text by SHANI SILVER
photography by SARINA CASS OF RED ANCHOR PHOTO
Georgie Flores, Jared Eng
Jared Eng, founder of Just Jared, the site you’re currently checking on the regular for celeb and entertainment gossip while you should probably be checking work emails, recently celebrated a birthday with a soiree that put any previous picnic parties to shame. On a sunny SoCal day, Laurén LaRocca & Marlan Willardson, Party Designers & Lifestyle Bloggers of Twink + Sis, brought his ideas to life. We chatted with this style savvy team to learn a lesson or two we can use the next time we need to take the party outside.
Jared Eng and his godson, James Knight Newman
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS EVENT? DID JARED HAVE IDEAS IN MIND OR DID HE LEAVE EVERYTHING TO YOU?
Jared wanted a masculine and refined picnic party to celebrate his birthday and we were all for it! Our goal was to make his guests feel like they were at a real spring picnic, with fun games and activities, but with elevated food and decor.
Jared Eng, Jaime King, with son James Knight Newman on left
Laurén LaRocca (Twink + Sis), Marlan Willardson (Twink + Sis)
“GOOD FOOD WAS A MUST BECAUSE MY FRIENDS AND I REALLY APPRECIATE QUALITY BITES”— JARED ENG
WHAT OVERALL AESTHETIC WERE YOU GOING FOR?
Doing a birthday party for a man is something that we don’t get to do very often! We wanted to make it really festive and celebratory, yet sophisticated. So we really played up woods and fresh greens as our main focus. The food table was covered in wood crates, boxes and trays — the continuity of all that wood helped to set the tone. Then we sprinkled in a bit of white (serving pieces and pots) for a touch of modern contrast.
The Iris + Daughter hanging greens installation was one of the main focal points of the party — it was so fresh and alive — really stunning. The splash of copper in the custom signage (from A Dapper Line) added a fun, modern feel to the table.
The other main focal point was the large wooden boat filled with ice and drinks! We had so much fun with that. We made an organic mint lemonade, spiked with vodka and pre-poured them into mason jars. We sealed the jars and tossed them in with the ice (ready for guests to grab), along with a variety of other drinks. We parked a vintage bike behind it and added a cluster of Geronimo fringed balloons. It turned out quite handsome, and festive!
WERE THERE ANY MUST-HAVES THAT JARED FOR SURE WANTED AT THE PARTY?
Jared really wanted to have blankets on the grass to make it like a real “picnic in the park.” We are obsessed with the hand-woven Turkish towels from Odd Bird Company. We layered different prints in blues and greys, and added a mix of pillows on top for cozy lounging. We placed extra blankets in a wire basket where guests could grab one and make a “picnic” wherever they liked. He also wanted polaroid cameras so his guests could take pictures for him to have as keepsakes, so we put together some trays with the cameras and added other fun items like dominos, chips, popcorn and a pretty plant.
Jared wanted classic picnic food, so we went with Heirloom’s yummy sandwiches, a crostini station (filled with cheeses, breads and flatbread pizzas), a green salad, pesto quinoa salad and fresh fruit. We topped Aheirloom’s gorgeous handmade cake stands with eye-popping donuts from Donut Friend and the pièce de ré·sis·tance — an over-the-top, mega delicious caramel drip cake from Whisk and Whittle.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF PULLING THIS EVENT TOGETHER?
We put the party together in ten days, without a location confirmed until just a few days prior. It was a race against time but we were totally game — it was a lot of fun!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COMPONENT OF THE PARTY?
Sometimes the smallest details make us completely giddy. This time is was all about the brass ants! Many guests (and our amazing vendors) were equally smitten. They were definitely a conversation piece!
“MY FAVORITE MEMORY WAS BLOWING EDIBLE BUBBLES FOR MY GODSON JAMES KNIGHT. HE KEPT STICKING HIS TONGUE OUT TRYING TO LICK THE BUBBLES, AND A FEW TIMES HE WENT DOWN TO LICK THE FLOOR TO EAT THE BUBBLES!” — JARED ENG
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU DID HERE THAT EVERYONE SHOULD TRY FOR THEMSELVES AT THEIR NEXT EVENT?
In addition to the greenery installation, we also had a variety of potted plants, succulents and cactus to place around the main food table and at various seating areas at the party. This is a great way to incorporate fresh elements without having to do floral arrangements, especially if your party decor is on the masculine side. You can either give them away as party favors when your guests leave or keep for yourself as home decor.
“LAURÉN AND MARLAN SORTED OUT EVERY DETAIL FROM COLOR, SIZES, SHAPES AND TEXTURES. THE PARTY REALLY CAME TOGETHER AND WE WERE ABLE TO CAPTURE SO MANY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS!” — JARED ENG
WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN THROWING THIS EVENT THAT YOU’LL DEFINITELY USE IN THE FUTURE?
Balloons don’t like direct sunlight!
Birthday Boy — Jared Eng, justjared.com (Founder)
Party Design & Drinks Twink + Sis twinkandsis.com
Location Air bnb airbnb.com
Greens Installation / Potted Greens Iris & Daughter irisanddaughter.com
Copper signage (“Jared’s Picnic”) A Dapper Line adapperline.com
Turkish Towels (Used as picnic blankets) Odd Bird Company oddbirdco.com
Food Table, Aculpulco Chairs, Cornhole, Giant Jenga YEAH! Rentals yeahrentals.com
Wooden Boat, Bicycle, Bench, Tree trunk tables, Various pillows Found Rentals foundrentals.com
Balloons Geronimo Balloons geronimoballoons.com
Food HeirloomLA heirloomla.com
Cake Whisk & Whittle whiskandwhittle.com
Donuts Donut Friend donutfriend.com
Cake stands Aheirloom aheirloom.com
Plates & Forks Leafware leafware.com
Napkins Meri Meri merimeri.com
Brass Ants Arteriors Home arteriorshome.com
Ombré birthday candles Knot & Bow knotandbow.com