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Setting the Table For a Dinner Party

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Last week I posted about an Easy Elegant Dinner Party Menu and this week I want to give some tips for Setting the Table For a Dinner Party.

One of the best parts of putting a dinner party for me is, setting the table. There are so many choices and ways to achieve a beautiful look that there is no reason to complicate anything. Simple and elegant is always a great way to go. Or sticking to a specific color scheme that plays well with the tableware. Whatever route you take to achieve a nicely dressed table, it is worth the extra effort.

Remember that setting a table creates an ambiance for the entire evening. It sets the tone for what is to come. However, I do understand that this can be lost art in what seems to be the age of quick and convenient. Setting a table might even seem a bit pretentious.

The Significance of a Set Table

I do recall one dinner party where I set the table elegantly. With flowers, candles and a proper tablecloth A dinner party with a few new friends. Having never invited these particular friends over for a dinner party. They took one look at the table and I can tell, felt underdressed. The thing is, it was still ok. Everyone sat down and enjoyed themselves.

I have since realized, that the beautiful table made them feel like it was a special occasion. For me, time with friends always is. I now look forward to creating the sort of environment where people feel treated well. They feel important enough for me to take the time to set the table. It makes for a lovely evening and creates an experience for those we care about in our lives.

Today I am sharing just a few looks to hopefully inspire you for your next dinner party.

Basic Rules For a Formal Set Up

For a formal dinner, there are a few rules you can decide to follow regarding placement.

  • Dinner Plate: Generally speaking, the plate is center stage and everything else is positioned around it.
  • Additional Plates: Bread and butter plates are placed just above the forks on the left side.Glassware: The stemware and water goblets are placed on the right side of the dinner plate.
  • Silverware: The dinner fork is on the left. The knife and spoon should be placed with the blade facing the plate on the right side, next to the spoon.

I don’t follow any rules when hosting dinner parties for friends. In fact, in some of the photos you will even when setting an elegant table, I don’t. However, in the case of a very formal setting, I’d likely adhere to the basic rules.

Whichever way you decide to go with your dinner party, remember ultimately people just like being invited.

Look # 1

For this look, I kept it simple and natural. With the use of a piece of fabric centered on the table in lieu of a tablecloth. This is a great option for those without a tablecloth on hand to use. The added bit of fabric brings texture and dimension to the table. Woven chargers are chosen as they play up the natural qualities of the natural look of the table. While adding texture and visual interest.

For a pop of color, a simple clear vase of beautiful orange roses makes a statement as the centerpiece. The glassware is placed on the right-hand side just above the navy blue dinner napkin and gold flatware is added for a bit of elegance.

Look # 2

Layering up a white tablecloth and adding a striped piece of fabric to the center. This look is chic with stripes, gold touches, and a fresh white backdrop. A small arrangement of roses makes a simple centerpiece in a matching striped vase. Breaking the formal rules this time by placing the flatware out of order. I find it a fun and lovely way to place the settings.

The napkin is rolled and held together with a piece of jute twine acting as a napkin ring holder. This is a simple way to make a faux ring holder that goes with any decor style.

a striped vase with flowers and a striped cloth for a dinner table setting
a striped theme dinner party table set with candles
a rolled napkin on a dinner plate with silverware next to it

Look # 3

For my final look today, I am using my nature-themed china from the “Francesca” collection. The soft pink petals and green vinery go well with the woven chargers. For this look, I chose a more golden-colored dinner napkin as the natural colors play well with the yellow tones.

Opting for a crisp white tablecloth, this is always a great place to start when selecting linens for a table. The bright white color pairs well with most looks and is very versatile. I find it worked well to brighten the nature aspect of the table.

an elegantly set dinner party table
a formal table setting with natural charges and tea cups
a dinner table set for a dinner party with flowers and plates

Keeping It Simple

In all the looks you see above. If you look close enough you will notice a few of the same ideas in each look. Though each look is very different from another. Here are a few staples that I find work well for any sort of setting. You can use more casual options for gathering like a pizza night or more dressed up versions for something more formal.

Centerpiece: I always begin with a centerpiece. Which seems like a no-brainer to most. I have been to many dinner parties, and trust me, people don’t always have one. Most often, I find they don’t. Having a small vase of flowers, greenery, or even a beautiful bowl of fruit will not just look beautiful. It creates something for your guest’s eyes to fall on. Adding interest, color, and a great piece to anchor the table visually. Always ensure the centerpiece is lower than guests eye level, so as not to block your guests view of one another.

Candles: Candles are my second rule of thumb. Small votives, tea candles or elegant tapers all transform the energy and create warmth.

Tablecloth/Fabric: Always use a tablecloth. Always. A tablecloth is the very first thing I think of when creating a look. No matter if formal or casual. Tablecloths are the foundation of a properly set table. You can find affordable ones on amazon, in thrift shops, or even cut pieces of fabric from the fabric store. No one said they had to be perfect. I don’t mind an unfinished end. I even use pieces of fabric laid in the center for that tablecloth effect when I don’t have a color I like on hand. Fabric on a table is incredibly powerful as far as the aesthetic of a table goes.

Shop this Post

Beeswax Dinner Candles

Woven Chargers

Gold Leaf Chargers

Gold Flatware Set

White Square Dishes

Navy Blue Dinner Napkins

Gold Colored Dinner Napkins

White Table Cloth

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a vase of flowers for a dinner table

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