Endurance. Affection. Empathy. Sounds like the perfect ingredients for a Thanksgiving celebration that comes after long months of keeping our social distance. Event planner and floral designer Angela DiVincenti Babin of Angela Marie Events created a fanciful holiday gathering - set at Live Oak Arabians, a sprawling ranch in the heart of the city. The holiday scene is equal parts rustic and refined.
From the moment visitors arrive at the Live Oak Arabians barn, it’s obvious that this is no ordinary day in the hay. The arched front doors are set off with oversized grapevine wreaths upon which Babin affixed flowers in shades of coral, bronze, copper, mustard and peach. “It’s a color palette that’s not traditional for Thanksgiving,” Babin says. “It brings the masculine feel of the barn together with a feminine element that’s unexpected.”
Inside, the dining table is set beneath a massive chandelier laden with more of the warm-hued blossoms, along with foraged vines and branches. On the table itself, she has arranged dahlias, amaranthus, garden roses and white majolica along with leaves that are just finding their fall color, all within a petite footed urn. The centerpiece stands out atop a neutral textured tablecloth that puddles on layered Turkish rugs. Surrounding the table are bentwood chairs with rust-colored velvet seat cushions, and at each end is a weathered leather armchair that plays off the space’s masculine vibe.
“I think the rugs and the linens help to soften a space like this, with all of its wood and brick,” Babin says. “Rugs can give a warm feeling to any space, even outdoors.”
Babin opted for casual pieces to serve the food and drink, making this a no-fuss feast befitting its surroundings. Stoneware plates from Macy’s transition easily from everyday use to Thanksgiving and wood chargers echo the tones of the massive columns that flank the table. Plaid napkins from Pottery Barn give a wink to equestrian style, and hand-lettered menus and place cards on deckled-edge paper spell out the fact that these festivities are anything but fussy.
PREPPING FOR THE MANE EVENT Event designer Angela DiVincenti Babin shares her top tips for holiday hosting at home:
Bring the indoors out. “We have a huge family, so when we gather for family holidays, we often eat outside,” Babin says. “I love to pull out touches of indoor décor like these rugs and use them in unpredictable ways.”
Go green from your own backyard. “I used greenery that I found in a field behind my son’s school,” she says. “You don’t have to go out and buy every flower or branch for your arrangements.”
Seek the element of surprise. “It’s easy to get stuck in a decorating scheme,” she admits. “Try something outside the box like adding flowers to your dining room chandelier, and you can really jazz up a space without much effort.”
Basic is often best. “Details like these casual stoneware plates from Macy’s aren’t something you’re only going to use once a year,” she notes. “They can be part of your year-round rotation.”
Have a backup plan. “I always want to be prepared for the unexpected,” Babin says. “Keeping a closet or cabinet stocked with pretty pieces like dried florals and simple glasses and dishes makes it easy to mix up the look even if something breaks or extra guests arrive.”