You’ve got to hand it to the Kappa Kappa Gammas. They made it all appear so seamless and festive. It was the Kappa Tablescapes program that benefits a variety of Kappa nonprofits and totally encompassed the Dallas Country Club Monday, October 21, and Tuesday, October 22. After months of planning, organizing and executing, Tablescapes Co-Chairs Alicia Wood and Amy Davis arranged for 51 designers and Southern gentleman James Farmer to fill the event’s proverbial dance card.
Monday, October 21 – Tablescapes by Candlelight
Usually dark on Mondays, the Dallas Country Club was as busy as costumed characters on Halloween. Everywhere designers and friends were busily setting up unique tabletops in every room of the club. The fragrance of flowers was more head-spinning than the Neiman Marcus NorthPark perfume counter.
Don’t for a moment think this task of creating table settings is a snap. When dealing with crystal, china, silverware and massive floral arrangements in such close quarters, it’s like coordinating rushees on the first day of rush.
And then there was the moment of near-oops! It seems one of the tables had slipped through the cracks and was . . . naked. Without hesitation interior designer Glen Boudreaux, who had finished his table ,offered to take care of the table in need.
And then there was photographer Holt Haynsworth’s table. It was a bride’s dream all decked out with portraits of brides at each setting. Behind the table was a large photo of a bride atop a State Fair porker. The story behind that shot was one that James would have relished.
But it all came together in time for the 600+ guests upon their 6:30 arrival for Tablescapes by Candlelight. Half of the club’s ballroom was decked out with part of the collection of decorated tables, while the other half was filled with buffets of food, bars and silent auction items.
Note for future reference: Forget the idea of this being a cocktail buffet. This was a feast.
While many happily settled down for dining, the vast majority perused the rooms with the designer tables. Hand-me-down napkin rings, dramatic centerpieces and flowers so colorful they made Opi nail polish look downright dull.
In looking at the assortment of arrangements, James smiled and admitted with his southern drawl, “I feel like a poor country cousin.”
Love those cousins! He was everywhere meeting new best friends as James Farmer books and wreaths were being sold in the stairway alcove.
Tuesday, October 22 – Tablescapes Luncheon
The final viewing of this Brigadoon of table fashions was set for 10 to 11:30 a.m., and the crowds didn’t hesitate to be there on time. Despite many having attended the night before, they returned eager to relive the presentations or see them in the light of day. That daylight proved to be overpowering as the sunlight flowed non-stop into the grill. Some claimed that a request had been made to lower the shades to cut down on the solar power, but no shade moved. Luckily, the towering centerpiece with red roses in John Phifer Marrs’ elegant setting stood the test flawlessly despite being on the frontlines of the sunny shower.
At 11:30 guests gathered in the ballroom. Where once had been bars and the buffet the night before, now rows of chairs filled the room to the max for a presentation by James. He didn’t disappoint at all with tales of his growing up in Kathleen, Georgia, and learning about cooking from the womenfolk in his household. Just a scattering of highlights of his talk included:
- Buttermilk makes everything taste better.
- Following a lunch with an Atlanta interior decorator, his mother told the designer, “I love ‘Carl’. I just have to tell you that ‘Carl’ makes me happy. . . And ‘Carl’ makes me smile a lot.” The visitor was stunned and said, “Who the hell is Carl? Your husband Ed just left.” Mother Farmer answered, “I’m talking about color.”
- “Fat is not all bad.”
- The Civil War was just”northern aggression”.
- “There’s a garden in downtown Macon. . . Macon is the next big town up from us. . . This garden had been planted in 1850. The soil is so rich that if you stand there long enough, your twin will pop up.”
- When something goes absolutely fabulous, James describes it as a “fried chicken moment.”
- When friend/ABC reporter Deborah Roberts (who “resembles the First Lady”) and James were having lunch at Fred’s in Barneys, he told her that “everyone is staring at you.” She told him that they weren’t. “They’re staring at you wondering, ‘Who is that kid with the First Lady.”
By the time he had finished his talk, everyone either had or tried to have a southern drawl, y’all. Guests then headed to their assigned designer tables for a James Farmer-styled luncheon that seemed to be linger a bit too much between courses even for the ladies who lunch.
But the question is, “Was the marathon Tablescapes a success?” According to Kappa Alpha Theta alumna Annette Simmons, “This is one of my favorite events of the year.”