A great tablescape in the right setting is truly impressive. It’s a combination of surroundings and a creative canvas transformed for sitting, relaxing, dining and conversation.

For inspiration of this sort, head to the annual Designer Showcase hosted by International Live Events Society Denver Chapter. Hosted in partnership with the National Association of Catering and Events Denver in 2019 and bumped up to January, six teams made up of planners and suppliers dreamed up vignettes with tablescapes inspired by well-known fashion designers. The award winner was the Kate Spade display, and I’ll give you a glimpse of that tablescape as well as the one inspired by Ralph Lauren. For additional photos and details about the Kate Space vignette, you’ll need to wait for the Summer 2019 issue of Colorado Meetings + Events!

Occasionally I browse around LinkedIn, and not long ago I ran across photos posted by Affair with Flair owner Leslie Heins that captured a luncheon she co-hosted with business partner Lisa Cook as a salute to friendship. I love how the tablescapes that were created in partnership with DesignWorks played off the popular Dior exhibition recently presented by the Denver Art Museum. After lunch, the group was indeed whisked off by a shuttle to DAM. We’ll treat readers to a mini tablescape spotlight in Summer 2019, as it could have worked for a small meeting or retreat as well.

For the next two tablescapes that also recently caught my attention, we move to San Juan, Puerto Rico. After the damage inflicted from Hurricane Maria in September 2017, I was curious about how the island was recovering and was invited to see for myself along with two other journalists and around 15 meeting planners and clients who were looking at venues, lodging properties and experiences for groups. There were two tablescapes that wowed the group, both utilizing a long table: one for a luncheon on Isla Verde Beach with aqua-colored water and white sand as the backdrop hosted by InterContinental San Juan and the other at the historic San Cristóbal Fort in Old San Juan presented by Discover Puerto Rico.

Let’s start with the beach. All of the InterContinental Hotel’s indoor meeting and event space was occupied the day we visited, which tells you that San Juan is very much recovered and back in business. Several hotels have completed total renovations, and the InterContinental is next on the list with plans to be fully finished by November 2019. But back to the topic at hand. The InterContinental team took the challenge and created a temporary structure on the beach with a gauzy roof, providing hats and wood fans to guests as they arrived. The table décor was some of the prettiest I’ve seen, and we all marveled at the atmosphere created along with the tasty cuisine.

All stops were pulled out for our last night in San Juan with a cocktail reception and dinner at one of two historic forts on Old San Juan. We were loaded in a limousine and served champagne along the way and were treated to white and red sangria, appetizers, live entertainment (dancers and music) and an infused rum sampling station upon arrival. An actor dressed in a period soldier costume led us through a tunnel to a large open space that featured a tablescape that equaled the beach presentation in wow power. I loved the florals, lighting and mood captured along with music by a three-piece band lightly bouncing off those historic walls and a superb meal by a well-known chef. Upon arrival back at at the beautifully renovated El San Juan Hotel where we stayed, there was a framed photo taken of each attendee with two soldiers at the farewell party in our guest rooms.

Tablescapes do make an impact. Get creative and don’t skimp on the budget for this area of an event if possible. Sometimes it’s more about having a vision than the big bucks. Follow the lead of these terrific examples!

For groups looking for something completely different than hotels and lodges, Four Points Funding has the solution with Camp Eddy in Grand Junction and BV Outlook in Buena Vista. Both are part of the company’s Outdoor Hospitality Portfolio and offer venues attendees are sure to remember. 

Camp Eddy


Fort Collins announced as host destination for Sept. 27-29, 2023.


Uncharted Society works with outfitters across the globe to give groups and individuals the opportunity to try motorsports on BRP-certified vehicles. Teams can bond in some of the nation’s most beautiful spots on a wide range of nature tours offered on land, snow, and sea. Check out these three examples from Colorado and Utah.