After the longest summer in memory, all of Tennessee was so ready for cooler weather and that especially applies to evenings where entertaining is on the books. While cozy dinners by the fireplace in the winter are never a mistake, there is just something lacking when forced to stay cooped up under the blast of air conditioning.

All over the South, people started moving outdoors as the sun sets, seeking solace and relaxation in the cool night air. For me, it feels like California, where I have spent so much time over the past few years both working and playing. From intimate client and friend gatherings at top Napa wineries to serious chef dinners in Beverly Hills, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of incredibly lovely outdoor settings. Hosting in these locations was always so much fun, likely because it reminds me of fall in my hometown. Now that it’s here, I am thrilled to see so many people embracing the short season where dining alfresco is perfection.


Friends of TJ Martell Foundation at Johnny’s

When it was still a bit sticky hot, I got lucky on an evening under the gorgeous covered porch of catering guru and chef Johnny Haffner spread out an eclectic array of tableware on his homey back porch in Green Hills to help my friends raise money for TJ Martell Foundation. It’s one that is close to my heart and the people involved are fabulous (and fun). Bringing a bottle of wine and a few dollars to join friends in passing Johnny’s delectable creations is never something to turn down, but on this evening with a brewing storm and rainfall as the next season moved in, it was sheer magic. But, before the rain and the wine and the crazy laughter, the table was the point of intrigue. Just enough mismatch to feel perfectly coordinated is the way that I would describe it. Set to make room for all of the vino bottles and no intruding arrangements so that conversations were never interrupted. I would attend dinner on this porch with this setting every night if I could – especially if it were with these people and this host.


Table Genius Tips:
  • Party Seats – Colored chairs to compliment the glassware and linens
  • Green Everywhere – from centered plants to the heavily scented herb garden behind the porch
  • Messy Encouraged—Kitchen towels with waffle material in sturdy cotton soaks up all spills
  • Surprise Elements – Bright ceramic figurines and art placed randomly on the table


Images via Stacie Standifer

Garden Harvest Celebration

What’s not to celebrate when you have one of San Francisco Bay’s best chefs on hand to serve the meal? For us, it was also the weather. The Nashville Edit crew put together a night under the stars that drew some of the most impactful and interesting tastemakers in the city. Wells Fargo Private Bank made the evening possible, and their whip-smart but lively group led the way for an amazing experience enjoyed by more than 200 discriminating palates. From gourmet fare starting with spreads by NoshBoards Franklin, to soaking up some Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, to the live music by two of Music City’s most famous songwriters – every moment was special. That of course, included the table. In a mixed setting of round and rectangular wooden arrangements for 10-12, event planner Amos Gott captured the event vibe perfectly by creating inviting spaces for groups to gather. His use of natural elements in the centerpieces worked well in the farm environment and the candles were a huge help in discovering the joys delivered from the chef’s team.

Table Setting Tips:
  • Mix it Up— Rounds had neutral cloth covers while long tables remained bare
  • Wine Time- Placing elegant glassware in a casual setting elevates the experience
  • Go for the Gold—A muted tone flatware melted seamlessly into the décor and fall color scheme
  • Full Circle—Overhead string lights strategically placed to ‘tie’ tables together in form


Images via Alaina Mullin