A Guide to Southern-inspired Tablescapes for Spring
By Mary Kathryne McConaghy
When entertaining-whether it be friends, kin, or work comrades-you always want to leave a lasting impression of a beautiful occasion with even more beautiful memories. Lisa Thomas, ELYSIAN entertaining expert and owner of Ooh! Events, a South Carolina-based event company, explains,”Entertaining should be a visual adventure, but it starts with making guests comfortable with the spaces. The setting should invite you to become a part of it and join in!”
A table is always more interesting when it contains a mix of colors and textures. Using the contrast of the dark wood of the farm tables, the floral element was kept light and full. The farm-grown Queen Anne’s Lace beautifully completed the exotically-grown peonies, ranunculus, and garden roses. Because of the outdoor setting, the table was kept more relaxed; choosing a denim napkin over a linen fit the “home-grown” aesthetic. Just as it’s fun to bring the outdoors in, we love to bring the indoors out! If you have the means, a fabulous unexpected element adds a great splash of interest. After all, who wouldn’t want to dine under a chandelier-lit Live Oak tree?
When hosting a brunch, you want to achieve an elegant and sophisticated look! After serving coffee and a continental breakfast in a grand raj tent, our guests were treated to a delicious brunch on the water. Pineland Club Plantation has so many perfect spots for entertaining, however, after seeing the sunshine rise over the lake, the dock was the obvious location for brunch.
“I love large scale prints” says Lisa, “they are so hard to find in fabrics and wallpaper. I adore this magnolia flower table cloth! It is the statement piece, and everything else is simple and soft to create the perfect setting.” Pairing a bold linen with extravagant flowers made for quite an impressive look. The garden roses, sweet peas, peonies, and scabiosa emitted a fragrance so delightful you couldn’t help but lean in and inhale the loveliness. The brushed gold cutlery complemented the gold accents in the linen, and the slight pink of the plates picked up the hues of the scabiosa. Sunday morning brunch is always such a fun affair, and we wanted to treat our guests to something truly magical. After all, champagne is best when drank in a fancy setting!
This dinner was all about our guests and making them feel at home. When it comes to foraging for your table, Lisa shares the following advice: “When you don’t have time for flowers, just walk in the woods, and you can find smilax, leaves, branches, and rocks. Have some fun, and of course don’t forget the candle light! Everything and everybody looks better by candle light.”
Smilax was draped down the center of 24 feet of handmade farm tables, and scallop-edged plates were adorned with hand-embroidered napkins. There was an endless string of white taper candles that lit the table after our dinner outlasted the sun.
It is always important to keep the menu in mind when planning the design of the table. Does the course make sense on the setting? Because this dinner was meant to feel like a good old-fashioned Sunday family meal, chef Geist Ussery of Gesit & Company served a delicious pasta dinner family-style. Accompanied by the freshest salad and flowing wine, it was nothing short of a perfect meal.
“Colorful! I love this table with just a simple collection of cactus! That was our jumping off point, and we used an opposite on the color wheel … blue! We then warmed it up with copper and colorful foods. Just plain fun!”
After some formal and elegant meals, we wanted to switch gears a little bit. We were inspired by the chef’s choice for lunch-grilled chicken breast with a jalapeno topping and fresh vegetables- so we decided to go a little more casual but still striking. Our South Western-inspired look came together quickly with cacti and place cards made from pieces of terracotta pots, while pops of blue were introduced with the napkins and goblets. The landscape itself could not have been more inspiring. If you’ve ever been to Charleston, you know that it is practically famous for its sweeping, Spanish moss-laden Live Oak trees. Pineland Club Plantation is blessed with not only one of these Avenues of Oak, but two! It is practically unheard of for a property to boast of a pair of such blessings. We can only imagine the stories those centuries-old trees would tell if they could.