A Dorothy By Any Other Name: Purple and Cream 80th Birthday

There have been many remarkable Dorothys to walk this earth. Among them the brainy Dorothy Johnson-Vaughn (NASA mathematician recently depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures”), the brazen Dorothy Height (women’s and civil rights activist), the brilliant Dorothy Hamill (ice skater), the beguiling Dorothy Dandridge (actress), the bubbly Dorothy who captured our hearts along the Yellow Brick Road, the beleaguered Dorothy Tucker-Roberts (my poor hairstylist of 20+ years for whom one must feel sympathy having to put up with me!), and finally the blissful, beautiful and beloved Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight, the honoree for this lovely celebration. When my high school friend, Audrey, asked me to craft a head table with the colors and flowers her Mother adored to celebrate her 80 birthday, I was most humbled.

 

Mrs. Knight’s birthday celebration was held in the auditorium at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage in Kansas City, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

I created a dramatic centerpiece using a silver faux manzanita tree branch adorned with various hanging crystals and cream spray roses. I placed it on a round mirror to reflect back the sparkle, shine and movement of the crystals. A cluster of four standard size julep cups filled with cream roses, spider mums, baby’s breath, and miniature chrysanthemums. Satellite miniature juleps each held a single rose surrounded by baby’s breath and a few mini chrysanthemums.

 

 

Each place setting at the table included a mirrored charger, creamy dishes, lovely heirloom flatware, and a cream colored napkin emerging from a silver pew cone, also known as a cherub cone. (Other posts on this blog incorporating silver pew cones as napkin holders include “Purple & Pastel” and “Pretty in Pink”.) I placed a personal set of salt & pepper shakers at the top of each place setting.

 

 

 

The creamy ivory rosette table runner contrasts with the royal purple full-length tablecloth and complements the chair caps that are placed over ivory stretch chair covers and all tied up with a lavender satin sash.

Family members worked hard to plan and create the remaining atmosphere. They put a lot of love into it! To play on Shakespeare’s words in Romeo & Juliet, a Dorothy by any other name would not be as sweet as Mrs. Dorothy J. Knight.

For more birthday celebrations on this blog:
“88 Years & 88 Keys”
“Celebrating 85 Years of Fabulous”
“The Party She Deserves”
“Purple and Pastel”
“Blue & White 30th Birthday”
“Purple + Green = Happy Birthday!”
“Happy Birthday, Barf!”
and see FIVE additional birthday celebrations on the “Birthdays” tab!

 

Purple & Pastel Tablescape

My friend and caterer-to-die-for, Andre Harper, and his family recently hosted a multi-occasion party in honor of his parents. All within the span of about 10 days came Mother’s Day, both parents’ birthdays, AND Mr. & Mrs. Harper’s 60th wedding anniversary!!! THAT called for one heck of a celebration that took a whole team to execute. Everyone played a part in the area they know best, so I gladly took on the table decor. 🙂
(Click on any image to enhance/enlarge it.)

Andre’s thoughtful brother-in-law Dwayne, who is usually more comfortable in the company of a fishing pole than a bouquet of posies, bought roses for each of the ladies in attendance. What a sweet gesture! I wrapped each stem in lavender tissue and tied it with a length of silky ribbon. An attendant hired for the day presented a rose to each female guest as she emerged from the limousine that brought them to the party.

IMG_6491WMI sat down with the family to discuss the look they wanted. We kicked around a lot of ideas that at first involved a lavender overlay and tall florals. In the end, however, Andre’s description of his Mother’s affinity for “dainty” things kept gnawing at me.

IMG_6472WMAfter a lot of thought and a couple of sleepless nights, the original plan evolved into pure ivory linens all around to allow details to really shine. A color like lavender, although relatively demure, still commands a lot of attention and is therefore best presented in staccato doses when the goal is “dainty.”

IMG_6498WMWe stuck with the original plan of white wood chairs with comfortable padded seats.

IMG_6474WMI wanted to capture the Mom’s affection for lavender – a beautiful color for a Mother’s Day celebration –  and also lend a few details that would make the tablescape suitable for an anniversary and birthday party. (This table would also work well for a wedding reception or rehearsal dinner.) I chose lavender chargers from Michaels, topped with clear dinner and dessert plates from Bed Bath & Beyond. Using clear plates allowed the pleasing color of the charger against the ivory linens to show.

IMG_6478WMThe detail of a napkin tucked inside a silver pew cone lent elegance and shine to the center of each plate. I used this same technique for my Mom’s birthday a couple of years ago with equally pretty results. (Click HERE and scroll down to the 3rd post, “Pretty In Pink”, if you’d like to see that.) Demure lavender tulips (inserted into a water pick to keep them fresh) were then slipped in to bring another touch of color to the place setting.

I used my silver heirloom flatware to add a bit of design to the tabletop.

Simple, unadorned stemware from Old Time Pottery looks extra showy when assembled in groups. (Note: I always, always, always hand-dry my glassware to make certain it is devoid of unsightly water spots. If you have a dishwasher that will assure the same results, by all means go for it! If you’re not sure, though, give your stemware a once over with a damp towel followed by a quick swipe with a dry one to remove any lingering water spots.)

The family wanted the parents’ place settings to stand out while leaving open seating for the other guests. I created place cards on the computer and placed them in pretty silver frames adorned with faux pearls and rhinestones. I also created two pretty nosegays tied and affixed to the parents’ chairs with organza ribbon.

With all the other pretty details on the table, I still wanted the florals to be the star. Lots and lots of florals!!! I used a mix of white and lavender cremons, lavender tulips, purple hydrangea, green Queen Anne’s lace, mums and filler flowers to create six unique but complementary bouquets. Scattered between the taller arrangements were floating lavender cremons. The family liked the idea of using faux silver floral vessels so that the ladies could all take a bouquet home with them. No muss, no fuss, and totally undetectable until you touch them! (Yes…those are acrylic vases and bowls!!!) They may sell acrylic floral vessels in stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. If not, check with your florist. I have used them for years when the occasion calls for take-home bouquets!!!

For a great idea on how to figure out proper spacing for your decorative elements, click HERE and scroll down to Tip #34!

Photos courtesy of the Harper family

Photos courtesy of the Harper family

Andre laid out quite a spread that besides tasty meats and vegetables included a seafood pasta salad that would send you into an immediate Happy Dance! 🙂 The beautifully decorated cake, emblazoned with yesteryear photos of the parents, brought lots of “Oohs!” and “Ahs!” from friends and family.

 It takes a village to raise a child and a team to put on a party!!! Tired but happy to have pulled it off is Team Harper. Front row center: (attendant) Tatum Shelby. Back row: (daughter) Granee Harper Parker, me, (son-in-law/chivalrous guy) Dwayne Parker, (son/caterer extraordinaire who put on a spread that would make a grown man cry) Andre Harper, and Andre’s sweet girlfriend, Trina Collins.

Photo courtesy of the Harper Family

Congratulations and best wishes, Mr. and Mrs. Harper!!! You must be very proud of the loving and thoughtful children you have raised!

Andre and I have collaborated before to create a special dinner for our STL pal, Lauren. Click HERE or on the Fun Stuff tab above and scroll down to the 13th post, “Dinner With Friends“. His gumbo will put you in a trance!!!!!!! 🙂
Harper’s Catering, Kansas City, MO, 816-761-0959
harperscatering2000@kc.rr.com

For more wedding-related posts on this site, click on the “Wedding” tab above
or on these individual posts:
Planning in Purple
Peonies & Pearls
Blushing Bridal Shower
Showered In Pink
Flirty Peach Skirt
Roses in October
Get Me To the Church On Time

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” and Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. I’m also on BeBetsy.com. You are invited to peek in on some of the world’s most talented tablescapers with me!