I’m all for beautiful table settings, as long as the mission of the meal isn’t lost.
That mission here on RE is to help the reluctant entertainer become more confident in creating a greater connection with neighbors and friends, as she overcomes obstacles of perfectionism.
Style can be intimidating, because a lot of people don’t think they have it. Your approach to setting a table, or your entertaining method – needs to become yours and who you are! It doesn’t need to be from magazines or other blogs although you might find those helpful. It’s taking what you have and pulling it together – in your own way!
How do you know what your style is? What draws you in? Look around your house--do you like old things? Lots of color? Stark modern? Clutter or none? Do you like to be bold or do you like things to be simpler? I tend to base my style around what tablecloth I am using or the flowers in bloom in my yard, or if it’s wintertime, candles. Simple and eloquent!
Contrary to some, I don’t believe you have to have a theme for a dinner party. That word scares many women, as theme parties can be so complicated! Women tend to run when they hear that word. That is where your “style” comes in to help you out.
Here are my three easy tips for setting your dining table, using what you have, employing your own creativity and style. Are you ready for simplicity?
· What tablecloth and napkins will you use?
· What dishes, stemware and silverware will you use?
· What flowers will you cut from your yard, or your neighbor’s yard (ask them first!) or what candles will you add – to make an eloquent ambience?
Setting a table is about tying your meal together – for ease and relaxation for yourself and your guests. It’s not about the ideal method of how to place your silverware on the table, or what etiquette says about making things just so. I believe most women in America know that you set the forks on the left side and your knife and spoon on the right.
As a rule, I do not use paper plates for dinner parties. It’s just “my style” to use glass dishes (unless I have more than 24 adults, and then I may mix-match my dishes). I have no problem in serving children with paper plates, at any time. For large group, casual-type BBQ’s, I wouldn’t use anything but paper plates. It just depends on what type of party you are throwing.
Making your dinner party a simple, personalized event means you do not have to have matching invitations, or party favors to make each guest feel “special.” No, remember ladies what really makes a dinner party turn into a successful time? It’s all about the conversation that flows around the table.
I’m not poo-pooing theme altogether, as I’ve had a few theme parties myself. (Most “theme” ideas come to me after the event though, like my April Fool’s Dinner and my Blue, New and Old dinner.) I just think that for simplicity and ease, using your own style is where it’s at!
To create a style-in-it’s-own, ask your children to set the table for your next dinner party! It totally takes the pressure off of having to have things perfect, as you can tell your guests how your kids helped out
You’ll find success and enjoyment, and will want to do it again. Trust me!
(Photo bottom left: setting from my outside neighbor's luncheon that I had exactly one year ago! See how I mixed/matched the glasses? Read about the luncheon, here. Read about No Foolin' Dinner, here and here. Something Old, Borrowed and Blue, here and here.)