In all my years as an event and wedding designer the one tool I consistently used in creating beauty and magic was to hold the person or cause I was designing for in my heart as I worked. When I made the bride’s bouquet, I would do so quietly, thinking of her the whole time, envisioning her happy and standing in a glowing, sparkling ball of light. I would see her with a huge smile on her face, filled with love and blessings from her community as she enjoyed her beautiful day. In a way I wove a magic spell into her flowers as I worked. This space of love and joy that I feel when I’m flowing with creativity is the epitome of abundance and gratitude to me. I believe all things are possible in that space.
As you start to think about designing your own special occasion, you should tap into the reason you’re creating it in the first place. Immerse yourself in the gratitude and love you have for those who will be present. See your event unfolding beautifully with everyone experiencing this love, which will be infused in all that you do. It’s the secret ingredient used by the best bakers in the world as well as most grandmothers for their family dinners. If you start with that sentiment, you can’t go wrong in whatever you create.
If feelings of being overwhelmed or frustrated start to creep in, stop—take a breath and come back to the love and purpose behind your event. Simplify if you have to, so you can stay in that state. Try to keep yourself in that joyful mood by playing music and lighting candles and incense as you work. Enlist the help of people you enjoy being around. Be silly, laugh a lot, let go of the notion of “perfection,” and adopt the attitude of “made with love is better than loveless beauty.” If you allow for the flow and get out of your own way, serendipitous things happen. Don’t try and control every little detail. Leave room for magic and it will happen.
For me, this is the way of enchanted living—to begin each project or task with the intention of holding the space of love and allowance in my heart, to create always from joy and gratitude while acknowledging the beautiful abundance of my life and the world I live in. When I do that, magic happens in ways I could never have imagined.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR CREATING AN ABUNDANT TABLE DISPLAY LIKE THE ONE YOU SEE HERE
• Your food can be part of the decorative display—it’s part of your abundant offering, after all. I love it when people are not quite sure what’s for eating and what’s for decoration. This means I’ve succeeded in my quest for unending decadent beauty.
• Weave beautiful fruit, vegetables, nuts, and cheeses among the flowers and candles. Have baskets of rolls and crackers and your side dishes and beautiful heaping bowls all mixed in with the flowers. If you have a gorgeous dessert, then consider using that as part of your centerpiece. I once created a wedding where each table had its own cake with sugared fruit and flowers as a centerpiece. The guests looked like kids in a candy shop in their delight!
• Try to have different layers and heights to your decor soit has depth. Everything laid out flat on the table reads as one-dimensional and lacks a rich, lush feeling. Think nooks and crannies with parts that stick up and parts that flow out, nudging the wine glasses or the plates of food. Be playful with your decor and tuck in a tiny silk dragonfly or butterfly, especially in those nooks and crannies. Do, however, be mindful to keep the decor lower that the eye level of your guests so conversation can freely flow.
• Consider using a mix of candles and battery-operated twinkle lights throughout the table. Keep the candles away from the places where your guests might reach for something. An abundance of flickering light adds immeasurably to the magical atmosphere.
• Often I’ll use my silk flowers as a base for the decorations and then add real flowers at the last minute. This allows me to reuse what I already have and not break the bank on fresh flowers.
• Consider cutting branches from a tree to create a base to weave in your flowers and food. This adds to the abundant feeling and is easy on the budget. Definitely be mindful not to cut anything that could be poisonous to people or pets.
• If you have party favors, add them to the decor for an abundant feel. For this shoot I created mini jewel-like gratitude books for my guests. These are tiny blank books placed at each place setting. Throughout the evening, each person is encouraged to write in each other’s books what they appreciate about that person. You could also, as the host, write something about each of your guests ahead of time to make them feel appreciated and loved.
Whatever you choose to do, have fun with it! Know that your joy will come through in all you do and ultimately create a beautiful dazzling world for your guests to inhabit, if just for one night.