seated dinner tablescapes – the latest tabletop


Chances are you’re having a seated dinner for your wedding, and you’re scouring the web for tabletop inspiration in the form of detailed + thoughtful tablescapes. Never fear, mes amies- I’ve done that for you. Remember you’re dealing with an official fine china nut- the kinda girl who never even considered not having fine china in a mashup of several different patterns with cachepots and soup tureens to boot! I think I even own an épergne. Gold star for the girl who knows what that elusive but fabulous animal is.

Some rainy Saturday, you can likely be found giddily scanning teacup bar code after dessert plate bar code with abandon throughout your registry shops, theoretically snapping up all the Herend + Anna Weatherley you can find for your in-home tablescape fabulosity. Another weekend may find you perusing the warehouses of your local event rental companies- which likely leaves you a bit dismayed at the grim selection, especially in comparison to your registry experience. We can fix that, too!

Top tips for setting a stunning tablescape for your big day:

1. Study the images below:

. . . and of course turn to our lookbook for inspiration, and obvi stalk our Pinterest if you’re not already. Note how layered and nuanced the below place settings are, and how that makes them incredibly impactful. Ask yourself questions like- are we pouring 2 different wines? How about champagne? Do I like mismatched glassware? Do I want a layered plate look? Can I track down an amazing softly colored napkin or perhaps implement a pattern? What will my menu card look like and what will its placement be? I could go on + on- that’s why you need a “me“. (wink)

2. Narrow down what matters most.

If you’re not getting married near a major city with fine tabletop rentals, consider the option of box-to-ship. Several high-end rental companies will ship you “light” and non-fragile items like flatware . . . a great example of a game-changer tabletop addition that takes up the space of a shoebox shipping-wise.

3. Call in the big guns.

If you’re a tablescape aficionado, you’re going to have to call for reinforcements. White-with-gold-rim china just isn’t gonna cut it; don’t worry, I get it. Casa de Perrin, DC Rental, Snyder Rentals, Eventworks, and Small Masterpiece are just a few of our favorite creative partners across the country to tap for fine china collections, delicate crystal stemware, and fabby flatware.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask. 

You may not be the only bride asking for custom whitewashed Marie Antoinette chairs. For example, if you’re having a 250 person seated dinner and you’re willing to commit a reasonable financial piece toward your dream rental item, ask a few different rental companies if they’ll invest on your behalf and still sub-rent to you at a fraction of the actual investment. You know what they say: if you don’t ask, the answer is always “no”.

Tablescape + Tabletop inspiration via www.calderclark.com | How to set dinner service

I love the simplicity of the LH tablescape, with its delicate garland + such. The right hand calligraphy infographic is the perfect image to screenshot + save so you know how to set a table properly. Bright + happy wedding tablescape | design: David Stark | photo: Aaron Delesie | featured in @marthastewartweddings | find more inspo @ www.calderclark.com

If I could only pick one designer in my field who inspires, it would have to be David Stark. This tablescape he designed for his client blew me away with its charm + whimsy. Shot by Aaron Delesie, this wedding was featured in Martha Stewart WeddingsInspired blue tablescapes via @marthastewartweddings + Valentino | find more inspo @ www.calderclark.com

The LH image speaks volumes in its simplicity: gold flatware on deep blue linens topped with crisp white china and a powder blue napkin- all surrounded by such quotidian items such as cabbage + radishes . . . perfection, thanks to Martha. Valentino nails it (natch) in the RH image with his gorgeous chinoiserie collection of Chinese porcelain, his monogrammed napkins, and his denim blue Battenberg lace overlays. Here is another one of his famous fêtes– le sigh. Peak of chic.Horn flatware + cork charger tablescape on kiwi linen | design: @calderclark | photo: A Bryan Photo | location: Lowndes Grove #greenwedding #charlestonwedding

We had a ball with our bride Meg layering kiwi upholstery-weight linen with cork chargers, flaxen hemstitch napkins, horn handled flatware, linen-wrapped votives, and simple stemware. I used antique wood weights as table numbers for a touch of rustic flair. via A Bryan PhotoWhite tablescape via @marthastewartweddings + pale green tablescape via @verandamag | find more inspo @ www.calderclark.com/blog

These two have been in my style files for a long time. The hint of blue on the left keeps the overall look crisp, and I love the flatware, the table numbers printed on the table, the dip-dyed votives, the heavy-lipped modern charger, and the simple rocks glass as water glass. (via Martha Stewart Weddings, shot by Petra Bindel) On the right is a snap from one of my favorite French weddings as featured in Veranda. The Ladurée goodies are spot on and add a hint of pistachio to an otherwise white-on-white scheme, and the chocolate velvet ribbon band + lamb’s ear elevate the already stunning Bernard Maisner calligraphy menu. Heart. Classic + traditional tablescape shot by Rylee Hitchner | find more inspo @ www.calderclark.com/blog

I love this image from Rylee Hitchner. The soft blue patterned charger and gold calligraphy menu card + place card complement the trailing blooms + golden roses perfectly. Pink + Gold tablescape via PrettyStuff.tumblr.com + swiss dot cream-on-cream setting via @josevilla

 

The pink, gold, and gray table setting shot by José Villa is a total win for several different reasons, not the least of which is the beautiful charger (carried by several companies like Event Rentals Unlimited, if you want to track it down!) On the right is one of my favorite tone-on-tone snaps from Pretty Stuff, if only for the dotted swiss effect the linen gives the neutral tablescape.

 

Romantic Candlelit Wedding Round-up


Nothing tops a candlelit wedding flooded with tapers, votive light, lantern light, + tiny twinkle lights.  I have yet to meet a bride who doesn’t say within moments of speaking for the first time: “oh, and I want tons of candlelight- just boatloads.” Aww- bless your heart, don’t we all?!

We most often find ourselves on a private property in the middle of nowhere, building out a wedding from the ground up- our favorite kind. The blank slate is a designer’s dream, and it gives me the opportunity to think like an architect, developer, general contractor, + decorator all-in-one. Creating truly experiential weddings is way easier without four walls + a bunch of silly rules to hem you in.

That being said, wind is NOT our friend. Folks tend to think we fear rain the most, so let me set the record straight. For starters, we don’t fear anything- we’ve meticulously planned + pre-arranged for plans A, B, C, and D. Rain has never ruined a wedding of ours; if anything, it’s an ice breaker and a bit of drama to add to the existing magic.

Wind, on the other hand, is my mortal enemy. Cue my Dark Sky app, which golf pros + planners alike use to call the ball (ha- pun intended) and to check wind velocity. Creating elegant + seamless weddings up and down the coast makes for a constant “breeze”- which is positively delightful for everyone but those of us trying to keep candlelit weddings aglow. Let’s just say we keep Bic’s stick lighter division in business.

A few of our favorite sources for candlelit wedding bits + bobs:

1. Tapers

Mole Hollow rocks the Casbah with nuanced colors, multiple sizes in thickness + height, lovely customer service, and pretty packaging to boot. The candles themselves have this linen-like texture that we totally heart.

Creative Candles is our absolute go-to, especially for their tall spindly skinny minnies + minimalistic diminutive glass taper holder cubes. Don’t miss their color Paris Gray- it’s the best.

2. Votives

Jamali Garden is where we start when we’re digging deeply for just the right series of votive to flood every surface for that first layer or level of candlelight. Just don’t call with item-specific questions if you’re in a fragile state- they’re as New Yawk-ish as it gets and are almost comically terse on the phone.

Accent Decor either has it, or no one does. They truly stay on top of trends and have an über sleek site that makes shopping a breeze. To the trade only.

3. Candelabra

This is where it gets a bit sticky. There are plenty of hideous ones available for rent, but no thanks. I love the simplicity of super clean-lined glass ones, and of course antique burnished brass ones with a barley twist or simple design. The same goes for candlesticks, to be honest. If you’re really looking to invest, this may help:

Abigail’s is a to-the-trade-only beautiful tabletop company with some phenomenal china, glassware, and the like.

4. Lanterns

Be prepared to throw down. More is more with lanterns- in quantity used, height, quality of materials, + durability. We have the insider track on a decade’s worth of wholesale resources for lanterns, but we’ll be sharing those resources in an innovative + thoughtful way in months to come.

Restoration Hardware always stocks a range of about 5-6 types, like the Santorini that totally fills up one of our creative partner’s warehouses.

Pottery Barn is the good ole stand-by for rope handles, powder coated paint treatments, and a semi-coastal vibe.

Target  has their in-house line Threshold, which totally crushed it. I’m telling you, someone at corporate stole someone from Kate Spade or Tory Burch or somewhere legit because the patterns, textures, finishes, and colors are spot on.

West Elm has fresh, clean, simple lanterns for that candlelit effect that fills our dreams.

Top tip: scented candles at any affair where food is being served is not okay, period. You won’t want “Eau de Laundry” to cross paths with Kobe beef, k? Annnd- if we’re going there, it must be stated that 1982 called and it wants its mulberry-colored floating pillar ball candles back.

Here’s a roundup from fabby brides out there who swap (albeit amazing + memorable) al fresco dining, dancing under the stars, and ceremonies under ancient oaks for architectural detail, soaring ceilings, terra firma, and abundant candlelight.

Christian Oth Candlelit Wedding Christian Oth captured this golden candlelit wedding perfectly- just as expertly as Sean Connell for Christian Oth captured one of our candlelit weddingsCandlelit Wedding at Old Edwards Inn

At the Old Edwards Inn, we layered in beeswax candles for a textured + traditional vibe, shot by Tec Petaja and featured in Martha Stewart WeddingsCandlelit Wedding by Christian Oth

Once again, the CO team nails it. I love how simple + classic their bride kept her long estate tables, especially because she selected soaring skinny ivory taper candlelight. Candlelit Wedding shot by KT Merry

This Joy Proctor wedding shot by KT Merry boasts the classic uncut crystal candelabra I’d suggest if you’re going for that timeless candlelit appeal.Brides + Junebug Candlelit Wedding

The lefthand pic from Brides and the right-hand pic from Junebug Weddings both reflect the romance + drama of some serious candlelit estate table weddings.Elizabeth Messina Candlelit WeddingWhat makes this Elizabeth Messina-captured wedding work in particular is how young + fresh the white taper holders are in contrast to their pretty powder blue tapers. Love.

Kurt Boomer + Style Me Pretty Candlelit Weddings Kurt Boomer nailed the shot on the left- and the caneback chairs, trestle leg tables soft neutral palette, pea gravel, and delicate candlelight don’t hurt either. On the right is an image via Style Me Pretty that resonates with quite a few, perhaps because of the use of vintage bottles as candlelight holders. Chrissy Teigen Candlelight Wedding

This stunning tablescape was shot by Aaron Delesie at the wedding of John Legend + Chrissy Teigen, designed by Lisa Vorce. Pix like these make me want to stick to ivory tapers only, but I guess a girl’s got to branch out every now + then. More on that wedding via Huffington Post Weddings + Martha Stewart Weddings.Candlelit Weddings via Aaron Delesie + Apartment Therapy

Last but not least, I adore these two from Aaron Delesie (L) + Apartment Therapy (R). The soaring size of the tapers on the left (possibly 18″?) are super chic.

10 lovely flower girl ideas


Lovely flower girl ideas are hard to come by unless you have major floral design chops or have (wisely) tapped a wedding designer to dream them up on your behalf- and is there anything sweeter than a bevy of little beauties traipsing down the aisle before a bride’s processional?

Here are a few top tips + to dos for your flower girl brigade:

1. Invite them in an engaging and child-centric way.

• Pen a beautiful letter with little drawings and doodles, or even a little poem. Snag a lovely letterpress card from Chatham and Caron or Laura Hooper Calligraphy for an extra keepsake-worthy touch.

• Tap a florist to craft a tiny posy or gorgeous floral crown to send them to get them excited about their role. Lily at Flower Shop at Mixson is the queen of gorgeous flower crowns. Make your own crown if you’re feeling super crafty.

• Drop a precious box of hand-drawn “will you be my flower girl” cookies in the mail with a dear little note inviting them to be a part of your big day.

2. Help their mama(s) with suggestions on attire.

• Don’t assume it’s an easy hunt- it’s not! Dressing flower girls in finery is an art unless you choose the mainstream route like J. Crew. Think about how you want them to blend cohesively with your wedding party attire, and do a little digging. Our favorite spots for antique lace gowns + fine Southern children’s attire are Lylian, Beth Garrett, and Children’s Cottage.

• Remember that children between the ages of 2 and 8 grow like weeds. If your engagement is longer than 9 months, you’ll need to consider what will fit + look appropriate for the big day, as opposed to looking at the children now and forgetting they’ll sprout!

3. Flower girls love being with the “big girls”, so plan accordingly. 

• Have easy crafts like coloring books + colored pencils, puzzles, and snacks on hand to keep them entertained while they get dressed with your ‘maids.

• It’s customary to give them a little gift, much like you do with your bridesmaids. Whether it’s a traditional cross pin, a beautiful little James Avery necklace, or an antique gold baby bracelet they’ll treasure forever, shop ahead of time + box it beautifully to make them feel included and loved. Of course you can’t go wrong with an engraved sterling cup from Baby Braithwaite!

4. Last but not least, plan for their little blooms. 

• Will they carry a kissing ball or a posy? Should they toss petals from little baskets or have their hands free?

• Will they wear a floral wreath, a flower behind their ear, a flower-bedecked-headband, or fabulous silk bows in lieu?

Below, we’ve rounded up some precious flower girl ideas for you to steal . . .

monogrammed dresses for flower girls

You know we Southerners will stick a monogram on anything that sits still long enough. These precious flower girl dresses are taken up a notch with personalization- how adorable are they? via Southern Weddings

flower girl ideas

We love us a garland, and flower girl garlands are no exception! The baby’s breath kissing ball nails it, too- you can’t go wrong with a sweet little baby’s breath moment. via Southern Weddings

ribbon flower wands for flower girls

I’m not really down for a whole host of guest waving ribbon wedding wands, as I think the reality is drunken dudes would give us the stinkeye if we forced those into their last-drink-laden hands at the end of the night. BUT, I’m loving them for flower girls, especially the flower-strung ribbon wands via Martha Stewart Weddings (L) and Elizabeth Anne Designs/Amy Osaba (R).

balloons for flower girlsIf you’re an MOB, you’re already with me. If you’re a blushing bride, you may not know this yet- children love balloons. Big time- like, it’s an obsession. Helium, no helium, it doesn’t matter- they get a kick either way. The best for this concept are from Geronimo, which incidentally is a totally rad name for a company.

flower girl posy and flower girl baskets

Come on, you knew I’d tee up some classics- I’m a traditionalist to a fault. At our bride Hollis’s wedding shot by Tec Petaja, Blossoms served up delicate little blooms in our MOB’s sterling baskets- it doesn’t get much more Southern than that. Just below is a snap of the perfect lily-of-the-valley posy (aka posie/posey/nosegay) for a little gal to carry, via Snippet & Ink.

parasols and pinafores

DIY posy parasols and lace pinafores for gathering + tossing petals? Leave it to Martha for lovely flower girl ideas.

floral crowns and flower girl headpieces

Last but not least- hair adornment! A sprig in a ponytail, a gardenia behind the ear, greenery-only wreaths, and slight color via astilbe + fresh heather are a no fail flower girl concept. (clockwise: Southern Weddings, Snippet & Ink, Ruffled, Ruffled.)

What are you doing to delight + bedeck the littlest members of your wedding party? Let us know your flower girl ideas!

 

12 hand-painted wedding cakes


Hand-painted wedding cakes are popping up all over and we just can’t get enough- count us in on that bandwagon! Many take on a stained glass effect, others a spackled impressionist vibe, and still others seem to be wrapped in a veneer of wallpaper or fabric. I’m not saying that gum paste lace overlays on cakes are out, mind you- but it’s so refreshing to see an innovative and painterly take on wedding cakes.

Hand-painting cakes seems to be an art within an already refined and unbelievable art form, whether bakers are using fondant or buttercream, bold color or just the brush of gold leaf. I think fondant works the best visually for a really sleek foundation or canvas, if you will. Take a piece of Anna Weatherly china, a snippet of Scalamandré fabric, or even your favorite Klimt or Monet and show it to your cake baker for inspiration- the possibilities are endless.

hand painted aztec cake

Talk about de rigeur- this Aztec-ish gold brushed cake is Art Decor + also very now. Gateaux Inc via The Cake Blog.

hand-painted strawberry wedding cakeI have a thang for strawberries and berries in design for general.This whimsical Nadia & Co painted cake totally nails it with the mini portraiture of itself, the Marie-Antoinette-picnic-ishness of it all. via 100 Layer Cake

delft chinoiserie hand-painted wedding cake

This Hey There Cupcake lasercut-and-hand-painted cake just kills me. Forget that it’s perfectly styled against the loveliest paper- that doesn’t hurt.

hand-painted flower wedding cake

This architectural cake is over-the-top gorgeous with its hand-painted flowers and textural sugar flowers. I wish they didn’t have the hideous glassine board (pet peeve!!) but beggars can’t be choosers. I love that the bottom two bases have a deeper background tone than the rest, lending it an extra garden-inspired effect. via WedLuxe

malachite hand-painted wedding cake

I think I fell outta my chair over this one from Ruze Cake House . . . malachite-meets-marble with copper leaf edging? Yes please- any day.

impressionist hand-painted wedding cake

Well when does Maggie Austin Cakes ever miss? Her crêpe-layered be-ruffled cakes have spawned thousands of memes, so it’ll be fun to watch cake artists everywhere try their hand at this wizardry.

painted flower wedding cake

This little beauty from Aussies Cake Ink is the perfect painted cake for an intimate wedding cake, and the sugar flower work is insane. via Polka Dot Bride

painterly hand-painted wedding cake

I think I’ve had this The Cake Blog cake on my radar for forever. Love me a stripe, and the watercolor paint washed base is just too beautiful to eat. via Intimate Weddings

watercolor floral painted cake

Coco Paloma deploys a soft + feminine watercolor floral painted effect on this sweet cake. via The Cake Blog

cocoa lane love painted cake

Cocoa Lane Sweeterie layered hand-spackled texture with a perfect matte fondant middle tier for their lovely gold leaf “Love” lettering and painted blooms. via The Cake Blog

gold brushed painted cake

Back-brushing gold leaf bands takes this painted Baked wedding cake from simple to striking. via Style Unveiled

hand-painted floral wedding cake

Nevie-Pie Cakes nearly steals the show with this hand-painted + sugar flower cake. via Brides

What do you think- too “out there”? Too au courant but meant to fade? I think if it’s inspired by your grandmother’s heirloom Limoges teacup, you’ll till be proud you went this route in 30 years.