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Special Events

Tabletop Gallery 2005 entries are tops

Ten outstanding tabletops--with themes ranging from a demure ladies' luncheon to an evocation of sensual fantasy--took the crowd by storm at The Special Event, Jan. 5-8 in Miami Beach, Fla.

In the category "Tabletops Under $1,000 Each," Cher Przelomski, CSEP, of Planning Factory International (, Wilmington, Del., and her team used real bed linen for table linen for the entry "Breakfast in Bed." Eight pillow-seat cushions with bed rests sat on the floor to serve as seating, with bed tray place mats sitting on sections of newspaper funny pages. Each place setting included an egg cup, bud vase and champagne flute. A trio of TV sets and plush sheep centerpieces rounded out the theme.

In the same category, Joanne Hulme, CSEP, head of Philadelphia-based Parties, Events & More (, tapped in to everyone's secret fantasies with "Fetish," an all-red "totally tactile" tabletop featuring a red patent tablecloth with red organdy overlay, red satin chair covers neatly laced up the back like women's corsets, and clear-glass chargers bearing an oversize image of a lipstick-stained kiss. The Mondrian-style centerpiece featured three-dimensional flowers and sexy shoes--all fit for an "adult pajama party," as Hulme puts it.

Grownups interested in a more ladylike party could have fun at "Girls Just Want to be Girls," from CP Ross Designs of Fayetteville, N.C. According to designer Cynthia Ross, the black and white tabletop evokes the memory of playing dress-up via décor including hats, which served as jaunty accents for chair backs, jewelry, feather boas and sunglasses. The sole source of color: a vivid red Cosmopolitan cocktail.

The color yellow made a punchy statement in "Lemonade," from designer Ira Mitchell-Steiman of Pembroke Park, Fla.-based ME Productions ( The sleek entry featured custom-screened lemon table forms and zesty “lemon slice” chair backs, along with a contemporary clear-glass vase filled with submerged fresh lemons, orchids and a lemon tree limb snaking upward. A lemon fragrance permeated the air, prompting guests to pucker up.

Designer Lisa Dwyer of Ballwin, Mo.-based Dream a Little Dream set sail with her “Pirate’s Table,” featuring a galleon with a 7-foot-tall main mast bearing two tattered black sails, as well as a treasure chest at the ship’s base. Red napkins were perched on jeweled gold chargers; the table itself sat on a 12-by-12-foot painted canvas of a "treasure map."

In the category “Tabletops Over $1,000 Each,” designer Noel Brown of Medallion Occasion Boutique in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., feathered her nest with “Birds of a Feather,” featuring a fantasy bird crafted of marabou, ostrich, pheasant and peacock feathers rising majestically from the table’s center. The monochromatic color scheme provided an understated backdrop for the sinuous form, with extravagant tableware serving as contrast.

Mitchell-Steiman proved a double threat, also creating “Kawayan” in the high-end category. Bamboo vases suspended along tall bamboo armature presented a vision of the kawayan, a Philippine musical instrument. Brilliant Philippine orchids and coordinating linen, tableware and candles completed the look.

Switching gears, Planning Factory International moved from sunny morning to sultry night with “Naughty But Nice.” Good fought with evil in the form of “fallen angel” appliqués on gold chargers haloed with pink cyalume, while lace garters served as saucy napkin rings and bustier “goody bags” came filled with champagne splits, feathers and handcuffs. Black angel wings decorated the backs of red satin chairs, while hot pink linen got a sexy topper in the form of black lace.

Isaac Ribas, designer with Deco Productions (, the winner from last year, came roaring back with “Simply Chic,” a sophisticated tabletop combining a monochromatic palette and sleek lines. Raw materials such as birch and rattan peel received added interest from river rocks, candles, and a working fountain with an exotic pastel floral arrangement.

Keli Korka, with Sunrise, Fla.-based One of a Kind Party & Event Design ( took attendees to Italy with “White or Red?” a lush table featuring moss and plum linens and a canopy of golden lights, vines, grapes and raffia.

Members of the Special Events Magazine Advisory Board gave the nod to Planning Factory International as winner in both categories this year. Entries were judged on interpretation of theme; aesthetics (quality in design and use of material); attention to color, unity and balance; and if the design could work at an actual event of 20 tables of eight. Each entrant was required to list the rental retail cost per tabletop, including the cost of floral, centerpiece, linen, service ware, flooring, etc.

The Tabletop Competition for The Special Event 2006 opens in August; watch the magazine and our Web site,, for more information.

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