When media executives Rebecca and Mitul Patel announced that they were soon to be a party of 3, my friends and I jumped at the chance to celebrate the arrival of their son, Ander. Maybe it was the swarm of boho-style weddings that took over 2016, but my friends and I wanted to host a rustic picnic. Inspired by the rugged beauty of Griffith Park, we did just that.
I opted for a public place with a private feel. Wooded spots in Griffith park are so other-worldly, they book a year in advance. So began an intensive search of L.A. parks. Using Google Maps and satellite, I eliminated rental spaces that were too open, in a playground, too modern or in a dirt patch that passes for a park. I wanted magic. In Pasadena, I found an old live oak shading a wood shelter with a dark patina. I was sold.
Naturally, burlap and twine took center stage, and was accented with polka dots and pine cones plucked from Griffith Park. Fresh sunflowers sat in wine bottles wrapped in vintage lace. We served old-fashioned picnic food: fried chicken, egg salad sandwiches, watermelon, summer salad and an irresistable tower of white powdered doughnuts.
It wouldn’t be a picnic without lemonade, which we served in ceramic pitchers. And a baby shower is never complete without booze, so bottles of Prosecco were popping!
As old friends reunited, they laughed over a group of baby photos clipped to branches with wood clothes hangers. Everyone had submitted baby photos of themselves prior to the shower, and were encouraged to write down who was who, for a chance to win prizes. The hosts, competitive people themselves, could not resist the lure of a good game, and the promise of prizes.
Baby Ander even made an appearance. People fawned all over his chubby cheeks and gummy smile.
Friends that hadn’t seen one another were so excited to be reunited, there was an impromptu 20-minute photo session as people said their goodbyes. It was an afternoon of comfort food, sunshine and laughter. Congratulations to Rebecca and Mitul Patel!