Design & Décor, Entertaining, Holiday

Easter Entertaining, Newport Style

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Spring is a time of rebirth and rejoicing! The just-departed snow has provided water and a sheltering blanket of protection for dormant plants. Buds and early bloomers are starting to raise their heads. And this is the first Easter since my website,, went “live” last fall, inspiring me to create something special and celebratory as the occasion suggests. Purple came immediately to mind, a color I’ve long associated with Easter, and its shades offer endless possibilities.

Easter Entertaining

Celebrating Easter over a luncheon speaks to an essential part of my life that inspires each day, and without which, a day would not seem complete…coming together, gathering with people…from friends to family to colleagues; a new acquaintance or a friend-of-a-friend. This may be as simple as a cappuccino grabbed on the run in the morning or a more relaxed tea in the afternoon; a kitchen “stew supper” or a Valentine dinner for 30.

Easter Entertaining

In honor of this luncheon celebration, I chose one of my favorite decorating ideas – the bow-tied table. What could be happier? As you read the simple how-tos, let your imagination consider all the occasions and possibilities to which this understated décor can chic it up (my Christmas cranberry red with gold brocade table bow is always festive.) There truly isn’t a party or event where this would not be a welcome touch!

Easter Entertaining

That cheerful bow, placed atop a tablecloth in a softer shade of lavender, makes such a statement that the rest of the table almost begs to be a study in minimalism…obviously, no centerpiece is required. Just waiting for their star-turn were the purple French Biot blown-glass goblets that I’ve had for almost thirty years. Rounding out the subtle accents of purple were sweet peas (yes, a splurge at this time of year but such a precious, delicate nod to the occasion.)

Easter Entertaining

And why not dress up the chairs, lacing a long sash through the spindles to give the appearance of a “shrug.”


Saving the other scene-stealing part of the occasion for the dessert course assures that the Easter bow will be the conversation piece it well deserves.

That bow also provides spaces into which small Easter gifts can be nested for your guests.

Easter Entertaining

What says Easter better than a 6-layer cake with purple sugar-sprinkled bunnies hopping around its base, set off with small flowers and leaves that recall a spring landscape. Our favorite recipe for the “Hot Milk” cake (a basic for wedding creations) hails from San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop, Miette; their cook book is a treasure, do give it a look.

Easter Entertaining

Happy Spring and a festive Easter!

HOW TOS for the “Pardee Bow-Tied Table”

fancy-bullet    60” diameter round table
fancy-bullet    4  2-sided runners, each 9” wide x 104” long.
fancy-bullet    Cut the runner ends like “pussycat ears”—a V.
fancy-bullet    Fabric should be heavy-weight with good “body” so the bows will hold their shape (ie. cotton duck, brocade, jacquard, burlap)

  1. Place 2 of the runners in an X across the table, being sure they are equi-distant down the sides.

    image (2)

  2. Place the remaining 2 runners in another X underneath the center point of the first 2.


  3. Take the third runner and pull each side up to the center, crossing them over and tying them in a knot, then into a bow as you would on a package. Repeat this procedure with the forth runner.

    Easter Entertaining

  4. Adjust the 4 bows to be as full as possible, with a “voluptuous” curve.

    Easter Entertaining

And voilà!

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

2 thoughts on “Easter Entertaining, Newport Style

  1. Oh Bettie, this Easter table is absolutely delightful and inspiring! Even the chairs are taken to a gracious new level! Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  2. Bettie, how creative you are ! I love following you and seeing where your talent takes you. Everything is done with such flair and imagination. Happy Easter.

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