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Hosting a Garden Party With a Rental Table Collection From Hestia Harlow

Andrea loves to design and plan events. She especially loves small events, garden parties, and weddings.

Hestia Harlow has made it easier to host an intimate gathering with their signature table collections. You can easily entertain for a romantic date or a larger garden party.

Hestia Harlow has made it easier to host an intimate gathering with their signature table collections. You can easily entertain for a romantic date or a larger garden party.

Hosting a Garden Party

My husband and I decided to try something different for our book club. We think small, intimate gatherings can be just as important as large, formal events.

For families, a dinner table is a sacred place for conversation and relaxation. It's the meeting point where you can really get to know each other. A table for two sets the stage for couples. I think adding in more oomph to these small gatherings lets people know you really care.

My husband and I decided to try out a Hestia Harlow hosting box. We heard good things about the service, and it sounded right for our book club dinner.

The company has several hosting packages; we decided to go with the Adoro Amalfi collection. The set has amicable vibes and reminds me of my childhood home. I'm also a sucker for citrus-themed items and bright colors.

Location Is Everything

We hosted our party at the Fort Zumwalt Park in O'Fallon, Missouri. It's a scenic park with 48 acres of land and a lake for fishing. The homestead of Jacob Zumwalt was used as a fort during the War of 1812.

There are picnic benches throughout the park. We sat in the shade of trees and had a lovely view of the historic buildings and the lake. A couple of rabbits and ducks showed up during the party.

How It Works

Purchasing a rental package is easy. You won't have to make multiple trips to find centerpieces, floral arrangements, and the like. Hestia Harlow's method is sustainable: it beats buying pieces and then throwing them away after the party.

You also won't have the problem my mom had with her events. She struggled to find a place to store party items, so she had a hoarding closet that was full of craft supplies and holiday themed items.

Finding Your Aesthetic

You make your order online at HestiaHarlow.com. Peruse the company website and get a feel for what you like. The website is easy to navigate.

From start to finish, here is what your experience will look like:

  1. Select the collection you want on the company website.
  2. Enter the number of guests who will be attending your event.
  3. Pick a date.
  4. Add the finishing touches: flowers, charcuterie boards, place cards.
  5. Confirm order / payment.
  6. The hosting package arrives two days before your event.
  7. Host the party!
  8. Return the items to the sanitation bags and hosting box.
  9. Send back the box.

Receiving the Box

We received the hosting box on time. The company takes care of the shipping, so you don't have to go somewhere to pick it up. You don't have to drop off the repackaged box at FedEx or UPS.

Returning the Package

  • The company gives you a return label for you to put on the box. Packaging tape is also included.
  • You'll put the repackaged box on your porch, in front of your home, etc.
  • The company will setup a time for FedEx or UPS to pick up the package.

Check Your Box

When we received the box, we opened it and made sure everything was in there. If there are any broken items, you need to call the company and report it. They'll rush ship new items to you. If you don't communicate to them about damaged goods then you might get billed for those items.

  • I would check the flatware and utensils. Just make sure they're clean since you're renting items.
  • Check for any signs of wear and tear.
  • Look through the utensils and see if you need to add anything extra for your event, like a serving spoon or bread knife.
  • The box is heavy. If you need to take it somewhere, you'll want someone with muscles to carry it. Two people may be needed to lift it. Using a dolly is a smart idea.
  • The box comes with a checklist of items. Look over it, double check that you have everything you need.
  • Hold onto the checklist. It has instructions for you. It will come in handy when you repackage the items.

Adoro Amalfi Set

The set is warm and friendly, like a beloved Italian restaurant. The salad plates have colorful designs, the napkins are delightfully mismatched, and the blue Leah glasses add elegance.

The set is designed to transport you to the Amalfi Coast with its lemon groves and charming fishing villages. (Adoro simply means "I adore" in Italian.)

Most of us can't take a spontaneous vacation, much less get whisked off to Italy. It's easier to daydream about exotic places and then pretend we can bring some of Amalfi's charms to our table.

Trivia Knowledge about the Amalfi Coast

  • The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It's located in the Gulf of Salerno in Southern Italy.
  • It is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The coast is known for its production of limoncello liquor.
  • It is also known for its cultivation of lemons.
  • Vietri, a town on the coast, is known for its handmade ceramics.
  • M.C. Escher was inspired by the coast. Several of his art pieces were influenced by the tourist destination.
  • The Amalfi Coast was used for scenes in the 2017 film Wonder Woman.
  • John Steinbeck wrote about the coast in his 1953 short story Positano.

Adoro Amalfi Set Pieces

ItemQuantity

Willa Water Hyacinth Charger Plates

4

Justine Sea Swirl Dinner Plates

4

Harper Mosaic Salad Plates

4

Xena Tapered Wine Glasses

4

Leah Glasses, Blue

4

Flatware: Dinner Fork

4

Flatware: Soup Spoon

4

Flatware: Dinner Knife

4

Flatware: Salad Fork

4

Flatware: Dessert Spoon

4

Homespun Burlap Table Runner

1

Charcoal Stripe Cotton Napkin

2

Sunset Fringe Cotton Napkin

2

Unscented Votive Candles

6

Setting up the Party

My husband got really into setting up the table. He saw it as a puzzle. He was very patient to let me take all these pictures and stall dinner. Our guests loved the colors of the plates and the designs. They were impressed.

We sat near the Zumwalt house at the top of the hill. The vista there is beautiful with views of the lake. (I personally love eating near a lake or river.)

Should I Get a Tablecloth?

I do think renting a tablecloth will make your party look more professional. We went simple, and it was perfectly okay for our event.

We were cool with the burlap table runner. It comes with the standard set. The lemon garland and candles took up a decent amount of table space.

My recommendation would be if you're hosting a large party or a more formal event to add tablecloths and centerpieces.

Take a Spray Bottle with You

I recommend if you're hosting an outdoors party to take a cleaning spray bottle with you — and don't forget the paper towels. You'll want to clean down the table. Bring hand sanitizer or soap for you and your guests.

Spotify Lists

I just now listened to the curated Spotify lists Hestia Harlow has put together. We didn't use one during our event. It was nice to listen to the sounds of en plein air.

The Spotify lists are catered to each hosting collection. The playlist for Adoro Amalfi is full of traditional Italian music. Think Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin, Carlo Savina, and Marisa Del Frate.

Possible Additions to Set

ItemDetailsPrice

Marigold Venetian Tablecloth

2 sizes available: 132" round- fits up to 6' round dining table. 108" x 156"- fits up 4' x 8' rectangular dining table.

$75-85

White Linen Tablecloth

2 sizes available: 132" round- fits up to 6' round dining table. 108" x 156"- fits up 4' x 8' rectangular dining table.

$75-85

Black Linen Tablecloth

2 sizes available: 132" round- fits up to 6' round dining table. 108" x 156"- fits up 4' x 8' rectangular dining table.

$65-69

Adoro Amalfi Centerpiece

(1) Square Navy Runner - 20" x 20" (1) Lily Wooden Cutting Board (1) Natural Wood 6-Piece Cheese Knife Set (2) Quinn Crystal Compotes, Small (1) Faux Lemon Garland

$59

Positano Floral Centerpiece

Yellow Cymbidium Orchid, Cream Modern Fillers, Yellow Ranunculus/Rose, Exotic Greens, Glass Cube or Cylinder Vase

$180

Ravello Floral Centerpiece

Green Hydrangea, Yellow Roses Yellow Craspedia, Glass Cube or Cylinder Vase

$140

Sangria Bar

(1) Metal Sangria Sign (2) Mini Faux Tillandsia (1) Acrylic Beverage Dispenser, 3.5 Gal (2) Polycarbonate Carafes, 34 oz. (10) Zora Polycarbonate Wine Glasses (3) Penny Terracotta Tapas Dishes

$99

Hello Limoncello Cocktail Kit

Mixer Kit: 12-16 cocktails (Gin and Limoncello not included) +Fee Brothers Orange Flower Water, +Liquid Alchemist Raspberry Syrup, +Fever Tree Citrus Tonic, +Viski Channel Knife +Hexagon, Ice Cube Mold +Featured cocktail recipe cards, +Cocktail napkins

$100

Menu Boards with Printable Cards

Dimensions: 4 1/2" x 12 1/2". Available in Natural or Dark Wood.

$24

Reading and Drinks

For a book club party, I think you should open the floor to different books. Let people read what they want and come to the table to talk about what they've learned.

My husband is a history buff. He brought with him some books he's currently reading. He is learning about the history of Ireland and the Salem Witch Trials.

My Husband's Book Recommendations

  • The Witches written by Stacy Schiff
  • Ireland: A History, by Thomas Bartlett

What's on the Menu?

Hestia Harlow does cater. We didn't purchase food through them. I was the chef for the night. I spent a good chunk of the day preparing the food, and my husband was kind to share his birthday cake. (His birthday was earlier in the week.)

Salad

A spicy mango salad. It included mangoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and peanuts. To make the sauce I mixed together soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, and red pepper flakes. The salad tastes great. You will have bad breath though.

Bread

I'm obsessed with a recipe I have for Pullman bread. It's a sourdough recipe with a quick turn around time.

The bread is baked in a long, narrow, lidded pan. The bread was popularized after it became standard on Pullman railway cars. The flat tops made them easy to stack, so you could store more bread for long rides. Three Pullman loaves occupied the same space as two standard round-topped loaves.

Dinner

Chicken piccata and spaghetti. The sauce for chicken piccata is lemony, so the dish felt appropriate with the Adoro Amalfi set. It's not required to pair this set with Italian food, but it is the intuitive choice.

The spaghetti was fairly standard. It was heavy on the tomato chunks and garlic.

Dessert

A three layer chocolate cake with buttercream icing and raspberry filing. The chocolate sponges had a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I added raspberries and white chocolate chips to the top. A couple of friends from the party wanted to steal the recipe.

Wrapping up the Evening

By sunset we had finished our meals. We went into cleaning mode. We simply stacked up the dishes, scraped off any food, did a little rinse, and put the items into the sanitation bags and into the foam containers.

The company will do the scrubbing and deeper clean on the dishes. So don't scrub away muck, and don't cram a whole bunch of plates into your dishwasher.

We cleaned down the table and put everything into our car. When we got home, we walked around our neighborhood and gazed at the stars.

Closing Thoughts

  • We didn't have any anxiety from this experience. The box helped create an eventful evening.
  • I would consider doing this again.
  • The candles were a nice touch, especially after sunset.
  • We both thought the box was packed in a professional way. We enjoyed opening it and looking through it.
  • The checklist was helpful during the process.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

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