Spending the day helping out at Debra's house with Eddie and Jaithan was the equivalent of a crash course in party planning - but the WOW kind (without work) I learned so much and had such fun to boot! (is that still a saying?) Here's Jaithan carrying out a standing dolphin sculpture that would become the central focal point for the buffet table at the Dunham Riding Club.
Eddie used unexpected pieces at varying heights to create an interesting backdrop. The dolphin was elevated on a pedestal and attention was given to a symmetrical arrangement on either side. It was great fun to watch Eddie create the tablescape and I noticed how willing he was to try something one way and then make changes until the look was just right.
Hosta leaves picked and washed that morning were layered over the tablecloth and serving pieces to create a lush setting for the food.
You'll notice there's not one platter of food in this spread. Bread sticks are arranged in a faux bois planter, grapes spill from the sculpture and cheeses rest upon overturned garden planters. Also, all the different types of food are evenly distributed throughout the table preventing the need to line up at one end and proceed down. Plates were located throughout and the whole arrangement made for easy access for the 100+ guests.
This was my first introduction to purple cauliflower - so eye pleasing.
The WOW evening included a slide presentation and a demonstration followed by Q & A. I walked away with a ton of practical tips, a renewed enthusiasm for entertaining and the fondest memories of a day behind-the scenes with great people, including all of Debra's friends from Scentimental Gardens.

I know Eddie will be posting all the details from this event in the near future so be sure to watch for that. Chicago week continues - next post will be about Debra's 2 beautiful design stores.

(garden pieces featured are by Richard Taylor)