We’re finally settled at home and are getting into the Christmas spirit. December was an amazing month packed with our final weddings of the year, lots of travel and a few nights at home which were spent over the dinner table with friends.
Gregory Blake Sams is a well-regarded wedding planner and designer here in Charleston. I was initially drawn to him because of his eye and style which I admire so much and am fortunate to call him a friend. I love spending time with him not only because he makes me howl with laughter but because I always learn something new — whether he introduces me to a new china pattern, plant, room arrangement or family history, he has an encyclopedic mind, is so talented and a treat to spend time with.
What a privilege it was to snap a few photographs of this holiday dinner party he set in his home. I had to ask him how he did it — he makes it all look so easy !! Read on to hear more about his inspiration! We’ll be trying to lay a similar table on Christmas day…
I love how rich and lush this table is; it mixes classic pieces with fresh, unexpected touches. Tell us how it came to be!
I love playing with my grandmother’s china and silver and by layering unexpected pieces (like malachite), the table feels more current. The theme was “lush” and “abundant” — it was intended to be a decadent night, and it was! The holidays is the perfect time to spoil your loved ones, and we mixed in lots of fresh fruits (locally sourced and some from Trader Joe’s), with sensational, vibrant and fluffy flowers.
We started simply by rearranging some furniture — we wanted the table to feel cozy and intimate, and a large green velvet sofa provided the perfect banquette. We pulled a chocolate Belgian linen as a moody but neutral tablecloth and then gathered every silver candlestick in the house, along with several beautiful estate pieces from our friends at Croghan’s Jewel Box, as we felt the room should be lit only by candles. The vintage malachite placemats pop well against the Ginori plates — a classic. We then layered in compotes and vessels full of fruits, berries, and exotic date palms. The central arrangement which stretches throughout has an ombre pattern which makes the table feel original.
What principals do you always follow when setting the table:
Set it, walk away, come back and take one thing away!
What are fun dinner party activities for the holidays ?
I am in love with these pass the parcel oranges — every layer reveals a fun present, joke or surprise…. The perfect relief after a few heavy courses and a bit less expected than a cracker!
How do you mix florals and fruits, do you watch out for certain color combinations:
It’s always a balance of size, scale, and color. For this arrangement, it was important to stay with those rich ruby tones, so the pop of orange citrus and date palms looked beautiful in the dark room. I always think it is important for fruit and flowers to be placed in a way that it would grow in nature. Things that hang down should hang down etc.
Do you have a favorite holiday cocktail?
I consistently enjoy a Manhattan over the holidays! We always keep a well stocked bar here at the house and office so that every guest can have what he or she wishes! We’re all about making people feeling their most happy and relaxed.
And we did! xxx!!!