Monday, November 21, 2011

Guest Post: Dinner Parties Part II

{Don't forget to check out Part I for some really important prep tips!}

How to Plan a Dinner Party Part II: Tips for Your Table

Coming from someone whose most important concern is food (no matter where we are or what we're doing), I've realized over the last year what an impact the table setting and decor can have on the atmosphere of a party and the enjoyment of the food. Each event we host, I challenge myself to be more creative, thrifty, and thoughtful than the last. Here's what I've learned:

1. Set the table the night before. This makes the day of the party even more relaxing and the anticipation of a beautifully set table makes you excited to fill it with people and food.

2. Use place cards. People have no idea how useful these are!

You also avoid the awkward moment when your guests approach the table and hover around it, waiting to be told where to sit. I imagine that in heaven, there is going to be a huge long table with heaps of grapes and meat and a place card with my name on it.

My rules are (these don’t apply to heaven, only my dinner parties):
  • separate couples
  • place extroverted people at the ends
  • seat men and women in every other chair

  • separate bickering family members if needed
  • put people together who you think will have a great conversation.

Easy right? My husband and I love to set out the place cards together, it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

3. For a sit-down dinner, keep the centerpieces low. If you put a tall vase of flowers in the middle of your table, it just blocks people from seeing the faces across the table and makes it really awkward. I prefer to take the same bunch, cut the stems short, and separate it into three or five pretty jars or glasses distributed down the table.

For a buffet, have everything at different heights. If you are planning a buffet, it's more interesting and appealing when the food is at different heights.

Thrifty ideas for presenting a buffet:

  • Stack some old books on the dinner table then set a bowl on top.

  • Make your own cake stand by turning a bowl upside-down and then setting a plate on top.

  • Throw a bunch of grapes in a martini glass and let the vines cascade down.

  • Take a cardboard box and throw a beautiful napkin over it!

I hope those help you brainstorm fun things to do at your next party!

Does anyone remember a meal they had where the way the table was set affected how they experienced the food or the company?


Thanks to Blythe for giving us great practical advice for setting a beautifully food filled table! Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Love this series! Makes me miss you, Blythe!