There is only one thing better than dreaming up a tablescape and then setting up it up on a table. That one thing is doing all the work for a worthy cause. Have you ever done a tablescape for a benefit dinner? I have and I’m inviting you to come to a garden party benefit dinner with me.
The Benefit Dinner
Each year the United Methodist Women of our church sponsor a Parade of Tables which is a benefit dinner for UMW missions. At our Parade of Tables, each volunteer hostess or host sets a themed table and sells eight tickets to fill the seats at the tables. The United Methodist Men prepare the meal and the youth of the church and other volunteers act as servers. This fun evening is well-supported by the church and the community.
Parades of tables have become very popular in our area. It is amazing the themes people can translate into tablescapes.
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The Garden Party
No garden party is complete without birds and paper lanterns.
Curly black branches from were used to support paper lanterns tied on with raffia. The tall glass vases have black silhouettes of birds and branches. The vases were partially filled with black rocks to provide needed weight to hold the branches. I was not able to actually put lights in the lanterns because the branches just weren’t strong enough to support them, although I had purchased some to use. But I think the lanterns give the idea of an early evening garden party under a canopy of lights.
The woven place mats were bought many years ago at a boutique while visiting in Georgia while the china is Adelaide Turquoise by 222 Fifth Avenue. The aqua candles with sparkly white bird outlines came from Pier 1, as did the aqua bird cage place card holders; unfortunately neither are still available. The sweet little salt and pepper set of two robin’s eggs in a nest, also from Pier 1, is also (sadly) no longer available. The Lenox Chirp table runners added some much needed color while the brown table cloth gives the feel of garden soil.
This table had two incarnations as you can tell if you look closely at the photos. The first year of the Garden Party tablescape I went all out. Vintage silverware in the Wallace Windsor Rose pattern and Waterford Lismore stemware dressed the table up for an elegant evening.
The second year of the Garden Party was slightly more casual because I was responsible for two tables with a theme apiece that year. (Whew!) So, I used vintage glassware that is not quite as delicate as my Waterford along with stainless tableware. I really needed as much as possible to go into the dishwasher. After that event ended I had to clean up 16 place settings of everything and serving pieces!
After the Party’s Over
Setting up for the Parade of Tables is quite an undertaking, especially when doing more than one table. Everything has to be carefully packed into labeled containers, transported to the church, unloaded, and then placed on the tables. After the fun is over, we get to reverse the process and go home to wash everything and put it away for another year.
I start planning my table as soon as everything is put away. I already have an idea for 2018. Let’s just say big, pink birds play a part.
Please note that my post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy here.
Black branches – unable to locate anything similar online, check floral supply stores
Lights for paper lanterns (just be sure the branches are strong enough to support them)
Bird candle holders (similar)
Salt and pepper set (similar)
Wicker place mats (good substitute)