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

Creating a Distinctive Event Design, Simplified!

The Chase Court Ballroom set for the National Association of Catering Executives, Baltimore Chapter, August Monthly Event.

The Chase Court Ballroom set with 48″ round tables and Chiavari chairs with fern cushion covers.

The Freddie Stevens Jazz Trio performing for cocktail hour in the Chase Court ceremony garden.

Designing a distinctive look for your event can be a lot of fun! Starting out with clear goals is the first and most important step.  Here’s a plan (easily tweaked for your use) for an event that I hosted at Chase Court.

Design Goals: 1.) Compliment and highlight Chase Court’s Gothic architecture, perhaps in a medieval way.

2.) Incorporate vibrant colors.

3.) Be new and exciting.

4.) Provide comfortable and interesting accommodation for 104 seated guests, 3 food stations, and presentation (aka dance) space.

5.) Create a decor that could be reasonably replicated by brides and grooms working with a caterer and/or designer, and that won’t break a mid-range budget. (This is not low-budget design, but neither is it pie-in-the-sky dream table design.)

Key Process: Collaborate with event designer Susan Childs from Select Event Rentals at their showroom in Baltimore. I’m very visual, so being able to pull the actual pieces together really helped me see how (or if) it was all going to work.

Method: Start with the largest visual surface – the dining table linens – and build from there. We found an absolutely incredible linen, ‘Seasons Summer’, which stole the show, immediately meeting all of the design goals. We surrounded the dining tables with brown Chiavari chairs with fern cushion covers, and used fern bengaline and satin pumpkin linens for the service tables (the fern was visually quiet where we wanted quiet, the pumpkin popped!). The dining tables were set with nothing more than a water glass, but what a glass! The gold goblets made a strong statement! Everybody loved – and talked about – them.

The dining plates, picked up at the food stations, were ivory and the napkins were amethyst linen. A dessert spread at each table was served on a gold platter, which from a cost point of view was one of the least expensive items, since it was actually (and undetectably) plastic! (See the 8/13/10 post for pics.)

We used another strong linen, ‘Jewel Taffeta’ , in the Library and the Ceremony Garden on the beverage and hors d’oeuvres tables. It made a strong initial impression and kept a visual relationship with what would later be revealed in the Ballroom.

Result: An outstanding event, with every component performing as planned! —David

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