Brunch works for our more casual lifestyles

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

As our lifestyles become more casual, our festivities tend to follow suit. One way to ease the formality is with a weekend brunch, like the one David C. McKnight, owner and founder of Emerald City Designs, the Special Event Group, held in his Farmington Hills showroom.

Brunch has become a popular theme. “You can be a little more budget-conscious by doing a brunch,” says McKnight who has seen the daytime meal appeal to those hosting anything from a couple’s shower or wedding reception to a fundraising event.

His brunch was sponsored by 2 Unique Caterers & Event Planners, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Love & Buttercream, and Blanc de Bleu, which served Emerald Mimosas.

One of McKnight’s favorite displays was a farm table with a laid-back feel that could easily be embellished. “It had a lot of unique elements to it that everyone gravitated toward,” he says. “It was definitely stylish and sophisticated, but it also had a casual flair.”

Today’s special event decor is more eclectic. “You can do a farm table with cushioned chairs and a crystal chandelier and candleholders,” says McKnight. “Elegant crystal and china elevates the setting. As long as you keep the same colors, it’s cohesive and it all works.”

Even the chairs can be enhanced in a number of ways. “You can add sashes and different textiles,” suggests McKnight who likes to attach name cards to the back of each chair, a lovely touch that’s easy to spot and totally unexpected.

Lay some flowers on the table or skip them altogether. “You don’t have to do floral to have an impactful table,” he adds. “Floating candles or colored mercury vases for votive candles will make a statement.”

For this type of gathering, Kelli Lewton, chef/owner of 2 Unique Caterers & Event Planners in Royal Oak, recommends small bites like the micro quiche, petite granola parfaits and mini scones they served at the event.

“We did a trio micro plate that’s straightforward with a little oomph,” she says.

When hosting a brunch, Lewton says there’s no need to be limited to breakfast food. “It could be pasta,” she says.

Or you could stick with the standard fare with a slight twist, like micro frittatas or a rolled egg sandwich in a little tortilla with salsa. “Potato hash and grits are making a comeback. People are taking old foods and bringing them back in a great new way,” Lewton says.

Beverages are a big deal, too, whether you go with colored mimosas like the emerald varieties featured at the showroom event or serve another cocktail with all the fixings. “Today, a Bloody Mary bar looks like a salad bar,” says Lewton.

Brunch reminds her of the traditional European lifestyle. “They take a whole Saturday or Sunday to just embrace family and spend more time together,” she says. “You can bring the kids; it’s daytime.”

For information, call Emerald City Designs at 248-474-7077 or go to or contact 2 Unique Catering at 248-549-5242 or go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at