Preparing to host a holiday gathering can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Planning ahead of time can make the experience fun and enjoyable. The table settings and décor are just as important as the meal itself. Components of a well set table create a mood and ambiance that will greet each of your guests and help to make something memorable. We’ve put together some ideas to help make your holiday gathering preparations easier to tackle.
- Consider your audience:
Are you hosting a large gathering or something more intimate? Take into consideration how many tables, chairs and place settings you will need. This can affect not only how you pull everything together but also what type of table settings and décor you may select. A larger gathering may consist of multiple tables and a wider age range of guests. A table geared more towards younger children may have a completely different feel than a table for older adults. But even if your gathering includes both, there is always a way to blend together a creative and fun design.
- Plan ahead and experiment:
Whether you’re hosting just a few close family and friends or a large group, planning out tables, chairs and settings is important. You may want to consider putting a larger table in a different room where you can add more tables to it or create a grouping of different tables. Each table will need its own components to be complete. If you don’t have matching chairs that’s fine, it adds to the ambiance. Remember when putting out your chairs to put thought into the way your arrange them, balance is important. This goes with place settings as well. Using complimentary patterns and colors can add texture and interest as well as be conversation starters! Balance is the key to making it all work in harmony. Doing a practice set up can be important so you aren’t stressed or run into an issue you didn’t anticipate and wouldn’t be able to solve the day of. Even putting the large platters on the table with your place settings and centerpieces is a good idea. If you find you don’t have the space for the large food items on the table you can make space for a server to put the food on.
- Layering is important
Even when getting dressed for an event, you layer your look, it is the same for a well-dressed table. Some people love the look of their dining table and want to highlight it with the table settings, while others prefer the look of a table cloth or runner. Whatever your preference the table will still have elements of layering. Selecting your theme is important before choosing your décor and linens. Once you know your color scheme you can select your table cloth, runner, placemats and napkins. You can layer all of these items for more texture and drama or can use some of them for a simpler more streamlined look. Layering is also important in your place setting. Using a charger can add a distinctive touch to make this holiday different and special.
- Set your place settings properly
Putting your place setting in the proper order can make even a casual setting feel special. When it is a special occasion such as a party or holiday gathering this attention to detail is always noticed and makes everything feel more magical. Put out the right amount of silverware to coordinate with the food you will be serving, you don’t have to put out a complete formal service if you’re not having a five course meal. Arranging the setting properly makes everything a bit more special.
- Decorative centerpieces
Setting your table to express your creativity is a fulfilling and fun experience. Whether it’s selecting an unexpected color scheme or going more traditional this is where you can make your table stand out and be memorable. Whether you are doing a more traditional holiday table or one with a modern twist there are a few things to remember:
Height of your centerpiece: If you decide on something taller, make sure it is slender and non-obstructive, space taller objects out so that they make more of an impact. Lower longer pieces always work well for your guests to maintain eye contact.
Elements of nature: It’s fun to add texture to the table. Gourds, sticks, leaves, glass, wood are all fun textures to mix into the design. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to use these elements as they evoke the feeling of fall.
Ambient light: Candles are always a good idea for a centerpiece. They create a warm welcoming atmosphere and everyone looks good in candlelight right?! Lower tea light candles spread around the table are nice, as well as tall tapered candles. The important thing to remember is to make sure they are unscented so that they don’t compete with the wonderful smell of your Thanksgiving feast!
Personal Details: Place cards aren’t always necessary but they may be a nice personal touch for this holiday. Whether or not you are hosting a group that know each other well or not it may help with some awkward seat selections or hesitations. It also adds a personal touch. Another thing to consider is to bring out special items or even borrow items from other people to add a little something different and unique.
Holidays are meant to be enjoyable and fun. Setting the stage for a special meal can be as well. With consideration and preparation you can be sure that not only will you be excited to show off your table but you can also be sure that your day will have a lot less stress and chaos.