In a day and age where everything feels all digital, all the time, it’s incredibly refreshing when you finally get a moment to sit down and actually spend time with people — face to face, not through a perfectly curated grid of square photographs. Don’t get us wrong, we like our iPhones, but we love energizing conversations. And when good food and wine is involved, well… it just doesn’t get better than that. That’s why we’re so smitten with Tablemakers.

Tablemakers is a series of pop-up dinner parties, hosted all across the country, by Lauren Kelp and her partner Ashley Cooper. The goal? Cultivate communities through camaraderie and approachable entertainment. The result? Magic.

On a warm summer night in Chicago, the latest iteration of this traveling soirée came to life. Creatives, bloggers, florists, chefs, and event planners gathered in Lauren’s childhood backyard — a flourishing English garden surrounded by abundant greenery, pops of peonies and a mural of purple flowers hand­painted by her mother, artist Julie Holdsworth. The vibe was lively and the guests bonded quickly. The founders explain, “Tablemakers encourages guests to sit next to someone you don’t know, cheers an acquaintance and leave with a new companion. The Chicago attendees truly embraced the magic that food, fellowship, and honest hospitality brings.”

For the event design, the duo pulled from the vibrancy of the season. Flower arrangements were foraged from the garden and designed by Christine Janda, while a moss runner brought a burst of green to the 30­ foot table. (And is one of the most creative tabletop ideas we’ve seen!) At the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed cocktails featuring Richter’s Whiskey. For food, Brittany Ferrin of Truffleberry Market created dishes with pops of peach­tones, including Grilled Peach & Burrata Caprese salad with honeycomb, Charred Heirloom Carrots, and Chimichurri Spanish Red Prawns. It was a night guests will surely remember for years to come.

For a closer look, start the slideshow. We have a feeling you’ll find quite a few ideas for your own late-summer celebrations. Whether it’s the moss runner, the mouthwatering menu, or the wonderful concept of celebrating friendship and building stronger communities, there’s a lot to love about Tablemakers.

Host: Lauren Kelp, Founder & Creative Director of
Co-host: Ashley Cooper, Graphic Designer
Sponsor: Michter’s Whiskey
Chef/Catering: Brittany Ferrin of Truffleberry Market
Floral Design: Christine Janda of Christine Janda Design & Events
Photographer: Aimee Mazzenga
Tabletop Design: Table & Dine and Lenox USA
Gift Bags: The Citizenry
Outdoor Rugs: USA Rugs
Ice Cream: Tea-rrific! Ice Cream