For many located in the Eastern part of the United States, we are looking forward to warmer weather, longer days & time spent outdoors entertaining with family & friends. In fact, when I was growing up in Upstate New York, my mother took her renowned dinner parties outdoors beginning in May. Fragrant meals mixed with the sweet perfume of Heritage roses, sounds of our pond fountain providing the perfect background music. The table-settings carefully orchestrated and overflowing with color & texture, from the florals to the linens.
My mother always considered the dinner party a celebration of life, food & friends, and while they no longer entertain I have vivid memories of many unforgettable evenings. So receiving an advance copy of DeJuan Strouds’ “Designing Life’s Celebrations” was a poignant reminder that it’s the attention to detail & thoughtful preparation that “marks a moment for a lifetime.”
While we hail from the North & Mr. Stroud from the South, the basic principles remain the same. Like my mother, he also believes in inspiring people to bring flowers & beauty into their lives through celebrations. It’s with captivating prose and stunning pictorials that he demystifies home entertaining, whether it’s a large-scale event or an intimate dinner.
I wanted to share some moments from this invaluable field guide to entertaining. This 221-page tome is a visual feast, from inspired table settings to breathtaking centerpieces. Featuring more than fifteen parties Stroud shares invaluable principles that will help build the perfect tablescape, including a workbook that covers topics ranging from floral care to centerpiece mapping. “Designing Life’s Celebrations” is more than just a book, it’s truly a celebration emphasizing “the joy of life’s day to day occasions.” Showing us that everyone can create an event that will be remembered long after the table is cleared…
“In a room with pale gray walls, I selected garden roses, cyclamen, and sweet peas in shades of pink to play off the hot pink upholstery of the chairs.” -An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud
“This centerpiece included flowers of many different textures, colors, and shapes. I make it a rule to use strongly scented flowers, such as hyacinths, only on a table located outside.” -An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“Even though pink was the focus of this design, DeJuan included gold accents to lend warmth to the tabletop and play off the gold elements that were already in the room.” – An exerpt from “Designing Lifes Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“DeJuan wanted the table’s centerpiece to be a study of spring for women who love flowers, so instead of designing the centerpiece by color, he selected all of his favorite spring flowers, knowing their colors and shapes would come together in harmony.” -An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“Cushion covers and chair-back covers made from terracotta and ivory striped canvas introduced a bold graphic element, and ceramic soup bowls added more patterns, as did playful mango and pink napkins of several different designs.”- An excerpt from ‘Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“Bohemian Alfresco. A successful Bohemian look relies on mixing colors and patterns in a way that is interesting and pleasing to the eye.” –An excerpt from “Designing Lifes Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“With bright flowers, casual ceramic dishes, bowls of cold soup & colored glasses, the table epitomized summer dining.”-An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“The view of this table for a rustic wedding shows that all of the centerpiece components are anchored on the fourteen inch-wide runner of charcoal-toned metallic linen. The wedding was in the fall so DeJuan used autumnal components, including pears, moss, berries, and lichen…” An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“For this old-fashioned ladies luncheon, DeJuan decided to anchor the table’s centerpiece with a spiral myrtle topiary planted in an heirloom silver basket. Using blooming plants instead of cut flowers added to the charm of the tabletop design, and after the luncheon, each guest was able to take an orchid home as a favor…”-An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“Just desserts. A thoughtfully styled buffet can turn a casual gathering into an event.” – An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“A breakaway bouquet, a technique used by DeJuan over the years consists of several small bouquets placed close together in one vase to create what appears to be a single large arrangement. At the end of the party, the arrangement can easily be disassembled, and the small bouquets wrapped in tissue paper, tied with ribbon and given to guests as they leave.” -An excerpt from “Designing Lifes Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
“Intense pink flowers on the table and on the sideboards made the room seem filled with flowers. As a lovely way to bring more color to the table, a vivid pink and burgundy cattleya orchid was placed on every other napkin.” -An excerpt from “Designing Life’s Celebrations” by DeJuan Stroud.
You can join one of New York’s most respected floral and event designers, DeJuan Stroud, for an afternoon of inspiration on April 30th, 2016 in Atlanta at the Southeastern Designer Showhouse—complete with freshly arranged blooms—and purchase signed copies of the Alabama native’s book, Designing Life’s Celebrations. Complimentary Whispering Angel Rosé will be served following the presentation. I hope to see you there!
Until next time,
Live a life well-curated…
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