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Article: Havana Nights Gathering

Havana Nights Gathering

Havana Nights Gathering

The height of the summer season is here, which means so is mom’s birthday! As we {Kyle, Sara Kate, and Mary Parker} set out to plan to celebrate, in lieu of a trip to her hometown, Miami, we settled on creating a cultural experience and hosted an inspired dinner party instead. A dinner party that we’ve dubbed ‘Havana Nights’ thanks to its bold, black-based color palette and cues from Cuban cuisine. 
Gather around the table as we celebrate mom and transport ourselves away with a vibrant party featuring a nod to nostalgic old Florida, bold Cuban flavors, and decadent décor. 


The Gathering 

What to do when you can’t travel to a desired destination? Transport yourself and your guests with a themed gathering and bring the destination to your very own dinner party, and that’s exactly what we did for this occasion!  

Pro tip: When choosing a theme for a party, a specific cuisine type or travel destination are a really fun and easy place to start. 
The intentions for this gathering were to be festive, fun, and to take cultural cues and incorporate them thoughtfully into every detail from the décor to the menu. You can explore more of our planning and plotting process and take a peek at the mood board we created to set the tone for this look. 


The Décor 

In our family, it’s not rare that we’ll host at each other’s homes depending on a variety of reasons – size, space, weather, availability, and in some cases... color! Among many other life milestones and happenings our family is currently celebrating, Courtney recently wrapped up the second stage of her home renovation and one of the bolder décor choices she made was lacquering her dining room black. When choosing a final location for this dinner party, we decided to really lean into the ‘nights’ part of the ‘Havana Nights’ theme and, with Courtney’s blessing, host the gathering there!  

With that bold, black base to go from, the rest of the Havana Nights Gathering came together with a beautifully set table and accompanying bar as the main visual elements. Mary Parker arranged lush florals including tall orchids, fluffy peonies, and tulips with terracotta-potted orchids and other tropical plants throughout the entertaining spaces. 


The Table 

Aside from the birthday girl, our not-yet-released Crew Collection was the guest of honor {family business perks!} at the dinner table for our Havana Nights curated gathering. It was perfectly suited for the bold soirée set in an all-black room, especially when paired with the rest of the colorful components. 

While browsing our flagship stores’ recent shipment of our favorite Pomegranate tablecloths, we stowed away a particular punchy pattern to use sometime soon for just the right occasion, and it ended up being this one! 
After layering the Crew Collection dinnerware pieces in a simple stack at each place setting, we broke up the busy pattern with our solid Brass Color Block Napkins and layered Kyle’s collection of Sabre tortoise flatware on top.  
The finishing touches for each place setting were the fluted glassware from Courtney’s personal collection and our favorite ion-shielded Nude Glassware wine glasses for a robust birthday ‘cheers.’ 
The centerpiece of the table was a striking mix of the lush florals and tropical plants Mary Parker thoughtfully arranged, and then she tucked in various candle holders for that irresistible glow. 

Our favorite creative additions to please a birthday girl who is oh-so-appreciative of details? Cleverly placed parrots and cockatoos throughout the party to add a little surprise and delight. 


The Menu 

As the main source of inspiration for the rest of the gathering, the menu made up of All-Cuban Cuisine was one of the first decisions made during the party-planning process. 

We culled a few of our favorite family recipes from our cumulative collection and included a few new ones to create a flavor-filled experience for everyone’s taste buds: 

  • Cocktail: Old Cuban Cocktail 
  • Main: Cuban Pork Sandwiches with Tomato Jam 
  • Sides: 
  • Fried Green Plantains 
  • 1905 Salad 
  • Dessert:  
  • Key Lime Pie... Laura’s favorite! 
The recipes were fairly easy to make on their own, and a good mix of some key traits that make entertaining a bit easier... 
  • The Cumin Spiced Pulled Pork Recipe we used for the Cuban Pork Sandwiches can be made a day or two ahead and pre-shredded. 
  • The Cuban Sandwiches can be assembled hours ahead and pre-wrapped in foil, so all there’s left to do is grill! 
  • The individual ingredients for the 1905 salad can be chopped and stored ahead of time, leaving just assembly and tossing at the time of the party. 
  • While a homemade Key Lime Pie would have been scrumptious for certain, a storebought version is just as yummy and can be “dressed” up with a little bit of festive garnish.  
We served the entire menu tableside to encourage everyone to remain seated and relish in each other’s company at the beautifully set table. 


The Final Look 

Celebrating Laura was the perfect mid-summer treat for us to bring our whole family together amidst a busy season in all of our lives, and we hope you feel inspired to gather together with your family and host with this finished Havana Nights Gathering look, too! 

Oh, and ...Happy Birthday, mom!

Kyle, Sara Kate, and Mary Parker 

Bonus tip: No need to save this idea for someone from Florida... or even for a birthday! This soirée would be wonderful for an extra-special dinner party with friends, a potluck neighborhood party, or a supper club theme. The best part? It’s done for you! All you have to do is stock up on the essentials... and execute. 

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