'Personalised guest portraits, calligraphed compact mirrors, origami animals,… finishing touches that really elevate a table', Andie & Liz, The Tablescape CompanyByHOPP Team
Liz and Andie, co-founders of The Tablescape Company, are friends who have both worked as event producers and stylists for over fifteen years.
1. Where are you writing this from?
Today we are both in a lovely sunny garden in Cobham, Surrey, setting up a table for a client’s birthday party. It feels lovely to be getting back to a bit of ‘normality’ after lockdown - we really missed seeing each other all the time and doing what we love (though we often joke that the main part of our job seems to be lugging boxes around and that certainly has been true today!)
2. What or who inspires you at the moment?
Well, we were both totally blown away by the Jacquemus ‘L’Amour’ show last week - it was so of-the-moment and beautiful.
In terms of ‘who’ inspires us…
When we started The Tablescape Company, we were so dispirited about the amount of waste generated by the events industry. We decided to create a company which would combine our love of styling with a kinder, more sustainable business model. On our journey of striving towards sustainability, we are inspired by some amazing, stylish, trail-blazing women…Cora Hilts (@corahilts), founder and CEO of platform for sustainable living Reve en Vert (@reveenvert), uses her voice to champion slow living, ethical brands and her Insta feed is just gorgeous. Carmen Jenny (@carmitive), digital editor of Harper’s BAZAAR Germany, posts about conscious consumerism and uses social media to give tips and slow fashion, styling and eco-friendly materials. Finally, Jasmine Hemsley is a total inspiration for us both - she is authentic, committed to sustainable-living, and a hugely successful businesswoman - goals!
3. How do you start your day?
Andie: I have two children, so I like to get up really early to have some quiet time before the chaos begins. I check my emails and get organised for the day ahead and then I like to do some exercise - a run or some yoga. I have my most creative ideas or have ‘aha!’ moments when I am out running, so even when I am really busy I make time for that bit of headspace to start the day. Then, obviously, a good strong coffee before the work day begins.
Liz: My day starts nice and early as my 3-year-old son wakes up anywhere between 5 and 6am. I like to spend some time with him before he goes off to nursery so I usually have a peppermint tea and we play before I throw on my gym kit to do the nursery run. When I get back, I do a 30 minute HIIT class, have a smoothie and jump in the shower, ready to start work at 9am.
4. What are your favourite accessories to use when laying a table?
We love to use seasonal plants, flowers and things we find in nature where we can…we take inspiration from what’s in season, what’s in our gardens, what we can forage. We like to add height to the centre of the table with tall taper candles and mix with low votives or tea-lights. But our very favourite element in a tablescape would have to be the placements…a fun, creative place setting delights guests and can double as a favour or gift for them to take home. At past events we’ve done personalised guest portraits, calligraphed compact mirrors, origami animals, personalised bunches of dried flowers…it’s these finishing touches that really elevate a table.
5. Imagine you were hosting a party: please pick 3 HOPP Suppliers you would would use
We would start with a grand pavilion from LPM Bohemia, add a feast from Blistering Barbecues and a stunning bar from Christabel's, then we’d have our good friend DJ She Plays Drums to keep us on the floor all night long. Wait, that's four, is that allowed?! There are too many gems to choose just three!
6. What are your 5 top tips for styling a tablescape?
- Our first tip is to set out your chargers/ plates and glassware at the beginning, rather than leaping straight into the central decor, so that you can see how much space you have to work with once all the items that are essential for the meal have been positioned.
- Secondly, even though it’s beautiful to add height and drama to a tablescape for a photoshoot, in real life it’s so important that everyone at the table can connect with the people around them. Don’t block sight lines with tall arrangements. Sit down in places where taller items are positioned and move/ remove them so that everyone can make eye contact.
- One of our styling touchstones for tablescapes is layering. Once you’ve chosen your ‘base tone’ - we usually use the tablecloth as an anchor to a look - you can create a completely tonal look by layering other items in that hue. Add depth and visual interest by adding in different textures and finishes. Alternatively, add depth by layering pops of contrasting colour/ pattern in your crockery, florals and decor. Just be sure to repeat an element or colour two or three times within the tablescape so it looks polished rather than crazy!
- We like our tablescapes to be a little offbeat, so we make sure that things don’t look too perfect and ordered. We always use odd numbers when adding in decor elements, and once we’ve finished adding in to the central decor, we tend to move a few things around or take a few things away, so it has a more organic feel to it.
- Our fifth and last tip is actually the opposite of number 4! As opposed to keeping your central decor a little ‘undone’, it’s really crucial that your crockery, flatware and glassware is super neat and aligned. Anything which is even slightly out of line really shows up in photos, and can distract from the overall beauty of the tablescape that you’ve created!