Saturday, April 14, 2018

How to create a simple fresh table flatlay for a long Sunday brunch

“If you could invite anyone over for Sunday brunch, who would it be?” I asked my local florist, Jackie of Jackie’s Floral Gallery as we sat, ate and drank for Sunday brunch in my home. “Oooh, let me think … I would invite Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Ashton Kutcher and I love music and I’m sure I played guitar in my past life somewhere by a river in Mississippi … so definitely Santana, Dwayne Johnson ‘The Rock" and Tina Turner, she’s pretty cool … I would have them all over for brunch.”

“How would you style your dining table if you had them over for brunch?” I asked Jackie. “A simple flatlay of Australian natives, running across the table, just like this, where sharing plates of food can be laid on top and are low enough so we can see each other and have long conversations … and look into the eyes of everyone, especially The Rock … sigh”, Jackie says. Everyone at the table laughs. “I would use Australian natives like gum and hardy plants that last for hours without water because it would be one long brunch with those guests!”

I invited Jackie and her daughter Erin for a Sunday brunch. I’ve always bought flowers from Jackie’s shop but our exchange usually doesn’t last longer than 15 minutes at her shop. It’s always nice to have someone you see often but don’t know well over for weekend brunch.
When I invite people over, I mean it. I want you to sit down and enjoy yourself. I will take care of you. I will buy the food and get the drinks and I will clean up after. But Jackie kindly lent a hand and offered to style my table with her flowers and showed me how she would style the table if say Clint Eastwood accepted her invitation for Sunday brunch.

Indeed, brunch, lunch or dinner parties are about how the table looks and the food, but to me, a party you host at home is more about gathering people in your home, what is said, being curious about other people’s life, how you connect and the memories you create together. The flowers and food are the conduit to meaningful conversations, props for a lively and engaged gathering. Spending less time setting up and preparing food in the kitchen, and more time with your guests in conversation has always been my preferred approach to discover who your guests are.

"What I love about what I do is that I’m a part of people’s lives on significant occasions. I’ve created flowers for a bride for her special day and that’s really nice … and I’ve also had to create floral arrangements for sadder occasions. Just recently I had to a create floral arrangement for an 8 year old girl who passed away because of brain cancer. It makes you realise each day is a blessing. You have to make the most of each day and be happy with what you have.” Jackie says to me over Sunday brunch.

Jackie showed me how to do a table flatlay for a long Sunday brunch. It’s easy to do and won’t take long to set up. “It’s trendy at the moment. You won’t need any wiring or anything else like that – just foliage, seasonal blooms and scissors. It’s been popular and an economical way to set up a table for my customers. It’s just a flatlay of flowers and foliage that involves a weaving process.”

  • Floral cutter
  • Fresh foliage
  • Fresh blooms
Tips on choosing foliage for the table
When choosing greens, be mindful of picking greens that won’t immediately wilt and hold well out of water. “Use hardy, waxy plants that don’t need of water, which will ensure they last and still look fresh on the table. Olive branch, eucalyptus, peppercorn berries and gum nuts hold very well out of water” Jackie said. ‘It will last up to 6-8 hours on the table”.


1. Cut a length of olive branches and weave them on the table
2. Next cut the peppercorn berries with its ferny foliage and weave it through the olive branches
3. Add some dusty miller
4. Add some eucalyptus where there are gaps
5. Next, add gumnut branches
6. Standback and see where there are gaps and fill in the gaps with any final leaves for finishing touches
7. Add a touch of gum on the plates
8. You can leave the flatlay as is or add some small candles around flower flatlay.

Helpful styling hints 
1. Choose different shades of greens for a more interesting visual effect.
2. If you use a white table cloth, Jackie likes the soft neutrals colour palate to give the table a fresh and crisp look.
3. To prevent any staining to your table cloth, cut the foliage outside your home or on the floor so that all you need to do is weave the plants on the table. Be sure the foliage is dry.
4. For a looser look, make sure your leaves are pointing outwards.
5. If you add candles in small jars, make sure they are unscented because the foliage already has a beautiful, understated and fresh scent (I like to use Australian beeswax tea light candles) and ensure the candles are well away from any lose hanging foliage. 
6. A variation to this style is if you have shared platters, you can add food platters with stands in the middle of the table and weave the foliage around the platters edge to create a seamless look with the table flatlay. Alternatively, if your shared plates are flat, you can place them on top of the table foliage and flower flatlay.
7. When the party is over, you can arrange the foliage in vases with a bit of water ensuring no leaves on branches are underwater or offer guests to take some of the foliage home.

So the next time you are thinking you would like to host a Sunday lunch, invite someone unexpected and unfamiliar - you may learn something from them and engage in a lively conversation and less likely to encounter a situation of guests pulling out their phones and checking on them every 20 minutes. Set the table, arrange a fresh foliage and flower flatlay down the centre of the table, arrange for your best dishes you would eat, lay them out on the fresh flatlay and give all your guests something to look at but more importantly, spend some quality time to really get to know each other over Sunday brunch.

Jackie's Floral Gallery
296A Kingsgrove Rd,
Kingsgrove NSW 2208
(02) 9150 9010
Instagram: @flowersbyjackie

This blog article was submitted for the 2018 Sydney Markets Fresh Awards

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