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Imagine having dinner on a beautifully set table with gorgeous flowers, delicious food, live music, and your feet … in a creek! Last month, supporters of the Harpeth Conservancy enjoyed their event, Dinner IN a Creek, and it was nothing short of magical. Set up in the trickling waters of Leiper’s Fork, TN, 62 people gathered in true Music City fashion. From well-known musicians and actors to artists, local philanthropists, and residents of Nashville, Franklin, and Leiper’s Fork, everyone was enchanted by this intimate gathering like no other.

Photos courtesy of Amanda Forehand Laginess and Tom Boone Thomson

Harpeth Conservancy Dinner Table Setting

Amos Gott of AmosEvents, events director extraordinaire, helped bring the vision to life with flowers from Garden Delights and furniture and supplies from Please Be Seated. “I was so excited to get to work on this event,” says Amos. “After all, how many times do you get to plan an event IN a creek?!”

Rachael McCampbell and Curtis Stewart

The event took place on the property of hosts Rachael McCampbell and Curtis Stewart. With the help of Rachael and Curtis and many hard-working volunteers, an unassuming creek was temporarily transformed.

Harpeth Conservancy Dinner IN a Creek

“Taking the natural surroundings as my inspiration, it was important to me to figure out how to have the look of the wood tables, but be able to put them in the water,” says event planner Amos Gott. “Nestling the tabletop on metal legs and pairing them with copper metal chairs did the trick!”

Flowers were set in a wooden trough and included feverfew, millet, garden roses, Blue star ferns, miniature foxgloves, maidenhair ferns, sunflowers and lavender.

Flowers were set in a wooden trough and included feverfew, millet, garden roses, blue star ferns, miniature foxgloves, maidenhair ferns, sunflowers, and lavender.

Harpeth Conservancy Dinner Table Setting

Each table setting was accented with a sprig of lavender.

Upon arrival, guests were encouraged to venture into the water right away as the bar was set up on the shoal, across the creek. If you wanted a drink, you had to be willing to get your feet wet! Dinner guests came prepared with appropriate shoes from water shoes and rain boots to old tennis shoes and hiking boots — anything with traction that could get wet was welcomed. Once at the bar, guests could enjoy their beverage of choice, or the evening’s signature Hemingway Daiquiri.

For passed appetizers and a buffet dinner, guests enjoyed food from BAMFoods Catering out of Columbia, TN. The food included pickled watermelon bites, green salads, flat iron steak, roasted chicken, seared salmon, summer succotash, confit potatoes, peach pie cookies, and more.

Adding to the magic of the casual affair, a couple of rain showers passed through, and guests simply opened umbrellas and continued to sit at the table. It was too wonderful an event to leave, and they were already a bit wet anyway.

While enjoying their meals by candlelight, diners were entertained with a performance from Matt Wynn and a special appearance by Emily West.

Host Rachael McCampbell says, “We are so honored to host this event in a place that really showcases how important it is to support Harpeth Conservancy and their work to protect our waterways. I encourage everyone to share whatever gifts and talents they have to preserve our creeks and rivers that make this area so special.”

Keep scrolling for a stunning photo tour of the evening, and to find out how to snag an invite to a future Harpeth Conservancy Dinner IN a Creek.

Harpeth Conservancy Dinner Table Setting

While 46 people sat at the long table, other guests were seated at smaller tables, like this glass-topped table, which came with an overhead view of the creek!

Angela Bryan, Courtney Laginess, and Haylee Waddey Hall

Left to right: Angela Bryan, Courtney Laginess, and Haylee Waddey Hall

Jeni Housley and Marilyn Lehew

Jeni Housley and Marilyn Lehew

Harpeth Conservancy

Let’s protect our rivers!

Harpeth Conservancy Dinner

Rachael had about six or seven of her original works on easels scattered throughout the gathering and offered a generous portion of any art sold that evening to Harpeth Conservancy. She even did some work on this canvas throughout the event!

Harpeth Conservancy Dinner

This painting is a nod to the very chandelier that hung over the bar that evening.

Harpeth Conservancy Dinner set up IN A CREEK!

Guests gathered for good conversation and drinks in the creek before taking their seats at the dinner table.

Creek-appropriate shoes for the Harpeth Conservancy Dinner

Guests came prepared with creek-appropriate footwear.

River stones used as paper weights for creek dinner

River stones were used as weights for name tags and seat assignments.

Emily West, Suzanne Lloyd, Tracey Bregman, Cindy Owen

From left to right: Emily West, Suzanne Lloyd, Tracey Bregman, Cindy Owen

Larry Strickland and Naomi Judd Stickland

Larry Strickland and Naomi Judd Stickland

The passed appetizers and dinner buffet were prepared by BAM Foods Catering of Columbia, TN.

The passed appetizers and dinner buffet were prepared by BAMFoods Catering of Columbia, TN.

The passed appetizers and dinner buffet were prepared by BAM Foods Catering of Columbia, TN.

A gorgeous summer succotash for the dinner buffet

The passed appetizers and dinner buffet were prepared by BAM Foods Catering of Columbia, TN.

The dinner buffet was glorious. What’s a Southern supper without a pile of scratch-made biscuits?

The passed appetizers and dinner buffet were prepared by BAM Foods Catering of Columbia, TN.

As light sprinkles popped up throughout the evening, some pulled out umbrellas, while others just let rain pass as it may.

Harpeth Conservancy creek dinner with live music

At the end of dinner, Dorie Bolze, President and CEO of Harpeth Conservancy, made a few remarks and welcomed Matt Wynn, who serenaded the crowd as the sun went down.

Matt Wynn and Emily West

Matt was joined by Emily West, making a special guest appearance.

Harpeth Conservancy Creek Dinner

The night provided memories to last a lifetime.

The event combined the talents of Amos Gott of AmosEvents, Garden Delights Fine Florist, BAM Foods Catering, Given Entertainment, Matt Wynn, Emily West, and so many volunteers! If you are interested in attending this event in the coming years, the best way to secure a ticket is to support Harpeth Conservancy, and then look for an email next year. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis!

What to know if you want to plan your own creek dinner:

  • Consider the lighting, as anytime you mix electricity and water, you’ll want to ensure safety. The lighting for this event was hung with the help of Dwight Hall, Holly Hirschman, and Wesley Hirschman, with lights provided by Bradfield Lighting.
  • Everything will take longer when setting up in a creek. From carrying a bar across the water to serving food and drinks, to the actual setup and break-down. Volunteers Heidi Hartman and Kristina Walters spent hours simply nestling the tables into the creek to ensure they were steady and safe. (Additional brawn provided by Dee Plunkett, Johnathan Fisher, and so many more!)
  • Have a backup plan. What if it rains heavily (as opposed to the light sprinkles that popped up on this particular night)? The backup plan for this event was to serve dinner on the banks of the creek.
  • Make sure that guests know to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. For example, long dresses and fancy shoes are a no-no.
  • Have volunteers watching out for guests who may be unsteady on their feet, as walking in a creek can be tricky.
  • As the meal is in a creek, be extra aware of the waste you are creating. For this event, they ensured it was a zero-waste event, which goes hand in hand with the mission of the Harpeth Conservancy. No disposable plastic was used, and the guests were cautioned to be careful with the glass and china at the table so that broken pieces would not end up in the river system.

Three cheers to a swoon-worthy event — and to landing a ticket to the next one! And, thank you to Harpeth Conservancy for being such a strong advocate for protecting our waterways.

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For more Southern-inspired event planning ideas, visit our StyleBlueprint Weddings Archive.

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