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Home for the Holidays: Festive Table Designs

Home for the Holidays: Festive Table Designs

There’s nothing quite as festive as a family Thanksgiving dinner, as joyous as Hanukkah, or as magical as Christmas. You can bring the whimsy of these occasions to your holiday meals with well-appointed table settings to delight adults and children alike. Small family gatherings allow loved ones unique opportunities to gather together, celebrate, and make lifelong memories. Emphasize the importance of the occasion by beautifying the table where once-a-year conversations will take place and precious time will be shared.

To make your intimate celebration an event to remember, begin with a simple tablecloth that will allow the rest of your elements to shine. Incorporate classic pieces such as elegant chargers, plates, and silverware, then layer on the whimsy. Brightly colored napkins, etched glassware, and themed place card holders provide visual interest and a festive scene. Flowers steal the show by dressing up any table with color, depth, and subtle scent. Tap into your own unique creativity to make your table settings memorable and magical for all of your guests!

Here are a few examples of table settings that Exceptional Events by Elisa can arrange for you on-site, or deliver to you in a box!

Photography by Butterfly Photography

Turn your Christmas dinner into a fun and festive event with delightful Christmas tree napkins surrounded by white wintry flowers, a subtle snowflake tablecloth, and white turtle-dove place card holders. 

Photography by Butterfly Photography

Capture the essence of Autumn with a Thanksgiving table setting complete with a tempting cocktail, warm florals, and harvest-inspired details.

Photography by Butterfly Photography

Experience Parisian elegance with elegant black and white tablewear, pink and gold accents, and a charming Eiffel Tower menu.

Interested in a custom table setting for your upcoming event? Then look no further than Exceptional Events by Elisa. We can set your table for you on-site, or you can take advantage of our new table setting-in-a-box offering. Please contact us for more details at (703) 752-6287 or [email protected].


River & Stephen (04/28/2018)


River and Stephen: A Love Written in the Stars

River and Stephen’s love story has been featured in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, a highly prestigious publication. We are delighted to have received this great honor, and are inspired to share their love story with you.

The epic love story of psychic River Zhong and Stephen Cheung is centuries in the making. Stephen, a courageous Chinese general, fell in love with River’s beauty and fiery spirit instantly during a past life. As a result of war, the two lovers were to be separated for another 300 years. Their destiny was ultimately fulfilled when River’s Godmother, serving as the couple’s matchmaker, recognized that the two lovelorn souls were fated for sweet reunion. Upon formal reintroduction, the blissful couple were astonished to have finally found one another, vowing not to allow life nor death to keep them apart.

Within four short months, the couple had arranged an intricate Chinese engagement ceremony to allow Stephen to formally request that River become his bride. During the ceremony, the couple’s matchmaker negotiated the dowry between each set of parents, which consisted of yellow gold jewelry that was placed on the bride-to-be by her future mother-in-law. The bride’s family also presented gifts to the groom and his parents as part of a special tea ceremony, including a money-filled red envelope symbolizing a blessing and formal welcome into the new family. River and Stephen own two successful restaurants in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area: Lavagna, offering fresh farm to table Italian cuisine, and Pow Pow, serving up delectable Chinese American dishes. The couple later celebrated their engagement during a party with family and close friends at Lavagna Restaurant.

River and Stephen planned for their wedding to carry as much symbolism as their engagement festivities. River’s psychic abilities led her to hire me – Elisa from Exceptional Events by Elisa to plan, design, and coordinate the day of the wedding with great attention to symbolism and detail. The bride chose a complementary set of award-winning event professionals to round out the team, including Butterfly Photography, Brookhill Florist, and Bowen Films. As restaurateurs and foodies, the couple chose to celebrate their nuptials at the highly acclaimed 2941 Restaurant. River and Stephen’s ceremony was attended by close family and friends, and was gracefully framed by koi ponds, waterfalls, and a lakeside view.

The ceremony and reception décor were accented with touches of gold to symbolize wealth, along with purple and cream florals, desserts, and favors. The color red played a vital role in their Chinese celebrations as a symbol of success, love, loyalty, fertility, and honor. The couple stunned in their engagement pictures with vibrant red Chinese apparel. River wore gilded red heels for the wedding ceremony along with an American-style lace wedding dress. She changed into another white dress with a delicate embroidered cape for the reception, as is traditionally done in Chinese culture to highlight the bride’s beauty. Multiple tea ceremonies served to honor the couple’s parents and officially usher the bride and groom into their new family.

River and Stephen were delighted with the flawless outcome of their day, and they felt that their wedding was perfectly fit for a love written in the stars. The joyous couple soon enjoyed a relaxing, tropical honeymoon with family in Miami to continue with the festivities. They will be planning a second, traditional Chinese wedding to take place in China at a future date. River and Stephen are in agreement that their spectacular wedding and newfound happiness were worth the centuries-long wait.


Grace Ormonde Wedding Style is dedicated to offering its readers innovative ideas and creative approaches from the world’s top wedding specialists. Recognized with prestigious industry awards for its superb printing and design quality, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style blends meaningful editorial content with select advertisers. Grace Ormonde Wedding Style is the most talked about luxury wedding magazine worldwide. Be sure to look for the exquisite spread featuring Leo and Bill’s wedding in the most recent issue of the magazine!

River Zhong & Stephen Cheung


Who Does What? Event Professionals Explained

Who Does What? Event Professionals Explained

You have a big event on the horizon, and can’t wait to start planning! You begin imagining the big day, browsing websites, and scanning social media sites for inspiration. Soon, you feel overwhelmed and buried by a blizzard of checklists and a daunting array of decisions. You know you’ll need help to pull it all off, but what type of event professional should you hire?

Doing your research, you’ve gathered information about a variety of event professionals including event planners, coordinators, managers, designers, and stylists. How do they differ in what they do, and who should you hire? Let us help clear up the confusion:

An Event Planner handles:

  • Planning, coordinating, designing, and styling: An event planner conducts meticulous event planning from start to finish, which includes the services rendered by an event coordinator, an event designer, and an event stylist. An event planner has a comprehensive role, providing the services of the remaining three types of event professionals described in this article, plus the planning and execution portion.
  • Smooth and seamless planning: An event planner takes the guesswork out of the process, making planning a wedding as seamless and smooth as possible.
  • Logistics: An event planner takes care of the logistics. From vendor referrals, coordination, and contract negotiation, to understanding and executing your vision.
  • Budgeting: A planner will keep careful track of your budget, ensuring you stay within your means while securing the best deals.

NOTE: Wedding planners are a subset of event planners; they specialize in weddings, and conduct all duties of an event planner for weddings. Event planners plan, design, execute and manage a variety of events to include weddings, birthdays, graduations, baby showers, corporate events, and more.

An Event Coordinator or Event Manager is focused on:

  • Logistics, on a shorter timeline than a planner: An event coordinator’s services are expedited; they serve as a week-of or month-of version of an event planner. An event coordinator will confirm vendor contracts and create a day-of timeline, making sure things like payments and guest counts are in order. They will not be involved in the earlier planning phases or in keeping track of your budget.
  • Coordinating on the day of the event: Part of an event coordinator’s job is to manage everything involved on the day of the event, from load-in and load-out, to ensuring that everyone is on schedule.
  • Tweaking details: An event coordinator makes sure everything you’ve done, up until they take over, is in good shape. Hiring a coordinator to take over the month before your event gives them time to tweak any details and follow up on loose ends.
  • Freeing you up to enjoy your day: An event coordinator ensures that everything is in order, nothing is forgotten, and you’re free to enjoy your celebration!

NOTE: An event coordinator’s work is performed for social events, while an event manager’s work is performed for corporate events.

An Event Designer’s role includes:

  • Translating your vision: An event designer’s role is to translate and enhance your vision of the event, making it a reality. They design your event before the big day, but do not style the event for you on the day of your event.
  • The big picture and details: An event designer designs everything from floor plans and tablescapes to linen selection, color palettes, floral designs and more.
  • Decision making: An event designer helps make the design decisions that will give your event a cohesive and stylish look.
  • Creating an environment that’s unique to you: An event designer has the ability to make your unique event vision a reality, weaving personality and sophistication into your event design.

An Event Stylist is charged with:

  • Stylizing elements of the event:  A stylist uses the client’s own supplies, including family heirlooms or purchased décor, to style the event to perfection. An event stylist works their magic the day-of the event, or during the few days leading up to the big event. They do not plan the overall design of the event ahead of time, which is instead the job of your event designer.
  • Transforming a space: An event stylist has an artistic eye that allows them to take your event designer’s preconceived design concept, and beautifully transform a space.

Event professionals are equipped to anticipate and troubleshoot problems that may arise in preparation for your event, allowing you to enjoy the planning experience with minimal stress. Ensure that your special day goes off without a hitch, with the help of the right event professional!

Are you looking for an experienced event professional to design your dream event, take command of the vendors, coordinate logistics, and ensure that your event runs smoothly? Exceptional Events by Elisa would love to provide you with an exceptional event experience! Please call us at 703-752-6287, and schedule an appointment today!

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