If you missed out on the Tartan Parade that started on April 1 at Upstairs Downstairs, Hyacinths for the Soul, Vignette Design and The Polohouse, be sure to click on over to see some really fabulous representations of Scottish tradition. Since they were accepting simple plaid for us non-Scots to be able to participate, too, check out my entry “Pink Plaid & Posies” which is a charming celebration of Spring-y pastel plaid!
It’s already the first week in April, and with time flying this fast the 138th Kentucky Derby will be here before you know it! (That’s May 4th & 5th.)
For my first “Art of Tablescaping – Buffet Style” class last month, I put together a Kentucky Derby buffet for the students to consider for ideas and form. Next week I’ll feature the sit-down dinner version, so please be sure to stop back in to check that out, too!
Click on any photo to enlarge!
Yes, that’s me hiding behind the horse’s hindquarters! Perfect product placement, huh? 😉 This horse really gets around a lot lately. This week he’s prancing on a bed of red rose petals, while just last week he was featured out on the deck in my Spring/Summer brunch post “Carousel Colors“! (He can also be seen in the posts “Run for the Roses” and “Celebrating Longview Farm“.)
Although this table is facing one way, I need for you to imagine it going lengthwise this direction starting at the plates & forks. This is a heavy Mission style table, and there was no way I was going to try and move it!
I draped the table in a full-length black linen to make it just sort of disappear and allow the brilliant red and silver be the stars. The start of this casual buffet table allows guests to take a plate from the double stack and a fork from a line on either side. The forks are arranged in an interesting “head-to-toe” pattern partly for the sake of playful design and partly to help allow more forks to fit into the available space. (Try it! You really can fit in at least 2-4 more forks!)
Initialed napkins, a gift from my best friend, are displayed in a silver champagne bucket. The idea is to not only provide a basic service but to also “stair step” (forks at the lowest level, plates up a bit higher, napkins next highest) the start of the buffet for a dramatic effect.
A themed buffet is the place to really play with unusual serving pieces. For example, loaves of French bread are displayed in a pair of black riding boots that resemble those worn by the jockeys. The boots are actually an umbrella stand purchased at Z Gallerie! (I got it for half price because of a tiny chip at the top that no one will ever see!!!)
Almost nothing says Kentucky Derby like a silver mint julep cup! Bread sticks are offered here, but you can serve just about any and everything out of these…including actual mint juleps!!! (Note: If you don’t have the budget for a lot of silver juleps, consider contacting your florist for faux silver cups like the one above. C’mon admit it…Would you have known if I hadn’t told you?)
Chafers look really great when lined up like tin soldiers in a clean, single line. These are smaller 2-qt. capacity chafers as opposed to the larger 5-qt. ones most often seen. It’s nice to have smaller ones on hand for serving smaller crowds or if you need to conserve table space. I bought these at Big Lots for $15 each about 10 years ago, and I have recently seen them in that store again. (Of course, like everything else, they cost a little more now!)
Derby time is the time to pull out all the silver – heirloom or nouveau – and put it into service in conventional and unconventional ways. For instance, when’s the last time you saw grape scissors like these? They were made popular in the super pompous Victorian era to snip small portions of grapes from a large bunch for eating. They come in just as handy in this post-dot.com era!
Instead of running for the roses, this horse is running with the roses…in his mouth! The traditional blanket of 554 red roses for the winning horse may not be his, but he’s got his own sense of style on the track! 🙂
The area behind the buffet table is set up with a punch bowl (a loose replica of the famous punch bowl that graces the dining room sideboard of the governor’s mansion in Arkansas) full of the traditional bourbon, mint and simple syrup concoction known as a mint julep. Making juleps in large quantities in advance cuts down on time spent behind the bar. Guests can ladle their own into a silver julep cup with ease. Uncouth lushes like me may simply opt to stick a giant bendy straw in the bowl and have at it!!! 😉 The silverplated julep cups pictured here (yup…these are the real deal) are highly recommended to bring out the full experience of each frosty sip! (Unless you can afford the too-rich-for-my-blood sterling silver which is the ultimate!!!) When purchasing julep cups, make sure they are suitable for food consumption. Some contain a compound that allows them to be used for decorative display only.
Red roses throughout the room are a given…and a must! Here, festive yet sophisticated red rose balls are set atop heavy oil rubbed bronze urns on each end of the sideboard and flanked by a pair of silver candlesticks.
Don’t forget about your entryway! Here, a bouquet of red roses greets guests/students as they check in for class. Consider also a wreath of red roses on the front door in the shape of the traditional blanket or perhaps a horseshoe.
Don’t forget to check back in next week for more Kentucky Derby tablescape ideas. I’ll have a full sit-down dinner table prepared for you.
Other Kentucky Derby posts on this site:
“Run for the Roses”
“Derby Day Dining”
“Should Have Put a Ring On It”
“Roses In October”
I’m linking up this week with Kathleen for “Let’s Dish” starting at 6:00 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday, Centerpiece Wednesday with The Style Sisters, and Tablescape Thursday starting at 9:00 a.m. (CDT) Thursday. Join us, won’t you? And catch me over at BeBetsy.com, too!