STYLING: Summer Dinner Party Video

Summer Dinner Party

I know it’s cliche as hell but damn I’ve been busy. Like wake up early to do some work, go to work, come home and work kinda busy. Which is why I’m a little bit behind on the blog updates. But it’s all good stuff! So let’s just take advantage of my tardiness and pretend like it’s a stunning Summer day in August when I worked on this amazing video project that I’ve been dying to share with you.

Earlier in the Summer my photographer pal Maya told me she wanted to start doing more motion work and was wondering if I was interested in styling a video with her and some other creative peeps. The theme was a dinner at dusk with friends on a Summer eve. My answer was yup, yes, hell yeah.


I immediately thought of my favourite wine people, Kendall-Jackson Wineries, as a perfect fit for this project and they jumped on board which was amazing for everyone involved. They were such a natural fit that it wasn’t really a hard sell and they gave us complete creative freedom. They’re what dreams are made of when it comes to clients and collaborators. Cheers to that!

So let’s start with the end. After about 4 weeks of scrambling and the efforts of a talented team, we pulled together this beautiful video that just makes you salivate for Summer…and a glass of wine. You can hardly forget about the heat. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore the long, colorful and hot days spent with friends. Of course, the heat is more manageable when you have an air conditioner, like the kind found at, to help when it does get scorching!

Direction & Cinamatrophy: Maya Visnyei, Rico Moran
Styling: Melissa DiRenzo
Food Styling: Melanie Stuparyk

Isn’t it sweet? Did I forget to mention that I have a cameo? Hey, we were on a budget and some of our ‘actors’ bailed on us the day of (the nerve!).

It was a lot of work to pull together but it was such a satisfying day. I have a few behind the scenes to share with you. I think it’s always pretty cool to see what’s happening behind the camera. Oh did I mention that I left my phone at home that day? (idiot). Yes, obviously there were cameras there to catch the action but it’s not the same as snapping a few shots of my own POV of the day. Anyway…
The team worked so well together and it really was amazing to see all these small pieces come together to make one great piece. Here’s our camera man and co-leader Rico with his really big camera nerd toy. And by ‘toy’ I mean more expensive than you want to know.

Behind the Scenes, bhs, summer video, dinner party, brand video,

And here’s yours truly setting up the table. I can’t tell you how much I loved styling this scene. It took a little self control not to go colour crazy but here’s the proof folks – I AM capable of creating a modern and neutral look. There isn’t one single vintage item on that table. Of course I couldn’t completely hold back and went for a beautiful and fresh floral colour palette. It is summer after all, give me a break.


The only vintage pieces are the fab wicker end chairs which I found at my fav consignment shop, The Millionaire’s Daughter. I bet whoever gave those up are having regrets.


It definitely takes an army to pull off something as pretty as this. The thing with video is that it’s all about different angles and cutting to different scenes and shots so there’s lots of moving pieces that don’t really make sense until it all magically comes together in editing. Rico spent a bunch of time just shooting the surroundings which you don’t really think about as part of the story until you watch the video and realize that they really help to set the scene.
Summer-Video-BTS-1 Summer-Video-BTS-2

Oh and that beautiful sun dappling spread over the table top? Yeah, that’s the photo assistant holding up a card full of holes. Sorry! I mean the sun was real, we just helped it shine.


Something else I learned about video is the repetition. Pouring that glass of wine? Yeah try that 4 more times from 3 different angles, then we got it!

Summer-Video-BTS-4 Summer-Video-BTS-7

After the table was set my job as the stylist was over and my job as Melissa, the actress began. To me the most impressive and magical part of video is the editing. I mean obviously you have to have great material to work with but the way that editing can tell a story and make it all work together amazes me. Rico and Maya did an amazing job directing this project and I can’t even imagine how many hours Rico put into editing the piece. The whole crew was amazing and working on this project really solidified for me that this is what I want to be doing.

Last but definitely not least, thanks to Kendall-Jackson Wines for their sponsorship and support and giving us the freedom to flex our creative muscles. Be sure to visit their blog to check out all the delicious recipes.


Summer Dinner Party

Cheers to long summers and late nights!

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