Chicago Flower 2018: Tablescape Designer

Member Spotlight: This is a guest post from GrowIt! community member @mustmeetamanda who is an Event Planning student and participated in the 2018 Chicago Flower & Garden Show Tablescapes competition. Connect with her on GrowIt! here. (tap from mobile). 

Hey Everyone!

My name is Amanda Fowler-Arias and I am an Event Planning student at Kendall College. As students in the Event Practicum Class, in the Meetings & Events program, we were awarded the opportunity to participate in the Chicago Flower & Garden Show Tablescape Competition. My experience with the Chicago Flower & Garden show 2018 is one I will take with me for the rest of my life.


For the first time ever, a few classmates and I were able design and create our own tablescape, and then plan and execute the creation and implementation of that tablescape. Victor & Alicia came to our class in January and presented us with the information on this year’s show and theme, Flowertales: Every Garden Has a Story to Tell.


After much debate, discussion & brainstorming, oh and one of my best persuasive slideshows to date, we arrived at our chosen book: The Giving Tree. We chose this book because of the universal themes that children and adults can identify with. The book also has so many interpretations, but the unconditional love between the tree and the boy is the core theme we wanted our display to emulate. I knew I wanted to display a “giving tree” of some sort. We finally landed on a design that we all agreed on and began taking steps to bring our design to life.

My team member Dolores Mannella and her father Frank Manella constructed our “tree”. Halls Rental generously donated our table, chairs, silverware and glassware. BBJ Linen provided us our linens at a generous discount. Kennicott Brothers worked with us closely on supplying us our flowers and much of our supplies in our display. Dolores and I spent a lot of time learning about flowers in order to select flowers to create a wildflower illusion in our display. We spent weeks looking at different flowers and plants that would enable us to portray our vision for the Chicago Flower & Gardens.

One of the most fun parts of this project for us, was spending time working with Theresa at Kennicott, selecting flowers out of the seemingly endless possibility of flowers Kennicott supplied us with access to.

This past week week all of our blood, sweat and tears were rewarded by seeing people enjoying our display and identifying with the message the book emulates. It is the most exhilarating and rewarding thing I’ve experienced to date. This experience taught me a lot about myself and my strengths and weakness in relation to event planning. I was able to develop my professional leadership and communication skills and am continuing to develop those skills now. This experience also afforded me the opportunity to grow my network with new relationships that I plan to build upon in the future.

Although our tablescape did not win in the judges competition, I am exponentially proud of the work I did, and wouldn’t change a single thing about my tablescape. Our team worked hard and I couldn’t have done it without them. I am so happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Kourtnie at GrowIt!, and thank everyone for taking the time to read about my experience as an exhibitor at the Chicago Flower & Garden show 2018!

Want to know more about the show? Head to our recap blog!

Check out more photos below: