Copper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party

This was such a fun event to photograph! Smash Cake SoCal asked me to photograph their Copper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party in Santa Clarita, California. You may have heard of Smash Cake SoCal from Suzy’s bohemian baby shower which was featured last year on the blog. Angie and Monika are spectacular party planners. If you haven’t hired them for a birthday, dinner party, baby shower, etc.. you definitely should.

This wasn’t just any regular dinner party. It was a date night cooking + cocktails party. And in lieu of Cinco de Mayo this weekend, I had to feature this amazing Mexican/southwestern event. Life is but a Dish hosted the cooking segment of this couple date night. Laney taught everyone how to make carne asada, enchilada casserole, fresh salsa… is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is. Tacos anyone? I know what I’ll be doing this Saturday!


You’ll find the whole shoot on Smash Cake SoCal’s feature: Copper & Cactus Dinner Party.

Here is what they wrote:

In our opinion, one of the best parts of attending a cooking class is getting to eat what you’ve cooked. If we’re going to have a delicious meal and good cocktails with our friends sans a bunch of kids, we want the setting to be stunning and memorable. The table looked amazing under the market lights. The warm ambiance provided by the candles made us feel warm and connected (if we do say so ourselves). We are absolutely thrilled with the way everything came together.

We’ve fallen hard for the cacti and succulent trend sweeping the design industry. So, we decided run with it. We were able to pull from our own resources to help keep our decor costs more affordable. Like shopping our homes for anything copper or rose gold and borrowing chairs from friends instead of renting them. Our friends’ beautiful home provided the perfect setting with lush landscaping and view of the surrounding hills.


The impetus for this event was my (Angie’s) friend’s kitchen remodel. Earlier this year, she tore out her old oak cabinets and tile countertops and put in all white cabinets, white marbled porcelain countertops and a gorgeous copper hood. I have total kitchen envy. The first time I saw the completed remodel, the event planner in me got all excited and starting strategizing details for a cooking class & dinner party. Fortunately, she loved the idea and agreed to open up her kitchen and her back yard, which backs up to rugged, desert mountains. It was the ideal setting for the end-of-summer sunset dinner party I was envisioning.


opper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party | Santa Clarita Photographer

opper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party | Santa Clarita Photographer

opper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party | Santa Clarita Photographer



opper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party | Santa Clarita Photographer


After a recent visit to cactus-filled Arizona, Monika came up with idea to go with a southwestern theme for our dinner. We love the cactus trend and are always willing to purchase more “plant babies” that can later be used to decorate our homes. And we totally blame Instagram, but anything in the family of tacos and margaritas sounds good any day of the week (is it just us or are doughnuts and tacos everywhere just to tempt us?). We also wanted to use our newly acquired set of vintage goblets and a variety of chargers we’ve been collecting, and this resulted in a fun, eclectic look. For a color scheme, we started with the copper and terra cotta containers that held the cacti and found pretty shades of teal and blue that would coordinate.

We set one huge table for everyone to sit at with a random assortment that looked really cute together. Our centerpiece was a myriad of cacti and succulents, candles, and rose gold geometric shapes atop a jute table runner. Each guest’s place was set with a charger (we’re seriously dying over the copper charger shown above), plate, napkin, flatware, vintage goblet, menu (designed by Monika), and cactus tea light favor. The completed look was absolutely stunning.

Copper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party


Margarita Bar

In our opinion, the perfect alcoholic compliment to any southwestern meal is tequila. When Deborah told us she was going to do a Margarita Bar, we were thrilled! We’ve been itching to use a mint green potting bench that Monika recently obtained. This provided a splendid opportunity. We added a few simple decorative elements like the cutest little cactus marquee you ever did see, a calavera, cactus garland, and of course, a letterboard with a clever saying (because every party needs one). To learn the secret to making the perfect margarita, head over to our cocktails class post.



The three necessary components of any good dinner party are food, drink and decor. And with the combined help of Life is But a Dish and Clever Little Madam, we were able to offer our guests just that. After an evening of class time, we all came together for a delicious meal. We were under ambient market lighting with our date and our friends, both new and old.

To see our full drink and food menu for evening (and snag most of the yummy recipes), check out our post on the Class Time.

opper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party | Santa Clarita Photographer

opper & Cactus Sunset Dinner Party | Santa Clarita Photographer




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