usually has the widest range of dishes for cheap. We spent some time making sure everyone had a unique wine glass as well.

Table Decorations: The candle holders, books, and some of the cameras, and the vintage twine I hung the sheer from is all also from Fishy Finds! See my blog on it, the place is incredible.  The paper flowers were made from book pages and there is a tutorial on the Tasteful Tatters blog on how to make them… Suzy put a bobby pin in the back of hers and wore one in her hair as well!  The name tags were made using a little stamp kit we got from Michael’s which has all the letters from the alphabet. I think it was under $5.

Chandelier: The chandelier is from a thrift store called “Collectible Thrift” 7118 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. Other than Fishy Finds, Collectible Thrift  has the best deals on all the coolest things, a great place for chandeliers, lamps, picture frames, and some bedroom furniture at unbelievably good prices. Although I wasn’t sure if they existed at first, I eventually found 11 watt light bulbs at Home Depot. I LOVE the soft light.

Meal: Most of the food was from Trader Joes, but the best place to get Jarritos Soda is at Food4Less. It’s only .58 cents a bottle! I love that stuff, and it’s so bright it makes great photos.

I hope the ideas help and are some inspiration as your create your down dinner parties! Feel free to Pinterest the photos!

 

March 19, 2012 - 7:36 am

Laurie Price - LOVE the complimentary colors! LOVE the vintage, mismatched tableware, and Gary would love the light fixture with the special bulbs! Better yet, the intimate, special feel of the table area. Makes the guests feel special. I read long ago, that surprise, as guests progress to various new places during the event. From little kid birthday parties, to weddings, it always holds true. I’m sure as your friends walked in and saw they’d be dining in a room within a room, they knew it was going to be a memorable occasion, and they felt loved!

March 19, 2012 - 9:05 am

Kristin Casebolt - You two are awesome that’s all I have to say.=) I love seeing your creativity through everything you do!

March 19, 2012 - 9:15 am

Linda - wow, looks like a styled photo shoot. amazing and inexpensive ideas. love it.

March 19, 2012 - 9:36 am

Laura Pedrino - We LOVED being a part of your Dinner Party! You have forever changed the way we do dinner :)

March 19, 2012 - 10:00 am

Meghan Lubeck | Meghan Christine Photography - You guys know I love anything you do! So how do you get cool enough to be invited to one of these parties?? ;)

March 19, 2012 - 10:01 am

Amber Murphy - Absolutely loved being a part of this dinner for eight! It was a perfect evening. Also, these photos are gorgeous, as usual =)

March 19, 2012 - 11:22 am

erin @WELL in L.A. - Wow! I want to score an invite to a dinner party like this! The creativity and detail makes for such a memorable dining occasion! Thank you for the beautiful post and photos.

March 19, 2012 - 4:37 pm

estella - Inspiring!

You know, the first thing I thought is that the sheer hanging streamers reminds me of the scene in The Little Mermaid when the boat enters a grotto with weeping willow hanging down around them. (i.e. http://nerdgirltalking.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/littlemermaid.jpg) Haha.

March 19, 2012 - 5:48 pm

Haley - I am inspired!

March 19, 2012 - 10:04 pm

Laurie Price - Lukas, the event planner I was thinking of was Colin Cowie. Don’t remember the book, but for what it’s worth…he had some neat ideas, about 15 years ago :)

March 29, 2012 - 6:44 pm

Rose - L.O.V.E.!!

April 6, 2012 - 7:01 am

Corned Beef & Cabbage | Dinner for Twelve | Lukas VanDyke - International Wedding Photographer - […] majority of the decorations were left over from our last DINNER PARTY HERE but there were a few […]

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