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253 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA


Solutions for private events of under 40 people: a downtown San Francisco venue, event services, and a sharp collection of rentals.


News & Inspiration

Planning: A Committee of Two

Jen Wu

  1. Only plan with one other person (or max two others).

  2. Set boundaries for overbearing people.

  3. Designate one main planner for vendor communications.


Photo: Sierra Fish

1. Only really plan with one other person (or max two others).

Of course, it depends on the people. You may have a tight-knit group of friends or family members that are just always in sync, and it could even be enjoyable with four or more co-coordinators. But usually, when you've got more than one or two others helping to make decisions, the enjoyment of planning the event takes a rather large tumble.

You can still involve those who want to be involved! Just have them help with the hands-on tasks (if you're DIYing a lot, you'll need the extra hands) - for example, picking up and/or arranging flowers the day before, designing and making printed menus or a menu board, or putting together a playlist. Since all these details can come together before the day of the event, you won't be running around with tons of people and details to coordinate at the event.


2. Set boundaries for overbearing people.

Think about family members trying to make you do things that they'd like for their own wedding. This is still sometimes true for more casual celebrations, just to a lesser extent (but sometimes with more people). Even for business events some co-planners have grandiose plans that don't consider the budget or deviate from the main purpose of the event.

"I appreciate your thoughts on it, but we're not going to go in that direction" is a direct phrase you can use repetitively if they push.


3. Designate one main planner for vendor communications.

When you have more than one person booking, asking questions, and paying, you get confusion. It doesn't matter if the vendor decisions are made by groupthink; one person should be in charge of all the vendor communication (for all vendors), from reaching out to final payment, and sending any information like rules or prices to the appropriate other guests or hired staff. When you don't, you run the risk of information being sent to a a person that may not read it or pass it along to the correct people. The main communications person can copy a co-coordinator, just so everyone's in the loop, but it's best for that person to remain the contact person outside of extenuating circumstances.


Planning becomes streamlined with a custom package. Cookhouse handles a-la-carte vendor selection according to your preferences and budget (changes are certainly allowed), and you just tell us the time of the party and the number of guests, and show up for your event. Check out our Packages & Services page for some ideas of how we can help put together an event with personal touches and no hassle on your end.

Garland - Not Just for the Holidays

Jen Wu

Crystal & Martin's gorgeous floral tablescape with a jasmine garland.

Photo: Catalina Jean Photography.

With all of the holiday parties, company dinners, and festive receptions this past month, we've seen decor of all types and styles. Some groups go the traditional route, with red and green tablescapes, soft lighting to accent the room, and plenty of Christmas tunes. Others choose silver and gold decor throughout the venue, keeping the theme sleek and shimmery. Whatever your design preference, a table garland is reliably delightful.

But why save garland just for the chilly months? Natural garland is here to stay! Our favorite garlands are lush and green, accented with bright flowers, candles, or even small party favors for the guests to take home. Garland allows you to skip the vases and water (or adds to it!) and let the foliage artfully spill onto the table.

Here are some simple pointers if you plan on decorating with a table garland:

  1. Know the table length. If you are trying to achieve a more formal look, make sure your garland is within a couple inches of the table length. If you are trying to achieve a more organic and artful look, add an extra foot to hang off either side of the table (assuming no one is sitting at the ends).
  2. Know your budget. Garland is typically priced by the foot and range in price depending on complexity and lushness. If you're working on a budget, don't be afraid to get a basic arrangement and add in some flowers yourself!
  3. Know your table settings. If you think the chargers, wine glasses, and other items on the table will take up a lot of room, adjust the fullness of your garland accordingly, or consider table vases instead.

Whether it be a memorable baby shower, formal birthday party, or breathtaking wedding, share your garland pics with us on Instagram @cookhousesf. Happy planning!

The Magic of Floral Tape

Jen Wu

Here's a neat trick professional florists use. Floral tape creates a grid at the opening of your vase, so that stems stay where you want them, for lush and full-looking arrangements. Here's how to use it.

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Time for an update!

Jen Wu

The past year has been a momentous one.  

We've added rentals - both the beautiful kind and the basic kind - for both onsite and offsite events.  We'll have a separate post about it after we're done with the dishes, literally and metaphorically.

Read More