A Special Request

August 12, 2009

Sometime in July, my friend Joella contacted me to do flower arrangements and tablescapes for a birthday party she was hosting. I agreed to assist her. Then, I didn’t hear from her again… until the day before the party. {Yikes!} Apparently, the party had been canceled and reinstated at the last minute. Joella needed help with the party decor and a photographer. So, I called Pamela to see if she was available to shoot. Thankfully, she was free.

{From MarthaStewart.com}

This left me with a very daunting task – conceptualize and execute decor in 24 hours. The party was for Joella’s male cousin. It was a catered dinner party for 30 people in Beverly Hills. Her only request is that I use white flowers. It sounds simple enough except I am not a professional florist nor have I ever been. I’m simply a woman who enjoys playing with flowers. I scoured the internet for images to inspire me. I found these.

{From MarthaStewart.com}
{From MarthaStewart.com}

{From MarthaStewart.com}

{From MarthaStewart.com}
{Source Unknown}
{From MarthaStewart.com}

I sketched out an idea inspired by these images and ran around town. I went to Ikea, Crate and Barrel, Cost Plus World Market, CB2, and various retailers in the Flower Mart. I was a woman on a mission. I was also an unbelievably nervous woman. This was the first time I’d ever been hired {read: paid generously} to do party decor.

I got up early the morning of the party and went to the Flower Mart to purchase these:


I pre-arranged them and headed out to Beverly Hills to the party location. The caterer that Joella hired, Kitchen 12000 was already prepping dinner. Although, they very graciously offered to help me setup the tables. I appreciated the help. I was so nervous that it took me a few minutes to get composed and focused. Fortunately, the nerves passed quickly and with Pamela’s assistance I was able to get everything set up in time for the party’s start. Here’s what it looked like.

photo by Pamela Masters
photo by Pamela Masters
photo by Pamela Masters

*** Above photos were taken by Pamela Masters.
I was too preoccupied to photograph anything properly.***

Since it was such an intimate party with only four tables, I selected low centerpieces with lots of candlelight. I used flowers of varying texture to create visual interest. I became enamored with clear and mercury glass candlesticks. I found the candlesticks at various retailers.

photo by Pamela Masters

{photo by Pamela Masters}

I also created these flower floats for the pool. Combine button mums and tealights and you have magic.

I also designed some place cards for the table settings.

photo by Pamela Masters
{photo by Pamela Masters}

photo by Pamela Masters

{photo by Pamela Masters}

For entertainment, these two gentlemen played acoustic guitar. They were very talented. They had a great and varied repertoire. They played classics, but the real treat was when they played the theme to the Super Mario Brothers video game. Everyone was amused. They also threw in a few TV show themes, which also got a few laughs.

After setting up the tables and decor, I helped Pamela photograph the event. I focused mainly on the food. I feel most comfortable behind the scenes and I always love being in a kitchen. I feel guilty writing about another caterer, Kitchen12000 (especially since Rob is in the catering biz), but the food really did look amazing. The few bites I got to taste were divine. Here are some of my shots.

Dinner started with Sake bombs

Chef Steve Scherer preps the starter course

Starter Course: Double Prawns with Kimchi and Red Cabbage shred,
topped with a Citrus Soy reduction

Chef Michael Kay preps the Salad Course

Sous Chef Nick Bakti assists with the Salad Course

Salad Course: Marinated Cucumber Carpet with 3 Potato Hash,
topped with a Radicchio and Frise Sesame Salad

Intermezzo: Chilled Glass Noodles with Blueberry Citrus Broth and Candied Ginger

Main Course: 4 Style Japanese BBQ Sampler with Steamed Rice and Black Rice Vinegar Dipping Sauce (Marbled Beef, Chicken Breast, Shrimp {not pictured}, Ahi Tuna

Check out the blog post on the Kitchen12000 site, click here.

I think it’s safe to say the party was a rousing success. Joella did a fantastic job of pulling us all together at the last minute. I really appreciated the challenge and opportunity to work on something so unique.

Even though, I appropriated some of her images, check out Pamela’s blog post about the party.

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