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A french wine country dinner.
Number of guests: 64
Estimated cost: $18,000
Having spent summers in Provence with her family, Anne Quattlebaum, owner of event design firm Bella, was fascinated by a particular tradition held by French winemakers. When a child is born, the family puts away a Salmanazar (a case of wine in one gigantic bottle) from that year; the vintage is later decanted to celebrate the child’s wedding. “I thought that was so charming,” she says. “For a bride and groom who share a love of wine and French food, a Provençal wedding is a relaxed, yet elegant way to go.”
Quattlebaum chose the Wickliffe House—an historic family mansion with double piazzas overlooking a lovely garden—for this French vintner-styled party. To import an authentic touch of Provence, she selected the purple colors of lavender and rosemary blooms, which she set off with special-order French majolica in warm shades of gold and yellow.
Pulling details from the majolica plates, Alice Lemonade Designs handpainted the invitations and menu cards to match. “We found some lovely lavender and gold paper that pulled the color palette together,” says Quattlebaum.
Topiaries of yellow and lavender roses studded with rosemary provide lush, soft shapes, evoking the formality of French gardens. Continuing the Provençal theme, the favors—rosemary plants in mini terra-cotta pots—accent each place setting.
A Francophile’s delight, the three-course meal catered by Mediterra consisted of a vichyssoise infused with white truffle oil, tartare of beef tenderloin, and pan-seared whole trout with sauce mousseline served with haricots verts. “Soup certainly goes better with wine than a salad, and while lamb or beef would be an excellent main course, many brides prefer something lighter in the springtime,” Quattlebaum says.
Quattlebaum advises couples not to get overwhelmed. “I find that people often have one element that they feel is important, such as the cake or the flowers,” she says. “I tell them to use it as the centerpiece for the party design.”
Invitations by Alice Lemonade Designs
Catering by Mediterra
Cake by Kennedy’s Market & Bakery
Rentals from AAA/All Occasions