Designer Amy Courtney partnered with Brides and Lenox to create a day’s worth of tablescapes. You don’t want to miss her sneaky floral arranging and chic centerpiece tips
Designer Amy Courtney is exactly the type of person who you want to invite you over. She’s stylish, a sparkling conversationalist, and projects that certain kind of cool that can’t be taught. Plus she knows just what any event needs.
“My party must have: wine or it’s not a party,” Amy says.
But truly, Amy knows how to put together a perfect tablescape no matter the occasion. That’s why the folks at Brides asked her to help them create a day’s worth of decor ideas for a trio of shindigs. To make sure each felt distinct, Amy made sure they all had a chat-worthy moment.
“Every party needs conversation pieces, whether it’s food, an objet on the table, the wine, or the flatware,” Amy says. “You want to have something that excites people. And all of these tablescapes do—but they all take 20 minutes max to put them together. They look super layered and complex, but they are actually very simple.”
Vibe: Clean and fresh
Who is invited: The gal pals you want to subtly impress
To start the day, Amy wanted an arrangement that felt effortless yet totally impactful. So she looked to the great outdoors.
“The idea was to try to be a little daring with bringing the outside elements in,” Amy explains. “To be a touch resourceful with what you might have in your backyard.”
Of course, not everyone has moss on hand, but you can always use a little sod (or a roll of the artificial stuff if you’re stuck in the city).
“That’s what I miss so much about living in the suburbs is being able to go outside and hack some hydrangeas off the tree and bring them into the house and say ‘OK, we’re ready,” Amy admits.
The idea is to choose something organic and showcase its best attributes, so Amy kept the serving pieces and patterns minimal. What is there balances the dinnerware’s classic simplicity. Tendy rose gold flatware, copper glassware, and luxe marble add an injection of au courant to the entire scene.
“It’s uncluttered by forks or multiple plates or glassware,” Amy explains. “It’s a simple clean setup which equals simple clean takedown. I was going for approachable, unique, and easy.”
Vibe: An eclectic mix
Who is invited: A bohemian bunch
At lunch, things got a bit more eccentric.
“This just feels to me, if I were to walk into this lunch I would get the feeling of casual, laid-back fun,” Amy says. “Here more is more, the arrangement is very dense.”
To channel a maximlist-meets-Moroccan-inspired mood Amy used the Global Tapestry Collection, and then went overboard florals.
“I went asymmetrical with the greenery, and, for the flowers, I chose one of each of the most unique options I could find,” she explains. “I picked poppies and the pincushion guys, but I also threw in the pink roses for the soft feeling. The sweetness tempers the bold.”
Rather than going to a grocery store to get your flowers, Amy encourages stopping by your local flower or farmers market for buds and picking the brains of the professionals about seasonal and how to display it.
“Don’t settle for basic,” Amy says.
If you want to mimic Amy’s all-in arranging strategy, she recommends going 80% bold options, 20% more standard, approachable flowers with just a touch of filler for balance. She believes the maxim works for setting the table, too.
“It’s about being maximalist but knowing when to pull back,” Amy explains. “Always stick to the rule of thumb that you’ve got to simplify it somewhere. Here, the ground of the tablecloth is a pop of color, but it’s also very subtle and helps the whole situation blend better than if it was white or supersaturated.”
Vibe: Shimmer and shine
Who is invited: Your couple friends
For evening, Amy wanted to up the romance and the wow factor.
“I wanted it to look like you work hard, but you aren’t even arranging anything—you are just laying it down,” Amy laughs. “With the right flowers you don’t have to do as much work.”
To start, Amy picked geometric plates that popped and then calculated the best way for them to stand out.
“When I looked at the dinnerware initially I felt like it was really cool and modern,” Amy explains. “When we were mixing the patterns of the dinnerware we made sure that there were some plates that didn’t have a pattern all over. We mixed the patterns with the salad plate on top, but we made sure not to double up with one pattern on one place setting.”
Once the pattern play was established, Amy accessorized.
“Definitely the first instinct was to pair it with a funky gold or copper flatware instead of the silver world,” Amy says. “Then we came in with really dramatic table linens and candles in dark brown and black. That matte accessories provide contrast. The glasses are elegant and simple thin crystal. My inspiration was dark, opulent, and sexy.”
Laying the eucalyptus straight on the table makes for a big statment—something Amy thinks you shouldn’t fear.
“Be brave, don’t be afraid of taking it to a personal level and adding your own flair,” Amy says.
Good advice not just for entertaining but for design in general.