Rooftop dinner party? Talk about summer dreams come true! Styled by Kelsea Olivia of East Oliva Creative and shot by Sarah Gerber of Twenty Twenty Studios, this rooftop dinner party was inspired by the many evenings the pair have dined together. According to Kelsea, “While Sarah and I live on opposite coasts, we are often connecting to one another about our various creative endeavors. Last spring and summer my husband and I were lucky enough to have both Sarah and her husband, David, visit our NYC home several times. In fact they spent more time at our home in Harlem than they did in their own home in Berkeley during this season!”

Assisted by East Olivia collaborator Bridget Murphy, this shoot was inspired by the meals that the two shared with friends (new and old) on Kelsea’s roof in the city. “We wanted to bring to life the beauty of gathering with one’s community, to life, and that is what brought this shoot together.” Below are Kelsey’s top tips for planning a casual summer party.

Always leave room for one more. “While keeping an open door, may, at times make planning a little more stressful (that constant question of do I have enough food and drinks for everyone?) I never regret it. One of the greatest joys of hosting is inviting new friends into our home and community.”

Have fun! “This may sound trite but I find it to be critical to creating an authentic space for others to connect. For me, having fun is creating what some may feel is an “elaborate” or “unnecessarily styled” space even when having just a few friends over for a casual dinner. The truth is though, that for me – arranging flowers, bringing out my celebratory dinnerware and making a pretty cocktail are some of the simple things that bring me joy and are a part of my own creative expression.”

Don’t overthink it! “I am motivated by bringing others together in our home and so to make that possible time and time again, we have to keep things simple. That means making a simple meal that we’ve maybe made before – or at times, even ordering in! For this meal shown here we ordered some of our favorite food from a local restaurant called Street Bird. I love supporting local businesses and making the evening a little less fussy all at the same time.”