18 East Chase Street Baltimore, Maryland 21202 (410) 727-1112

Building the Look and Feel of an Event

We’ve been doing big renovation and restoration projects here this summer, but being asked last month to host the August gathering of the Baltimore Chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE), our professional association, really kicked the work into high gear!

Our chapter holds an event every month at a different venue, with members donating their goods and services to make it all happen. As you can imagine, it’s a good place to show off what you do to other top wedding professionals. It’s also a big deal, with 100+ people, networking, a program, and dinner. The Baltimore Chapter just won the 2010 NACE Chapter of the Year award (the fourth time in 10 years we’ve done that!), so you know these are jumping’ events!

In the midst of all the painting and gardening that’s happening, on Wednesday I met with Elizabeth Bailey, co-director of chapter programs, and David Benson from Maryland Country Caterers to sort out the flow of the event and build the layout. In wedding parlance, this is what’s called a ‘walk-through’. It usually happens two to four weeks before if it’s for a wedding. We’re running on a shorter timeline, trained professionals that we are, but don’t try this at home!

After the walk-through, David and his partner, Jennifer Endres, sent the equipment order to Select Event Rentals for the tables, and I went up to Select’s Baltimore showroom yesterday afternoon to sit with the resident event designer, Susan Childs, to spec the linens and tableware and chairs. Ordinarily, the caterer puts in the entire order, but for this event I wanted to have a hand in the look and feel to show Chase Court to it’s best advantage.

The look I had in mind was for something that would 1.) compliment and highlight the Gothic architecture, perhaps in a medieval way; 2.) have vibrant colors; 3.) be new and exciting. Boy, did Susan and I ever nail it!

Choosing and matching all of the necessary pieces is a big and multi-faceted job, so we worked methodically, starting with the linens for the dining tables (‘Seasons Summer’). That gave us a palette of colors and style from which we chose the linens for the high-tops, food stations, bar, registration tables and other tables, eight different types in all. We picked the chairs and cushion covers (‘fern bengaline”), then did all of the tableware. It’s a big process! I really like working with Susan, and we had a great time together.

The whole process at Select took about an hour and a half. I know Chase Court really well, of course, and had a clear look and feel in mind, so we worked pretty efficiently.

It’s hard to see all the pieces in the photograph – and there are more still – but this gives you an idea of how everything works together. I love this linen!

The gold goblet is for water, the dining plate is ivory, and the gold platter is for a dessert spread at each table. The amethyst linen on the chairs is the color for the napkins. The creams and browns of Chase Court should make all of these colors pop!

Stay tuned to see how it looks in the space! —David

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