Diner en Blanc | table setting competition

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Last night I participated in the table setting competition that was part of the Diner en Blanc preview party hosted by Williams-Sonoma.  I’ve done decorations for several parties and even a few weddings, so I know what my strengths and weaknesses are.  Coming up with ideas and a concept is a strength, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no florist.  Want a simple floral arrangement?  Done.  But if you’re looking for something elaborate, I’m not your gal – but I can direct you to someone that can help.

So going into the competition, I was excited but had no idea what to expect.  I knew I was going to be up against florists, caterers, full time event planners and that made me nervous.  Was my table going to look completely amateur in comparison?  I figured if I can’t bring complicated, beautiful centerpieces, I’ll have my own DIY-y aesthetic to offer.  And honestly, in the end, I really did love my table.  Unfortunately, not everyone loved it as much as me since I didn’t win.  Oh well, you can’t win them all right?

The tables were judged on the following criteria:  use of white, execution of theme, use of props, complexity of table setting and originality.  There were thirteen participants and we were each given a 27.5″ x 27.5″ table, two white chairs, white tablecloth and white napkins.  Williams-Sonoma also kindly allowed us to borrow from their inventory – I chose dinner plates, salad plates, silverware and two silver candlesticks.  To me, French style is a mix of classic and modern, vintage and new, well designed yet simple.  As I was coming up with ideas for the table, I kept the combination of those words in the back of my head.  Although we weren’t required to include food in our setting,  I felt like it was important to do and and to do so in a way that it becomes part of the design.

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The menus are actually part of the napkins – after creating the menu in Photoshop, I printed it out onto special iron on transfer paper…and ironed it onto napkins!  Aren’t the flowers pretty?  Whole Foods!  My favorite place for flowers.

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I think having a large central bouquet of flowers would be pretty, but not really that different or original.  Since a meal is not a meal unless there’s dessert, I decided to make that the focal point of the table.  I thought the texture of the cake was fun (shredded coconut) and topped off with a little banner helped to connect it to what we were celebrating.  By the way, the cake is a fake (it’s styrofoam!).  I can make a pretty delicious coconut cake, but one that’s also pretty…that’s another story.

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Do you know how hard it is to make a cheese/charcuterie plate look good?  Believe me, it’s not easy.  This tiny little platter probably took me thirty minutes to lay out.

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What do you guys think?  Thoughts?  Check out my competition…

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And now the winners!  As soon as I saw this one, I just assumed it would win (the official judges chose them as best).  Before even meeting the designers, I knew they were florists.  It’s pretty obvious…

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My favorite part was their basket.  Adorable.

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People’s choice went to this tble…

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Love the gold leafed mini cakes!  So cute!

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I might not have won, but I had a lot of fun doing it.  There was great food and drinks and I had the chance to meet some really nice people.  Also, it always feels great to have complete strangers tell you how much they like your work!

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3 comments

  1. I thought your table was brilliant! I did table #9. I, too, am not a pro but I thought it would be fun to try. All of the tables were terrific. Loved your napkin menus and the white radish; the bread with the wax paper and string was a lovely detail!

  2. Pingback: Diner en Blanc, table setting competition, centerpiece flowers, table decor | Leigh Florist


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