Tabletop 101- It’s Your Party!

It’s time to go all out. The date is set. The guests are invited. You think about setting the table and your blood pressure rises. I’ve invited fifteen people and I only have twelve settings. My glasses don’t match. If I get chargers, how do I use them? I’ve never set a formal table, what are the rules. Rules? I hate rules. This was supposed to be fun!

Don’t Panic. We’ve answered your most frequently asked questions and added some tips to make holiday entertaining about sharing the rare gift of time with friends and family. Now, pour yourself a glass of wine and read on.

Slider_Tbl2GoFlatware is set from the outside in, following the courses of the meal- appetizer flatware on the edge, main course closest to the china.

Chargers were invented so that servants would never touch a Royal’s plate. Now, they are all about framing your setting. Keep your charger, or service plate, on the table until it is time to serve dessert for maximum effect.

Slider_MixnMatchDon’t have enough settings to go around? It’s time to mix and match, if you have a patterned set of china, purchase simple white dinnerware (with or without) a gold or platinum band. Rummage the dark corners of your cupboards and mix the heirloom silver or china, with your modern set for a unique look. It’s all about balancing pattern with plain.

Slider_Diagram4You need at least one wine glass and a water glass on the table. If you are serving different wines with each course, you can have up to two wine glasses- white and red, with a fancy flute for toasting alongside your drinking glass.

Slider_CentrepieceIt’s time to blaze your own trail. Soup tureens have hidden potential. Fill them with your favorite blooms for a charming centerpiece. When thinking of candles, remember, either above eye level or below. Everyone will look fabulous in the warm glow of tea lights scattered on the table.

Slider_TeaUSECongratulations you are finally at dessert. This is where you can be super creative. Now that your charger is gone, you can change the look of your table by bringing out themed or inherited china for the ‘puds’ and tarts.

Slider_GlassesThe after dinner aperitif can be served in a mishmash of different glasses. The last thing you want to do is run the dishwasher. Try a blind tasting, serving different liqueurs in each style of glass to spice things up. Remember, it’s your party, you make the rules!

Written by Sujeet Sennik

Jackie’s tip: Set the table the night before so you can concentrate on making that special meal.