Normally, event planner extraordinaire Jordi Stringfellow, owner of Pasadena-based Jordi & Co Events, always starts her process the same way. Whether it’s a glittering gala, lavish wedding or child’s birthday party, she works tirelessly with her client to create a vision, then turns to her long list of premiere event and party resources to assemble the ideal team to execute it.
But when it came to a benefit called Setting the Table, Stringfellow tossed the rule book and just hit speed dial. Her goal for the Leadership Pasadena/Junior League of Pasadena event was to assemble her dream team: Hank Maarse, owner of illustrious Pasadena florist Jacob Maarse, and Korosh Soltani, owner of San Marino dream emporium David Orgell. “This is a high-profile event with a challenging theme,” Stringfellow says. “I was excited by the idea of showing people what an event planner really does for large-scale occasions – orchestrate the right team in an exceptional collaboration.”
Stringfellow says this complex process is all about building layers of detail – food, flowers, music, ambience. For her, it’s also about never repeating yourself. “When you become good at this, it can be easy to always do what you always do,” she says. “Regardless of the size, the venue or the budget, we’re always custom. And I always personally curate every event to match the needs, style and desires of the client.”
A who’s who of participants will create the dazzling fantasy tabletops on view at the Pasadena Convention Center Nov. 9 – from wedding/event planners, designers and floral artists to photographers, creatives, stagers and more. Each team will create a spectacular vision inspired by the 2019 theme, “The World of Conversation.” Guests will vote for their favorite tables, and the two top entrants will each receive a $6,000 ad in Dreams magazine.
Stringfellow’s career took a head-spinning turn into this field from the faraway realm of entertainment law, where she was in-house counsel to two powerhouse TV production companies. Even in those days, she loved to entertain, and she did it so well that admiring friends began asking her to “help” with their events. When one of her parties was featured in Bon Appetit, she knew where her true calling lay. “This is not work for her,” one client notes. “This is her passion, and she’s truly an artist.”
Stringfellow has partnered on events with Maarse many times. Their first collaboration in 2003 coincided with her launch of Jordi & Co. Jacob Maarse Florists was a star participant in the Pasadena Symphony’s Holiday Look In tour. When Stringfellow and husband Dean were asked to open their home for the event, she asked for two things: that Jacob Maarse do the floral arrangements, and that she handle her own staging. When Maarse saw what she could do, a longtime professional relationship began.
Jacob Maarse Florists has been a Southern California tradition since 1966, when it opened in the vintage Cadillac dealership in Pasadena’s historic Playhouse District that’s still their home. Jacob came from a family of flower growers in Alsmeer, Holland, and brought his European design sense and extensive knowledge of the floral industry to his business. Since his passing in 2010, son Hank has carried on the tradition. The original staff of seven has grown to 40, some of whom have worked there for over 30 years. The family has a close relationship with farms all over the world that deliver the finest and freshest blooms daily, supplemented by roses from the Maarse home’s garden.
The name David Orgell has signified luxury and beautiful craftsmanship since the late 1800s, when clientele of its sophisticated London store included members of the royal family. Soltani grew up surrounded by the treasures of the legendary David Orgell store in Beverly Hills, which his family acquired in 1989. Following its closure last spring, Soltani opened David Orgell San Marino. With high-end names likes Lalique, Limoges, Christofle and Georg Jensen, along with a trove of lavish vintage items and curated pieces by today’s most sensational designers, Orgell can deliver an array of exquisite choices for the trio’s tablescape.
As a native Angeleno, Stringfellow knew David Orgell as an institution. With the opening of the San Marino store and the acquisition of clients in common, she and Soltani have developed a “mutual admiration collaboration” that’s resulted in uniquely memorable events. “We have one client who always comes to us for a spectacular party filled with multi-layered design and custom execution,” Stringfellow says. “She also knows there’s no better source than Orgell for extraordinary tabletop items or the ultimate party favor.”
Anyone looking for details on what this powerhouse team is planning for Setting the Table will find nobody giving anything away. Pressed for one small hint, Stringfellow obliges. “All three of us have very detailed imaginations,” she says. “When they play off each other, we think guests will find it’s really something to see.”
Setting the Table is a sensational, unconventional opportunity for designers, floral artists, event planners, nonprofits and others to make stunning visual statements with their interpretation of the table design theme, The World of Conversation. The fun-filled evening on Nov. 9 will feature delicious food and beverages – and a tablescape competition! Guests will vote for their favorite design and the top two winning designs will receive a $6,000 ad from Dreams magazine.
Chaired by Jeanne K. Chung, owner and designer at Cozy Stylish Chic and national design blogger with local realtor and designer Anthony Guthmiller, this lifestyle event will benefit two renowned community leadership charities, Leadership Pasadena and the Junior League of Pasadena. Both are dedicated to nurturing exceptional, informed, respectful and collaborative leaders who are equipped to improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.