Seaside Picnic with Sterling Social

With warmer weather here to stay we’re making up for lost time and planning lots of outdoor gatherings with our closest friends and family.  While we love a more traditional outdoor gathering at home, there’s nothing quite as relaxing or beautiful than dining al fresco by the sea!

Credit: Molly Rose

 We’ve asked our friends and event planners extraordinaire, Angela Margolis and Erin Sprinkel of Sterling Social, to help us create a dreamy oceanside picnic.  They designed this serene setup on the cliffs of Palos Verdes, California and we are so excited to finally share it with you.

 Read on for a full breakdown of the shoppable look and for a step-by-step guide on how to recreate this relaxed and dreamy spread!



 Credit: Molly Rose


CC:  When hosting an outdoor event how do you determine to use or forgo a more traditional dining table experience?

SS: We’re always big fans of switching up dining experiences to feel unique and special! We like to play off the existing setting we’re in so the design aesthetic looks natural and the experience itself feels organic. Warmer months lend themselves to casual entertaining and anything by the beach feels relaxed and understated. A coastal picnic can have a carefully curated feel, but the environment will still make you want to kick off your shoes, cozy up in a blanket and let the wind blow through your hair!


Credit: Molly Rose 

CC: For this picnic, our only ask was that the backdrop be the ocean! Can you tell us about your inspiration for this event and your design process?

SS: We wanted this event to feel casual and classically coastal. A picnic setting naturally has a more relaxed feel and the signature blue and white color palette of Cailini Coastal was the perfect way to bring this one to life! To create a neutral base we used woven indoor / outdoor rugs on the ground, which were not only functional but also added a fun textural element. Layers of soft, colorful throws  and groupings of patterned pillows elevated the overall look and created the most comfortable experience to watch the sunset. The goal for this intimate event was to create a look that could be recreated using your own favorite décor pieces from home.



 Credit: Molly Rose


CC: We love the idea of using indoor pieces in outdoor entertaining! Sometimes you forget these pieces can be so versatile. When do you opt for outdoor specific products vs indoor?

SS: Absolutely! Most indoor pieces can certainly be used in an outdoor setting. In this case we elevated the feel of the picnic by using actual flatware rolled up in linen napkins with beautiful napkin rings. We also utilized glass tumblers and a pitcher (vs. disposables) as this is easy to do with an intimate setting! It makes the experience feel thoughtful and more special than the typical “take out” feel of a picnic. These subtle accents also become your décor! The only time we recommend sticking to outdoor specific pieces is if they will be outside with inclement weather for long periods of time or if you’re poolside – stick to acrylic instead of glass!



Credit: Molly Rose

CC: When it comes to appetizers or small bites, what do you think the best food options are to ensure you have something everyone will love and can conveniently eat with their hands?

SS:  Light bites and appetizers are always the easiest way to accommodate everyone’s food preferences. A traditional charcuterie board provides various options for people to pick and choose what they want – from meats and cheeses to seasonal fruits and crackers. They’re colorful, beautiful and plentiful! We specifically LOVE the boards that Cailini Coastal carries because not only do they look incredible styled with food, but they also become a decorative piece in your kitchen when not in use.

CC:  Since you’re not at home and don’t have close access to a refrigerator, what’s the best way to keep food and beverages from spoiling?

SS: Put it on ice! A stylish ice bucket is an entertaining staple. This one completed the picnic look, right? We love the intricate detailing in the design and the bamboo handle. Rose on ice instantly sets the tone.
 Credit: Molly Rose
CC: What other elements do you feel add an extra special touch to the décor and experience?
SS: As we wanted this picnic to have a coastal feel, we added decorative objects that had a quintessential beachy feel. A woven tray set with seashells and blue glass beads, a basket filled with handpicked blooms and overall styling with an effortless feel. Having an intentional color palette or design aesthetic can make even the simplest settings feel extra special.
Credit: Molly Rose

CC:  Can you share a recipe of a favorite summer cocktail or beverage you would serve with this spread?

SS: Oh – it’s hard to choose, so we’ll share two! Both with sunset colored hues.

An Aperol Spritz is always a happy hour favorite…

 Sunset Spritz

1 ¼ oz Aperol

2 oz Prosecco

Splash of Soda Water

Pour over Ice

Garnish with an Orange Wedge

 There’s nothing more refreshing than a Paloma by the beach…

 Coastal Cooler

2 oz Blanco Tequila

2 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice

2 oz Sparkling Water

½ oz Lime Juice

¼ oz Agave Nectar

Pour over Ice

Garnish with a Salt Rim and Grapefruit Wedge

For more information on Sterling Social Events + Experiences visit their website and follow @sterling_social on Instagram.  

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