Date: February 18, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
A palette of pastel hues sets the scene for this al fresco fête
With the arrival of spring comes numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, whether gardening, dining, or—one of our favorites—entertaining. For this backyard gathering, Chris Norwood, vice president and lead floral designer at Tipton & Hurst, designed a cheerful spring party scene. The bright color palette, playful balloon installation, paper table runner, and outdoor setting lend the scene a casual air, while china at each place setting and a sophisticated floral arrangement elevate the design.
“We started with rainbow as our color palette, and from there we chose china, flowers, and balloons,” Chris says, pointing to the different layers of the tablescape and its surroundings. “We went with garden-style flowers, including garden roses, stock, viburnum, dusty miller, privet, and a little bit of kale, along with fresh peaches on the table, to give it the feel that this is could be something foraged from your yard.”
While a similar set-up would suit Easter or Mother’s Day celebrations, there’s no need to wait for an official holiday to create your own colorful gathering. “I would even do this for a spring birthday or fun bridal luncheon,” Chris says. “You could find any reason to celebrate outdoors with a party like this.”
Color-blocking is key for both balloon installations and floral centerpieces, Chris says. “Especially when you’re working outside and there’s color everywhere, and with the stripes in this table runner, it’s easy on the eyes to group like colors together.” Stems of purple stock and Italian ruscus tucked in between balloons tie the decor to the table centerpiece.
Keep It Practical
“Centerpieces for seated dinners should always be long and low, like the shape of the table,” Chris says. “You want to keep in mind that you should be able to see across it.”
Set the Table
Dinnerware from Vietri’s “Baroque Glass,” Herend’s “Connect the Dots,” and Anna Weatherley’s “Anna’s Palette” take their color cues from the dusty pinks of the garden roses and balloons used to decorate the table. At each setting is a stem of stock in a William Yeoward bud vase, a charming takeaway gift for guests.
Peach & Lavender Iced Tea
¹/3 cup honey
8 cups water, divided
3 tablespoons dried lavender blooms
Slice peaches, setting several slices aside to save for garnish. Place at the bottom of a large pitcher and pour honey over the fruit. Set aside.
Combine 4 cups of water and lavender in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then pour into the pitcher through a mesh strainer. Muddle peaches slightly, then allow to cool to room temperature.
Add remaining 4 cups of water and chill for several hours before serving over ice. Garnish each glass with a slice of peach.
Note: You can also strain the tea to filter out peaches before chilling. For sweeter tea, increase honey to ½ cup or to taste. Since this tea is brewed with lavender rather than traditional tea leaves, it’s caffeine free.