Sunday, October 25, 2009

A little autumnal celebration

This past weekend, various descendants of my great grandmother's family (she was one of four girls!) gathered upstate in CT for a little reunion. I have never met most of my great-grandmother's sister's children (and their children, grandchildren) so it was a wonderful treat to meet all of these warm, friendly people!

Somehow my father's aunt, who was organizing the day, deemed that I was "creative" and a perfect person to coordinate table decoration for the dinner for 50 on Saturday night. Gulp! There was ample possibility for it to be tons of fun, but on a budget and with little time? A challenge for sure. Yet, the possibilities were endless!

I turned to my tearsheets from my Martha Stewart Living days, and wanted something with leaves, acorns, and fruit. I had heard that there was a mean sale at Smith and Hawken and immediately decided to stop by. Of course, they had some beautifully colored fruit shaped (apples and pears) candles made in Poland. I purchased quite a few, and decided that they would be the focal point of my tables. I purchased some dried gourds from Earth Garden in Wilton, and glued on some wood wrapped wire to make the most adorable placecards!

At one of my friend's weddings this summer, I was so struck by the collection of various sizes of small vases filled with different flowers and herbs. Some low succulents, tall, skinny vases of mint, fatter vases of roses and astilbe. This arrangement would be perfect for the tables -- using a colorful flower in an array of different Juliska vases? Perfect!

I visited Juliska's South Norwalk outlet store, and found four sets of three petite vases in glear glass, as well as five each of two different short green glass vases. As for flowers, I worried about frosts hampering my search for local dahlias. Luckily, Eva's Garden, tended by Eva
Sommaripa, still had the most exquisite (and huge!) pinky orange, pinky purple, yellow, orange and white dahlias I have EVER seen! And we picked the flowers just before they were going to turn the year's flowers over. I supplemented these with some white dahlias I found at my local Whole Foods from New Jersey. The reds, pinks, light and deep greens of the candles were the perfect complement to the salmony flowers.

Warm, dark fall nights call for lots of light, so I knew that I had to supplement these candles with the flickering glow of many little votives, too. To add a touch of glitter, I collected some acorns from the tree outside the house, and spray painted them a muted gold. A couple of gold acorns scattered across the table added a beautiful accent against the white tablecloth. Of course, when I arrived for dinner, I expected to see all of the candles lit -- at the last minute, the caterer said she was unable to light the fruit candles, in the event they would drip or tip over. Argh. At least I can use them again at home for another dinner party!

Here are some pictures from the evening...

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