From the October/November 2017 Issue  

Casting a Glow

Writer Ren Miller  |  Photographer Chris Veith  |  Designer Kate Rumson  |  Location Peacock, NJ
  • The golden glow of candlelight sets the mood for an elegant dinner party at Natirar resort in Peapack, New Jersey.

  • Place cards made of Cambria quartz countertop material bear the names of each guest. Think creatively when planning the décor for your table.

  • Small bouquets of white flowers from grace the table.

  • Individual take-home cakes from Lady K’s Bakeshop in Marlboro, New Jersey are emblazoned with the names of the three sponsors of this party and sit on a piece of Cambria quartz countertop material. You could use seasonal themes or the names of guests for your cakes.

Serve up a warm and welcoming atmosphere when entertaining this autumn.

Earlier sunsets signal cooler temperatures in New Jersey and a return to indoor entertaining. Celebrate the change of seasons by inviting friends for dinner and make it memorable with creative décor, but keep it low key with careful planning of everything down to the place settings. Then when the party begins, you and your guests can mingle in a relaxed atmosphere.

At a party to celebrate the birthday of Kate Rumson, the creative force behind The Real Houses of Instagram (@the_real_houses_of_ig), friends gathered in shimmering candlelight at Ninety Acres, a farm-to-table restaurant on the grounds of the Natirar resort in Peapack, New Jersey. The event was sponsored by quartz countertop manufacturer Cambria (for whom Rumson is business development director), The Real Houses of Instagram and Design NJ.

Rumson and Laura Wendling of Cambria wanted guests to have a memorable evening; they planned every detail in advance so they could enjoy the event as much as everyone else. Guests arrived to find the room bathed in the soft glow of gold pillar candles and white candles in clear votives. (Who doesn’t look good in the golden glow of candlelight?)

An unconventional square dining table (four chairs per side) meant that guests had a direct sight line to everyone else—no need to lean forward and wave wildly to get the attention of someone farther up a long narrow table. If your table isn’t square, consider renting one. Or use two rectangular tables side by side. Your guests will appreciate the effort and the novelty.

What to do with the extra space in the middle of the square table? For this party, an artful arrangement of candles, small floral bouquets and individual take-home cakes with the logos of the three sponsors (you could do the same with seasonal themes or the names of guests) created an out-of-the-ordinary display. A word of advice from Rumson: Avoid the inclination to set a large cake in the middle of the table because it could look like a wedding reception.

The table was set with dinner and salad plates from Lenox’s Casual Radiance collection of white china splashed with gold—all topped with a place card made of Cambria quartz emblazoned with each guest’s name. Consider making your own place cards using a pretty colored leaf with each guest’s name written with a black marker, two or three small chrysanthemums gathered by a ribbon or some other token representing a mutual interest of those gathered around the table such as a toy boat, a musical instrument or a miniature novelty book.

The dinnerware rested on gold chargers and lacy round gold placemats and was bordered by Lenox’s Marchesa Imperial Caviar flatware in stainless steel plated with lustrous gold, carrying through the theme of the evening.

Black striped napkins were made for the event with fabric by Schumacher.