Entertaining with Nature

By By Eve Wee-Ang Photos by Cecilia Buisedera 2021-06-15 16:48:52

Dressing your table sustainably.

When it comes to home parties, I refrain from buying anything decorative specifically for the event. One, I dislike keeping them after the party is over. Two, my inspiration changes depending on the mood of that moment. The best solution for me is to use what I have at home with some help from nature. Nothing beats decorating with nature’s gifts like flowers, fruits, vegetables, leaves, twigs, seeds, herbs and grains. Not only are they sustainable and non-toxic, but seasonal bounty also reminds us of the preciousness of the moment and the natural transient of life. As I write this, peonies are in season and their big, fluffy, fragrant flowers are blooming on my dining table. Fallen petals have taken up residence but instead of tossing them out, it can wait as these petals will put on a show on the table tonight where I will scatter them to add a little joy at our family dinner. 



For crockeries, you can’t go wrong with perennially classic white since they make any dish and décor shine. Instead of purchasing a full set from the same brand, I think it’s more interesting to buy them everywhere that tugs at your heartstrings. I have a practical reason for this: If you break a piece, there is no stress to buy from the same brand which may discontinue in production - that missing puzzle that never gets replaced can be annoying. At my home, nothing really matches, including my different dining chairs, yet they somehow fit harmoniously because I believe our taste doesn’t deviate far from what we truly love. Another suggestion is to use antique crockeries steeped with family stories and tradition. People who inherited prized heirlooms often keep them hidden away for fear of breaking them. But I beg to differ. It’s better to use your antique crockeries and share their stories at your parties. This way, you can go on creating new memories as you enjoy them, rather than imprisoning them. One day, when they break as they eventually do with time, you can thank them for their hard work and all the memories they have brought you.

In my quest to search to be a proverbial hostess with the mostest that marries good taste with nature, I hit the jackpot when I found Cecilia Buisedera, an Argentinian fashion designer who has been residing in Shanghai for 16 years. How I stumbled upon this stylish mum of two was serendipitous. At a dinner party, I was intrigued by a mum who looked stunning in a floral dress patched ingeniously together like a quilt. I asked where she got her dress and that was how her happy customer led me to Cecilia. Turns out Cecilia not only designs and makes one of a kind clothing under her label OnlyOne, but it has also transpired into home furnishings particularly table settings under OnlyOneHome. As the name suggests, OnlyOne is a homespun bespoke service that only makes what you love then moves on. Cecilia does not believe in duplicating her designs to churn more sales. Her resolute purpose is to celebrate everyone’s uniqueness because there is OnlyOne us in this world. 



Cecilia’s tips on dressing a party table with nature:

Know what makes your heart sing

Cecilia’s favourite table props for summer are fresh whole lemons with their leaves intact and lots of seasonal flowers. The citrus fruit is cheap and adds a fragrant rustic charm with their vibrant yellow coat. Watermelons are great too and fresh flowers always brighten the table. 

Mix it up, have fun

A linen cloth can be turned into a table runner. A glass jar can reincarnate into a flower vase. Masculine stripes can be paired with feminine florals. The sky is the only limit. Play and experiment with different colors, textures, scents and taste to make your dining table uniquely inviting. 

And if like me, you aren’t keen to be burdened by new crockeries, you may rent them from OnlyOne Home who will deck your parties from tablecloths to ceramic cups to fresh lemons. Now that’s what I call sustainably chic. 

OnlyOne Home Wechat: Cecilia Buisedera