If you were following along on Snapchat and Instagram two weeks ago, you got an inside peek into one of the best southern events all year around, in my humble opinion: the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. While we were busy (literally, we styled and designed eight of the events during the fun-filled weekend), we agreed that it almost didn’t even feel like work as we saw the beautiful events come together. And while we of course plan to share the whole weekend with you over the next week, we also wanted to provide a few ideas on how to recreate each look on a smaller, more dinner-party-for-four scale.
First up, the ‘Powerful & Delicious’ dinner. The night celebrated nearly a hundred of the south’s female business and community leaders, and invited them to an evening to support some of the region’s top female food and beverage talent. Naturally, I knew that this dinner had to be show-stopping. And what better way to toast to these powerful women than with an elegant, and proper, southern supper?!
When planning to host and toast these ladies, I knew I wanted everything to be quintessentially southern. Tables donned in rich, preppy navy and white stripes with the most gorgeous fresh magnolia stems, garlands, and foliage from the amazing Weston Farms in Raleigh, NC,, mint julep cups and blue & white chinoiserie bud vases (my all-time favorites and some I brought from home) full of flowers from Blooms of Dunwoody, and settings placed with a half a dozen glasses (it was Atlanta Food & WINE after all).
While this was certainly a grand evening and the perfect way to kick off The Festival, this spread has a few great takeaways worth applying to get the look at a dinner party at home, too. I think it’s safe to say that these tablescapes prove the power of great linens and lush florals. But if you look closely, you’ll see I also added height to each table (something I think will always, ALWAYS bump your tablescape up a notch) with the garlands and propped signage. I then varied the heights by incorporating the shorter bud vases among the taller details.
Lastly, this event makes a strong case for pattern-play. Too often, I see tablescapes playing it way too safe with linens and details (too matchy-matchy is boring!). Here, I’ve brought in a chinoiserie print that effortlessly blends on top of the bold, vibrant stripes. When mixing patterns and prints, the key is to stay in the same color family; in this case, blue and white.
But perhaps my favorite part of this southern dinner? The details at each place setting! We took this year’s festival theme, #KNOWTHESOUTH, to heart by creating fun, educational cards with southern quips, phrases and facts. They not only furthered the southern theme, with a nod to even the most arguably defined phrase (“bless your heart”!), but they served as great conversation starters around the table and can easily be replicated at your next dinner party, or might I suggest a progressive supper?! Truly, MKR