I'm Dreaming Of A... Summer Supper.

White Christmas? Check. Added inches of cookies and cake to the waistline? Check. Succesfully braved the malls despite any holiday homicidal tendencies? Check. But truth be told, I'm not a cold weather kinda gal. And that probably won't change anytime soon unless my peers deam it acceptable to wear a Snuggie to work. I doubt our in-house fashionista Lacy Wilhoit would ever go for that so I'll just cross my frozen fingers and hope that an odd-ball warm front will come through soon. But while I hold my breath on that one, I can go back to one of my favorite event creations this past summer by A Divine Event, which warms me up just remembering the Summer theme, from start to finish. Nothing says Southern more than referring to the evening meal as supper. Don't you agree? Unless, perhaps, it's the word ya'll. Anyway, at A Divine Event, we got this idea to pair the fresh bounty from the summer vegetable patch with the beautiful flowers of the season. After all, they both come from the garden and Southerners do love their gardens. Inspired by this pairing, Teresa Day designed the tables and Sandra Moyers (Chef de Cuisine with ADE) created the menu. In late August when our Summer is its hottest, we welcome the cooling colors of purple and white set against a shady green background. There's monkey grass with its purple spikes, white, green and deep purple mophead hydrangea, Pose of Sharon, crepe myrtle blooms and, of course, sweet scented gardenias. It seemed only natural that green, purple and white became the color scheme for this refreshing summer supper designed especially for rehearsal dinners to accommodate smaller, more intimate groups. For this event, we served 22 guests a 4 course small plate sampler of fresh vegetables paired with Southern entrees, each small plate presented on a different serving piece placed on a stunning charger plate. Very organic with a hint of a purple animal print, the charger plate represented our outdoor theme and dictated many of our other design choices including the vibrant table topper. To cover our tables, we used 1" square green glass tiles secured to a 12" square mesh for easy handling and installation creating an incredibly fresh look. Instead of a traditional floral arrangement, we placed a framed botanical print in the center with the menu printed around the mat. Each side described one course which the guests at the table shared with one another as a bit of an ice breaker. Guests had no problem talking over this unobtrusive center piece which still managed to be a focal point, As for the flowers, they adorned the backs of the chairs. Much like the meal, the delights of this table were meant to be savored slowly. At each place setting, a gardenia attached to a wristband served double duty as both a napkin ring to secure the fan folded napkin and then as a wrist corsage for the ladies - or a boutineer for the guys. For place cards, A Divine Event printed the name of each guest on the lid of a mini Ball Jar filled with house-made "Very Berry" jam as a take-home gift. But it is the center of the table grouping that truly wows the guests. Around the edge of the elevated anchor table, a magnificent band of Southern flowers drips off the ledge like the moss hanging from an ancient Live Oak. Not to be outdone, crape myrtle, magnolia leaves and tiny frosted Christmas bulbs illuminated with LED lights (our creation) cascade from a lattice panel hung overhead. In the center of the table sits a grand candle lantern with smaller versions hung over the satellite tables. The overall look of the tables is a study in balance of color and shape, repetition and variation of theme. Every element is essential to the design - nothing needs to be removed or added - except maybe the sound of a screen door popping shut as guests gather for supper.

2011Tori HannaA