Clever hacks for southern summer entertainment – Garden & Gun

Just as I love browsing through glossy photos showing how interior designers live in their own personal spaces, I find it just as fascinating to know how event and floral designers create magic when hosting their own little celebrations for friends and family (im as opposed to, say, a giant wedding). Why? Because the home of a creative person is, in my opinion, where the true originality and spontaneity happens. And where the best takeaway ideas (for the rest of us) live. Here, some of the South’s brightest talents share their favorite entertainment products and secret signatures.

Blake Sams

event designer, Gregory Blake Sams Events

Charleston, South Carolina; and New York, New York


An antique or antique ice bucket

“I kept one in every room in the house and a few on our patio,” says Sams. “Before guests arrive, I make sure there is enough ice in each bucket to fit a bottle of wine or a carafe of stacked cocktails. They make it so much more enjoyable to serve and entertain.” $375-850;


Fancy glassware (that’s not precious cargo)

“Luigi Bormioli’s Bach Collection works with anything traditional or modern, and all pieces are easy and inexpensive to replace.” From $30 for a set of four;


Real linen cocktail napkins

For an elegant but casual touch, “I serve every drink in my house with these oblong white cocktail napkins.” $67 for a set of six;


Strength. Lots of it.

And to keep everything looking crisp, “Kershaw’s traditional heavy gauge will change your line game,” says Sams. $14;

Shean Stark

flower designer, Shean Stark

Atlanta, Georgia


food tents

“Nothing ruins an outdoor summer party quite like blackflies,” says Strong, “and I love these minimalist, handcrafted cases.” $30 each;


Japanese secateurs

“These are my favorite shears for trimming things from my yard for parties,” says Strong. $26-$28;


Many by Bud Vases

“Whatever I cut, I add flower vases like this one to display on the table, bar, powder room and kitchen island,” he says. “It gives the party a meaningful feel and brings it to life.” $4;

Rebecca Gardner

event designer, Houses & Parties

Savannah, Georgia


A standing champagne bucket

“I put one in the living room for cocktails and one at the dining table,” says Gardner. “That way I can enjoy my guests and Keep glasses full.” $398; houses and parties. com


A salad bowl on a stand

“It’s a great summer trick,” says Gardner. “I can serve the first course right at the table and wipe it away.” $198; houses and parties. com


Relaxed nibbles

“I hate tricky canapés and anything that involves a dip makes me swoon,” she says, laughing. “My favorite way to serve Lay’s is potato chips, salted nuts, and cheese straws.” $21;


Paper lanterns suspended from fairy lights for ambiance

“When you’re outside, create a small environment and hang dozens –low so that your guests can immerse themselves in the magical world.” $38; houses and parties. com


Frozen food failed

“I always buy a few things from my farm… Peperidge Farm,” Gardner says, laughing. “Their frozen corn soufflé is delicious with toasted tomatoes, and sometimes I’ll stack two of their coconut cakes and top them with toasted coconut. Nobody knows, and I just take the compliments.” $4;

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