by Marisa Marcantonio

A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending one of my favorite events of the winter season, the NYBG Orchid Dinner.  Sponsored by Hearst and Veranda, this year's NYBG Orchid Show theme is Thailand, and the table designs reflected the exotic feel of the faraway tropical locale. Now in its 15th year, the botanical garden display celebrates the magnificent flowers in their many variations, featuring over 1000 native orchids species. For the dinner at the Plaza, 25 designers created over the top themed tables, each one more beautiful than the next. Find endless inspiration in flower design, setting the table, and accessorizing with panache. 

Design duo Kapito Muller  designed a table better than any wedding. Flower designer Tom Borghese created a lush arrangement filled with roses. A tablecloth of a Schumacher print set the scene, and rustic touches, like wicker wrapped votives and raffia chargers added a casual element.  It was so beautifully done.


Great accessories bring a table to the next level and help take a theme further. 

Robin Henry designed a happy chic table that started with a vibrant green Bob Collins print with retro flair. Gorgeous pure white orchids the size of plates rose from the center of the table in a tree formation with smaller pink orchids creating a ground cover below. Fun woven hats and touches of wicker and raffia added a natural element.

Sweet scalloped napkins tucked into wicker votive holders added a dose of charm.

William Brockschmidt and Courtney Coleman of Brockschmidt and Coleman had a magical orchid tree made by a set designer that had votive holders and butterflies suspended from its branches. 

Housed in a basket, the tree was surrounded by small orchids and metal votive holders

Lake Forest designer Shelley Johnstone designed a table around a Claremont fabric. An enormous blue and white ginger jar, set in a mossy hill with smaller orchid arrangements had a charming look. She used Michael Devine for Marie Daage hand painted porcelain plates and monogrammed napkins.

With orchids, even the tiniest flowers can say something wonderful

Partnering with Frontgate, Lindsey Coral Harper made a fabulous centerpiece of their malachite vases and ginger jars, which I think are so unique and pretty. Coral branches and orchids extended skyward from them. An intricately patterned Jim Thompson for Tony Duquette print added bold color and Matouk monogrammed napkins tied it all together.

Printed menus from the talented Ginna Dunlap provided the finishing touch

Cullman and Kravis created a spectacular framework with hanging orchids. Filled with a rainbow of colorful flowers and palm leaves, you were instantly transported to the tropics,

Eddie Ross partnered with ATG stores. A giant gold palm tree that looked like it was fresh out of El Morocco emerged from the center of his table, set with smaller orchids, red glasses, gold goblets, glowing candles and a colorful Beacon Hill fabric tablecloth.

Katie Leede's bohemian-meets-modern art table honored the simple simplicity of the orchid. Scattered votives emit a glowing twinkle, just the thing for a glamorous dinner.

Caleb Anderson of Drake Anderson created a sculptural moment with his winding hazelnut tree branches centerpiece that included pale yellow orchids that matched the Lelievre tablecloth.

Shaun Smith who hails from New Orleans worked with Plaza Flowers who created a massive spray of deep red orchids coming from a giant white ming vase from his shop, Shaun Smith Home surrounded by blue and white ginger jars from Christopher Spitzmiller. Zimmer and Rhode fabrics were used for the tablecloth.

The stunning orchids for sale at the dinner always get scooped up immediately.