Hosting a dinner party can be a daunting affair. Will the guests be on time? What if so-and-so doesn’t like the wine? How do I cook a vegan wellington?! But aside from cooking up a culinary masterpiece, the easiest way to wow your guests is to set a beautiful dinner party table. Even the very worst souffle or overcooked chocolate fondant can be forgiven in an instant if you’ve taken the time to welcome your guests to a beautifully presented table.
So whether you’re entertaining family for the Christmas lunch or hosting a birthday breakfast for friends, follow our five simple steps to style a showstopping dinner party table fit for any occasion!
1. Set a theme and see it through
Any big occasion deserves some proper planning. Decide on your theme (look to Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration) and see it through.
Accentuate accent furniture with matching table accessories or choose one colour to work around. As ever, pastels work wonderfully in the summer and spring, with darker tones suiting a candlelit ambiance in winter.
For a festive table, go for a layered look and work Christmas decorations into your table display. Whatever you opt for, ensure the theme runs throughout for a professional finish.
2. Choose your dinner party table centrepiece
According to Lauren Hubbard from Town and Country Magazine, “If ever there was a moment to inject some high drama into a meal, holiday dinner is it! Use an elegant candelabra as your centrepiece to amp up the class at your holiday celebration.”
While we love the idea of a traditional candelabra which works wonderfully for a formal dinner party, it may not be appropriate for a casual affair. Instead, choose a statement floral arrangement for your centrepiece or simply arrange your favourite candles and Christmas wreath in the middle of the table.
3. Think tableware
If you’re going for a formal dinner table, follow the arrangements in the diagram below. While it’s nice to have a few glasses for different courses, with cutlery, sometimes less is more. Prevent guests from having a Julia Roberts Pretty Woman moment (we all remember that scene) – two sets of cutlery will suffice.
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4. Choose the flowers
Flowers maketh the dinner party table. With an abundance of flowers and foliage to choose from, visit your local florist to discuss your theme and vision.
For a festive setting, nothing screams Christmas more than berries, pinecones and fir tree cuttings (snip some from the back of the Christmas tree for a simple DIY display). Arrange these in place of a runner, though remember to leave room for the all-important cranberry sauce!
In summer, opt for flowers in bloom. Cuttings from your own garden will add a unique element.
5. Add personalised touches
Finally. add some personalised touches to the dinner party table in the way of name place cards. Don’t be afraid to get creative with these – white card is traditional but that doesn’t mean a baked cookie or mini candle decorated with your guests’ name isn’t as charming.
For year-round style, one simple yet effective way to elevate your table for a birthday bash or casual dinner is to ensure you have some quality cloth napkins. Choose a neutral colour that you can use for all your occasions and it’ll look as though you’ve gone all out to recreate a fancy restaurant ambiance!
Words: Sherri Andrew