About Amy Leyden: Event & Table Designer
Growing up in St. Paul as part of a large family, I have many memories of gathering around our family table and celebrating with my parents, brothers and sister, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Holidays were noisy and it was always hot in the kitchen, even in winter. My sister and I had the job of polishing the silverware and setting the table with our best, fancy dishes while our mother ironed a beautiful tablecloth. I can still hear my mother exclaim before our guests arrived: “Someone fill the water glasses!” These family gatherings are some of my happiest memories.
I would go on to make a career of setting tables through event planning. Having studied graphic design in college, I always gave my events' tables special attention. With a gorgeous table linen as a foundation, I loved the details--exploring unique napkin folds and selecting a beautiful font for the menu card. Best of all, I loved seeing the guests’ expressions when they entered the room and saw my tables!
I eventually transitioned out of traditional event planning to build the event business of the McNamara Alumni Center, a stunning event venue on the University of Minnesota campus. In my years marketing this venue, I have seen 1000s of events, many with beautiful table settings that have inspired me. Beyond my professional life, I have designed many table settings for family and friends’ birthdays, bridal and baby showers etc. A favorite design of mine was for my son’s 5th birthday party---a 33-person, jungle-themed table setting in our yard showcasing a 20-foot-long python I sewed myself!
Kaleidoscope is my way of bringing more celebration to peoples’ small gatherings while helping ease the anxiety of hosting. So gather. Bring out "the good stuff." Celebrate...a retirement, a new baby, a cancer-free check-up, a breakup with a jerk...whatever the reason---it's good for the soul!