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Over-the-Top Parties - Ladue News: Lifestyle

Over-the-Top Parties

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Posted: Friday, October 7, 2011 9:46 am

From an elegant wedding in the woods to a gathering filled with humorous contradictions and eccentricities, St. Louis knows how to party. We asked local caterers and florists to dish about the most outrageous or unique celebration they have helped orchestrate.

KEN MIESNER’S FLOWERS

Guests may have felt like they had fallen down a rabbit hole as they arrived at Bellerive Country Club. With an Alice in Wonderland theme, Ken Miesner and his partner, John Sullivan, were tasked with creating an elaborate homage to Lewis Carroll’s fantasy world for their client’s anniversary party.

Giant painted mushrooms and flowers with faces greeted the 200 guests, while an explosion of color and decorations waited in the dining room. Giant playing cards, hearts and cut-outs of the White Rabbit dotted the long tables covered with striped and polka-dotted fabrics, while mismatched chairs added to the quirky atmosphere. “We just wanted the whole thing to look like a crazy, mixed up tea party,” Sullivan explains.

Working magic with the floral arrangements, Miesner and Sullivan constructed teapots and cupcakes out of colorful flowers, while other flowers sat in crooked stacks of cups and saucers. With the host dressed as the Queen of Hearts, the scene was filled with whimsical details everywhere the attendees looked, Sullivan says. “It was just a really creative, fun party.”

STEVEN BECKER FINE DINING

Between the Real Housewives of St. Louis County and Tragedy at the Camp Fire, ‘Socially Incorrect’ was an apt description of the overthe- top cocktail party held at Laumeier Sculpture Park. With artist and director John Waters as the featured guest, Steven Becker Fine Dining created a menu and tone to match his unique sensibilities. “We wanted to embrace Waters’ irreverent style, so we came up with five very socially incorrect food stations,” says Rob Schaefer, VP of catering.

Faux pill-popping and martini-swigging ’70s housewives offered the 200 guests aged gouda and sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches scorched by their irons, while the Road Kill Gone Wild station featured slow-roasted pork shoulder and beef tenderloin served by ‘truckers’ and ‘mechanics.’ At the Down on the Farm stand, partygoers overlooked loose feathers and a bloody ax for ‘slaughter house’ chicken marinated in peppers and onions with an orange tarragon glaze, then ventured over to the Mamma Mia Madness booth to enjoy antipasti and aging ABBA wannabes in rhinestones and boas. Not to be outdone, the scouts from Camp Pyro in their burnt uniforms served up s’mores, while Chokey the Bear demonstrated how to start forest fires. “It was frighteningly funny,” says Schaefer, who dressed as a ’70s prom king for the night. “When guests first got there, they wanted to laugh but didn’t know if they were supposed to, because it was so out of the box.”

LACHEF

Set in the woods by a peaceful pond on a rural piece of property, a September wedding catered by LaCHEF combined extravagant details in a natural setting. Swans were brought in for the pond, while synchronized swimmers entertained guests. With the couple arriving in a horse-drawn carriage and leaving via hot air balloon at sunset, the reception’s menu had to live up to the scene around it. “It was a really beautiful setting out in the country, and we wanted to make it feel like you could have made the food right there,” says LaCHEF owner/president Sherrill Gonterman.

The hors d’oeuvres and buffet focused on local ingredients like Volpi prosciutto and Ozark Forest Mushrooms. Dishes included organic whole wheat pasta with arugula and grass-fed beef, salad with blueberries, green pistachios and dried pineapple in a vanilla-pineapple organic yogurt dressing, and a trio of harvest grain pilafs. “We tried to buy as many natural ingredients from the local providers as possible,” Gonterman says.

Free-range chicken and wild-caught salmon topped off the rustic, yet elegant, meal that blended well into the lavish party, Gonterman says. “The whole wedding was so unique and all of the elements tied together to create a great celebration.”

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