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Guest Blog Post: How to Design a Romantic, Sustainable ‘Tablescape’ for Valentine’s Day

Derrick Taylor, president and founder of TAYLOR & CO., is a friend and exhibitor of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, presented by Mariano’s. With Valentine’s Day approaching, Derrick shares some fun, floral and sustainable ways to create a beautiful, romantic “tablescape” that will help make your night special and memorable for the one you love. Catch him live on NBC5 Sunday Morning News at 8 a.m. this Sunday, February 2!
Ever wonder why we give flowers, candies and cards on Valentine’s Day? Contrary to popular belief, it is not a fabricated holiday. The real meaning may surprise you and touch your heart.

The tale of Saint Valentine originated during the 3rd century in Rome. During this time, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young warriors. A priest named Valentine was furious with this injustice and defied Claudius by continuing to secretly perform marriages for young lovers. Claudius eventually discovered Valentine’s actions and sentenced him to death. (Not quite the fate of those who fail to buy their significant others flowers on Valentine’s Day, but clearly a lesson to be learned from history!)

During his time in jail, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, who visited him in prison. Before he was put to death, Valentine sent a letter to the young girl and signed it, “From Your Valentine”—an expression we still use today. Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD. Later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th a day to honor Valentine, who by that time had become a saint.

Today, we continue to honor St. Valentine and recall the history of Valentine’s Day each February 14th, by celebrating our love for significant others, friends and family. For thousands of years, the middle of February has been a time for fertility festivals, so it is no wonder Valentine’s Day flowers are often the Valentine’s Day gift of choice. For centuries, flowers have symbolized fertility, love, marriage and romance.

When combined creatively, flowers and common, inexpensive, sustainable household items can create dramatic, romantic “tablescape” centerpieces that provide as much of a feast for your senses as the delicious food you serve. Here are five simple elements to consider when creating your “tablescape”:

Derrick Taylor’s elegant “tablescape” was one of the hits of the 2013 Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

Derrick Taylor’s elegant “tablescape” was one of the hits of the 2013 Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

  1. Fabric
    The linens used on a table can really make a statement and create a mood, like a floor-length, pink silk linen.
  2. Candles
    This is an easy one. But, remember, you don’t want to use just one type of candle. There are pillars, votives, tapers and floaters. You can never have enough candles for a romantic dinner…ever! 
  3. Flowers
    This is a given and you don’t have to go to a professional to make a romantic statement. Your local Mariano’s has a wonderful selection from which to choose. First, choose your flowers wisely because carnations and pompons (daisy) will only get you so far. Stepping it up to roses is good, but when you start to use bridal flowers such as lily, freesia, gardenia and English roses, your special someone will know you mean business. I like to use floral consisting of South American roses (called Esperance), which we hand open to look whimsical. 
  4. Props
    This is how you take it to the next level. Candelabras and large cast statues used with a floral touch make this the “Bentley” of design and create a dining experience that’s very difficult for a restaurant to outdo. A polished-nickel candelabra, for example, can make your table look dramatic and adds interest vertically. 
  5. Romance
    Having the right music and a few well-rehearsed things to say is the last thing that you can do to make this epic! Your music can set the mood in seconds and should mean something to both of you.

Following these tips can help anyone make a memorable, beautiful, sustainable and romantic Valentine’s Day dinner that you’ll always remember!

For more helpful tips, please visit us online, contact us by email or give our office a call to visit our showroom in the West Loop at 312.771.8198.


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