Columbia Winery Winemaker Dinner for AWW

Ah yes, we all love the 'Befores' and 'Afters', don't we?!

I have this problem of being so kicked into gear when I'm doing a project that I forget to take the 'before' shots -but this time, I remembered! So here you see the cellar at Columbia Winery, after cellarmaster Jean (Jjjhhaahhnn - it's French!) worked for hours to move stacks of barrels into position to create a 'room' in which we could set up the event. We've hauled in the Chiavari chairs and set up the 48" wide 'Kings Banquet' tables (....and OH, MY, can I just gush for a moment about those nice WIDE tables? Wonderful for planning centerpieces!) The linens went all the way to the floor, too, so it was very elegant.

My most able assistant for the day, Mr. Deb, strung cables and wire and hung curtains and set lights...and did his fave job, hooking up our MP3 players to the sound system to play our pre-recorded 20's jazz! (We had Charleston-style ragtime upstairs for the reception, and Gershwin piano downstairs during dinner.) The event planner at the winery, Karen, set up the stage & screen and set more lights and dealt with chefs and all sorts of crazy things that I am glad I don't have to!. Lovely assistant Janel helped me wire dozens of crystals & glass vases to hang above the tables. With long mirror strips running down the centers of the tables, and silver champagne stands holding candles sitting on the mirrors, and big mirrors sitting at the table ends to reflect it all, it was almost ready....

White orchids went into the hanging vases, and we lit the candles, and here's what it looked like:

What's frustrating is that none of the photos show the hanging crystals very well!!! It looked very sparkly and luxe in person, tho. Our theme this year was 'Roaring 20's' (as it is the 20th anniversary of the Auction of Washington Wines), and I went with a cool white & silver, Jazz Age, swanky gin joint look. 'Fire & Ice'.

Oh, speaking of swanky, check out Jen, our chanteuse for the evening...she performed a sultry rendition of 'All That Jazz' from the film 'Chicago' with flair and style and flying feathers from her boa! I also made CD's of the music from the evening for each guest to take home - six ragtime tunes and six slow Gershwin tunes. A nice surprise that they all really enjoyed.

I usually set up these events, then go grab some food and sit and rest until it's time to tear it all down after the guests leave. It's all work and no play.
Well, this time, Cinderella got to go to the ball.....

We rented this FABulous Rolls Royce and had it sit in front of the walkway, so that every guest could get a 'Paparazzi Shot' of themselves 'arriving' at the dinner and walking the red carpet. I could NOT resist when our turn came....and I think Mr. Deb and I cleaned up pretty well, considering that an hour earlier, we were in jeans and tennies! Seattle's Team Photogenic was our official photographer, and the photos are all incredible, as usual. (The photos I used here were all taken by my husband or myself, or a staff member).

I hate photos of myself, I really do. I never think they look like the 'me' I see in my mirror. But my hubby took this one as I was lighting the candles before guests arrived...and maybe it's because I was happy with the results of the planning, maybe it's because I saw his sweet smiling face, maybe it's because I was thrilled about attending the dinner as a guest, (or maybe it had something to do with the glass of wine I had)....I dunno'. But it's probably the best photo I have ever taken, so I'm showing it off!


  1. WOW! WOW! WOW!

    What can I say, everything looks amazing. I love the barrels as a wall. I think it is a stunning visual and of course very appropriate for the theme. I love the champagne holders with candles. I hope you don't mind me stealing that idea for my next party. Were they yours? May I ask wehre you found them?

  2. Anonymous3:43 AM

    Beautiful pictures and lovely photo of you and Mr. Deb and just of you. Thanks for the Kahlua tip.
    Carmen Alexandra

  3. Bacchus, you are of course most welcome to snag that champagne stand idea!

    Yes, they are mine - I found them at the local Restoration Hardware outlet last July. I've looked for more, to no avail. (I have eight; would love a total of twelve.)

    Instead of using the silver ice buckets that came with the stands,
    I got the clear vases at IKEA - 12 bux each for the 13" tall size. They fit perfectly into the stands!

    The tall candles I use are also from IKEA - three bux each, I think, and they burn forever. You can also add flower petals, wine, crystals, whatever to the bottom of the vase around the candles.

    At this event, I put each pillar candle into a tall pillar glass vase and THEN put it into the larger vase on the stand - the extra layer of glass made the flame sparkle more. Crystals hung around the edges of that tall 'inner' vase added more sparkle, too.

    PS: Mirrors running down the tables are cheap 5.99 'back of the door' mirrors from Wal-Mart! Their simple black frames looked very art deco.

  4. I say...you are absolulety gorgeous! I have no idea how I found your blog...but, I'm so glad I did! Your on my blog side column!

  5. That is an awesome picture of you mom! Now I see Beth in you ;)