Takes , serves .
Takes , serves .
I’ve always enjoyed putting ideas together for parties, whether it’s my own or for friends, colleagues or clients. Spending a bit of time thinking about all the elements helps to create an inviting, memorable look that adds a great amount of enjoyment to the party.
This post isn’t about food and drink, so no recipes or instructions attached. Instead, check out the links below for delicious food that you’ll want to eat from this table, guaranteed!
For our FALL TABLESCAPE, I wanted to set a table that reflects a cottage or “in the country” setting. The occasion: a relaxed dinner party for close friends, with seating for six.
I decided to set things up in the cottage sunroom as we’re enjoying a serious dose of warmth thanks to a stellar burst of late-season summer. Everything is set out on a rectangular table and we moved the sturdy oak press back chairs in for the evening. Both leaves were added to the table so that everyone has ample room.
My dear friend Katharine, a fellow cottage owner on our lake, made the tablecover and napkins for me a few years back. This very stylish lady nailed the unusual combination of a purple toile de Jouy fabric with mauve polka dot napkins. Head HERE for an article about toile, which may inspire you to follow Katharine’s lead and create something truly unique for your table too! A great way of adding a bit of rustic feel to the table was simple burlap runners – might not be chic, but it sure is relaxed!
The people in my family who thinks this china service looks too “grandma” are entitled to their opinions, but, come on, seriously? We’re talking Clarice Cliff’s distinctive transferware pattern called Tonquin.
It’s busy as all get-out but reflects that old school, cottage vibe. The fact that I snagged this service at an antique closeout sale and that it’s a rare mulberry colour, well, go ahead and call me Granny Nik – I’m fine with it, LOL! Head HERE to read about this service.
I spent years going to estate auctions and antique sales before I finally had my “ah ha” moment with silverplate. I was rifling through a bin looking for extra large silver serving spoons when I saw six teaspoons tied together with twine, the tag read “$3 bunch”. The price seemed fair enough, but as I held them in my hand I realized how much more interesting everything looked since they didn’t match. This is a great idea for a mismatched, curated look on your table.
I used vintage pressed glass lemonade glasses for water, my little secret being that I often use them this way. Follow my example and use any glasses for any purpose – remember, it’s your party! I also added antique champagne flutes because champagne, bubbly and prosecco – one or all – are always so perfect whenever family and friends gather to break bread and celebrate the season.
I used pillar candles and stamped tin cups. Tapered candles would also look attractive in this application, but the sunroom is a bit drafty and I was worried about wax drips on the linen. Remember, if using an open flame, never leave it unattended.
I’m forever sending people home with extra pieces of dessert or little flower arrangements – anything to remind them of the fun they (hopefully) had during the evening. Three ideas that work perfectly with this country-casual theme:
1) Jam, pickles and preserves – Guests love going home with something homemade. Click HERE for our most popular jam recipe and HERE for our pickles!
2) Customized cookie cutters – We fell in love with the cookie cutters from 3D Komotion. Head HERE to see and order from their wonderful collection.
3) Spring bulb kit – Kids LOVE this. Take small burlap sacks and add a spring bulb to each. Take a popsicle stick and write the name of each guest. Insert one popsicle stick into each bag and place them out on each place setting. Guests can then plant the bulbs in their garden complete with a personalized plant marker. Come spring, their bulbs will bloom and reminding them of your fall dinner.
This need not be complicated; in fact, I encourage you to take this opportunity to create something with whatever you have growing in the garden, including greens, herbs, late-season flowers, and anything that might bring colour to the centre of your table. Feel free to swap out fresh flowers for an edible arrangement of fresh fruit or nothing more than a squat pumpkin.
For this table, I wanted to tie in the colour of the china and linen, so I used red and white dahlias. I also added a touch of vibrant green setaria grass. I placed the cut blooms into a square vase ¾ filled with cool water, grouping the flowers by colour as best as possible. Remember to keep the blooms rather low in the vase – nothing ruins a great party like not being able to see over the flower arrangement.
Final tip if you are going to do fresh flowers is to try to complete the arrangement one or two days before your party. This gives your blooms a chance to acclimatize to your home and fully open by party time. Don’t forget to check the water level in the vase too – like your guests, flowers are thirsty!