Vanessa Ohayon of Vanessa & Co. Events & Hospitality (www.vanessaevents.com) pivoted her event production business, by planning intimate trips abroad for clients, focusing on COVID precautions and drawing attention to family heritage, rather than large-scale groups and hosting unique personalized online events. During the extended time at home, she discovered creative ideas to decorate and dress a table using pieces from around the house. Below is her lockdown-time inspired her tips & tricks to setting beautiful tablescapes without breaking the bank.
1) Start with the foundation, and in the context of a tablescapes, that means the linens. Use the coveted wedding linens from your parents wedding, to the newly fashionable Turkish towels. Turkish towels are thin and they come in a variety of colors! They can also be layered, depending on the length of your table. Napkins also add elevation to the table. They can be in-height coming out of the wine goblet, or simply placed flat between the salad plate and the dinner plate, under the silverware, or there are fun-folding techniques which on YouTube.
2) Don’t shy away from mixing and matching plate-ware and glassware. It adds personality and depth to the table, You can set guests facing each other the same, and guests beside each other differently for an eclectic, yet organized look. Deals on flatware, and dessert/salad plates are more affordable than dinner plates, so having a solid white dinner plate is perfect for versatility on the smaller plates.
3) Gone are the days of one big floral arrangement in the center of the table. We no longer have to remove the bouquet of flowers once everyone is seated to see everyone across the table, nor do we have to break the bank to buy those huge arrangements. Simply pick up a bouquet at your local corner store and inexpensively deconstruct them into various little glass receptacles around the house, including my favorite - Moroccan tea glasses.
4) Specialty cocktails are a way to keep the alcohol tab down, while offering red and white wine options. This eliminates having to have various hard alcohol options - just stick with one or two that can be offered as the signature cocktail(s). Don’t forget to dress those babies up with color! Add some berries, an orange slice, a cinnamon stick, or even my personal favorites - cilantro and sliced hot chilies.
5) Stock up on some lemons or some seasonal fruit – throw them in a bowl – an easy go-to for color, and no waste as you can enjoy them later in the week. Adding a sprig of herbs will add a touch of “je ne sais quoi” - like a spring of rosemary to set at each individual place setting.
6) For an easy DIY for creating name placement cards, you can find leftover gifting tags from your holiday season gifting box - put guests' first names on their plates. Otherwise, you can just cut rectangles from card stock paper and add a little symbol (a heart, a flower or smiley face) and write their name in gold pen, or gel pens.
7) Finally, Lighting – Natural lighting - if it’s daytime - lots of sunlight please —and in the evening, candles! All shapes and sizes, all over the house - More is more ;)
Vanessa says, "During the endless days spent at home, I started to revert back to my playful childhood days and pull things from around the house to liven up our dining experience at home. As a child, setting the table was probably the only chore I would volunteer to do, and now as an international event planner for nearly 20 years - the story line makes sense!"
Find me at www.vanessaevents.com
Ohayon, the principle of an international event production company –Vanessa & Co.Events & Hospitality; has expertise in production with high-profile clientele for private functions and personal celebrations. Ohayon was most notably published in Vogue magazine and combines her vision, design and strategy along with her meticulous attention to detail and regard for high standards, managing the project from conception to execution.
Her role as a producer runs deeper than just in event production. Her 18 years in the hospitality industry taught her exceptional service and decisive leadership. Her leadership style and production skills quickly led her into ‘first hire’ positions at new ventures and start-ups where she has experience in the growth stages of businesses and participated in successful venture exits as well. It is not unlikely to find her settling into a new city or even country to oversee the pre-opening procedures, design build outs, assembling teams and staying on past the opening to oversee operations.
Having started her career in the banking industry, Ohayon learned the foundations of structure and order, linear thinking and perfectly aligned balance sheets. As the DotCom era was taking off, Ohayon became the Marketing Director for an online gaming site. As an avid traveler, Ohayon speaks three languages, holds three passports, and is adaptable and easily delighted by the wonders of the world. Ohayon was a board member of a 501c3 in NYC – The Ruby Peck Foundation; whose mandate was to raise funds for Children’s Education and became an Ambassador to the Shanti House, raising funds to help children get off the streets and provide a path to a brighter future. She is constantly evolving and is currently enrolled in the PowerMBA Executive Program.