Ah, summer in New York City: a time of year when sweltering daytime temperatures consistently pay off with serenely warm and perfect nights. But what if your outdoor dinner party gets a good dose of flash floods and heavy rain? If you're event design studio Tinsel & Twine, you soldier on—and create a memorable ambiance at one of Manhattan's most magical locations.
The location: Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel, a rooftop bar and restaurant with a secret-garden vibe. Rough-hewn stone and abundant greenery formed an artfully wild backdrop for an alfresco dinner for 40 hosted by fashion site Vestiaire Collective. The space was paired with more mannered tabletop styling for visual balance. "Creating clean lines and a sense of uniformity on the tabletop helps pull together wild, rustic spaces with distressed details like Gallow Green," says Tinsel & Twine partner Erica Taylor.
A lush garland of hydrangeas, peonies, tulips, and scabiosa flowers, interspersed with brass candlesticks, ran down the long central table, which was clad in metallic burlap by Nuage Designs.
"We always try to incorporate design elements so that flowers don't feel too feminine or precious," says Taylor. "Here, we balanced the mostly cream-and-blush color palette with deep indigo figs at each place setting and dark mahogany menu boards."
Another of Taylor's tips is to bring in unexpected juxtapositions. "We don't like to go too industrial in warehouse spaces, or too rustic-chic in barn venues. It's more fun to shake things up and give a space a new life," she says. "For this event, we wanted to keep decor focused with a decidedly polished and upscale feel."
How to counteract the storm clouds overhead? "When in doubt—always, always more candles! It's the best way to ward off rainy-day blues," says Taylor. "And everyone looks their best by candlelight, especially when there are points of light at varying levels: tabletop and overhead."