I love to entertain…
I find lots of inspiration from the gorgeous tablescapes that “event planner extraordinaires” like Colin Cowie and Preston Bailey create. Pinterest is another outstanding and fun source these days for entertaining inspiration. However, unfortunately for me, I do not have many sets of china and tablecloths to pick from and use. Nor would I have the storage for these extra items. I do think, though, that I (or anyone) can put together a ‘maybe simpler’ but still very beautiful backdrop for a dinner party. It’s all about the details…
One key point to remember is to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare, set, and tweak the tablescape. Often times it helps to do some or all of the table setting days or even a week in advance especially if you also have a meal to prepare. If I do set the table days in advance I always turn the plates and glasses upside down for ‘dust reasons’ till the day of the dinner. I almost always get more exhilarated working on my tablescape preparation than my meal preparation.
My husband and I have been in our “Gourmet Group” (a.k.a. cooking-entertaining group) for about 20+ years. Our group consists of 4 couples including ourselves. The core of the group has stayed basically the same but due to things like jobs and relocation, some of the couples have changed or rotated over the years. Each couple takes a turn hosting in their home. The host couple decides on the theme, the menu, and picks out the recipes. One recipe is then given to the other couples to cook and bring the night of the dinner.
Our group is now much more relaxed about the ‘rules’ we follow. For approximately the first 5-10 years, the host had to pick a specific theme for dinner such as “French”, “German”, or “Middle Eastern” months before hosting. It also required taking the time to go to the library and search for good recipes. All recipes were home cooked and nothing store prepared (even salsa!). Thank goodness for change! The internet came along and sites such as Epicurious and Food Network are now available in our homes. Per our current ‘group rules’ dinner themes are more general and some of the dinner side items can even be store prepared.
Last year my theme was “Spring Fling”. Here’s the tablescape I put together for that evening.
I like to set the tone of the evening for my guests the moment they walk in the front door and are taking their coats off. This chest is in my foyer and I begin my entertaining backdrop there.
Here is an overview of my spring tablescape. I used white, green, and yellow colors as part of my theme. I almost always start with a mirror or several mirrors on the table. I just love how they reflect the light. Mirrors like these are inexpensive and can be purchased online or at stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby.
I put lots of white candles and votives on the table. I also added single stem hydrangeas to it.
I, once again, “brought the outdoors in”… I cut branches from one of my trees (the branches actually had new leaf buds on them). I put the branches in a crystal vase, scattered some additional sticks and branches on the table, and added some pretty stones.
I love birds so, of course, I had to put some tiny birds in the branches…
I added a bird’s nest and some bird eggs.
I alternated green and yellow colors for the place settings. It was almost Easter so I added an Easter cookie as a take home goodie.
I wrote each person’s name on a stone to mark their place. The extra spoon was for a “Sorbet Interval” course.
I also have a chest in the corner of my dining room. I usually use it as an additional backdrop.
This evening I had various vessels with candles lit in them. I continued my white flower theme with vases of roses and lots of white rose petals. Lastly, I displayed my Sid Dickens “Friendship” tile on the chest. The inscription on the back of the tile reads, “A friend dispels the cold and warms the soul”.
Photo taken in the evening with all the candles lit
My “Spring Fling” menu consisted of:
Cucumber-Yogurt Soup Shooters
Buffalo Style Meatballs with Pineapple & Poblano Peppers on Skewers
No Fuss Cheese & Pear Salad with Apricot Nectar Dressing
Main Entrée’ & Accompaniments:
Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Walnut Pear Sour Cream Cake
A few weeks later, one of my sister-in-laws hosted a fabulous Easter brunch and egg hunt. She displayed this bunny on her buffet table – how cute is he?!! I just had to share the photo…