Set the scene for your holiday celebrations with thoughtful design and décor. Three experts offer beautiful inspiration and top entertaining tips to make it a season to remember.
Posted on November 1, 2019
For a bright and cheery take on a holiday table setting, Dani Blasena of HauteFêtes flipped the script on the traditional color scheme by drawing inspiration from the garden. “When paired with green and white, orange is unexpectedly sophisticated,” says Blasena. Clusters of winter fruits including blood oranges and kumquats complement warm florals and seasonal foliage in iron urns that bring the outside in. Rustic takes on an air of elegance with playful green and white chinoiserie-inspired china set atop rattan chargers paired with sleek modern silverware and scalloped, gold-edged napkins folded on the diagonal. Taper candles in cut glass candle holders and a gleaming copper chandelier set an intimate mood, while vintage rust-colored velvet ribbon anchors each hand-calligraphed place name. The china is from Sur la Table, flatware and smoky glass stemware are from Catalog Atelier, scalloped napkins from Matouk, the tablecloth is custom, the chairs are from To Be Designed, floral arrangements by Plenty of Petals, and calligraphed place names by Plume. 858.775.6083, hautefetes.com
Dani’s Expert Advice:
Keep your guests’ comfort in mind.
With outdoor entertaining year-round a reality for us in San Diego, as the temperatures dip, keep your guests comfy and warm by providing pillows and blankets draped on each guest’s chair.
Be aware of how much light you have at night.
Make sure that there are enough candles interspersed throughout your tabletop. Guests need to be able to see what they are eating as well as who they are sitting next to! Remember, everyone looks great by the glow of candlelight.
Don’t be afraid to call in help.
Renting chairs, tables, and dinnerware is a great option if you don’t have what you need on hand. It’s much more reasonable than buying numerous items and having to find storage for things you may only use once and/or seasonally. Plus, while your rental company is decking your halls, you can be focused on decking yourself out and getting ready.
Created by Jennifer Jensen of Third Bloom, a grazing table with edible flowers mixed in with a floral arrangement offers a visually appealing and delicious centerpiece that keeps guests sated and sets the stage for what’s to come. “For grazing tables, we love to create a color story and blend from one color to the next,” says Jensen. “We also incorporate edible blooms and veggies from our garden such as pansies and marigold and also a few vines of cherry tomatoes for the finishing design touch!” 858.759.8933, thirdbloom.com
Jennifer’s Expert Advice
Need the perfect hostess gift? Flowers always, of course, and maybe also a bottle of wine!
We always recommend a floral arrangement in a vase or vessel with water so your host can simply place on the grazing table, bar, or use as a centerpiece. That way, you won’t be giving them extra work that requires them to stop what they are doing, find a vase and clippers, and arrange the flowers. Let the professionals do that!
Florals make everything better.
Flowers add the perfect accent to engage all of our senses and set the mood. Plus, they’re scientifically proven to increase your happiness and creativity, so it’s always a good idea to surround yourself with them!
Edible flowers are beautiful on the palate, too!
Our three favorite edible flowers that are both a wonderful visual and delicious garnish are pansies, with their delicate and mild sweet flavor, almost like butter leaf lettuce; marigolds, which are wonderful in salads and have a taste similar to romaine lettuce with a slight citrus tang; and nasturtiums, which are slightly spicy and an excellent addition to warm winter soups.
Alchemy Fine Home
For a rich take on a fall-hued table setting, Vanessa Van Wieren, Fernanda Whitworth, and Laura Kreiss of Alchemy Fine Home paired “lots of layers, patterns, and textures together for a new spin on what Thanksgiving or your holiday parties could be,” says Van Wieren. “We started with a fabulous new placemat that has a linen texture on a wipeable surface and is lined with a gold chain, à la Chanel!” she adds. Then, they layered on Christian Lacroix Sol y Sombra painted black and white striped dinnerware for a fun, avant-garde twist. To add some pattern and color, the trio finished off the plate stack with the Primavera dessert plate, which features beautiful colors, illustrations, and some pops of gold to tie in the gold chain on the placemat. For the glassware, they mixed matte white and matte black Bicos goblets to play up the striking plates. 844.456.5333, alchemyfinehome.com
Vanessa, Laura, and Fernanda’s Expert Advice
Develop a love for layers.
The quickest way to make a table setting look lush and well-appointed is by layering. Starting with a linen tablecloth or table runner, layer on placemats, chargers, and various stacks of plates. Playing with bold napkin rings and various colored glassware also enhances a layered look. And don’t be shy — mixing and matching patterns, colors, and metal tones makes table settings interesting. Contrast is what makes great tablescapes so visually pleasing!
Serve it up in style.
Plan out your serve ware! A few beautiful platters, serving bowls, or trays to match your tablescape go a long way to tie all of your design aspects together. Want to take it even further? Use ribbons and fresh blooms to decorate serving trays to take your beautiful tablescape to new heights.
Don’t forget about the personal touches.
When you’re hosting a special event, make your guests feel special by going the extra mile to make them a custom name card. We love to use calligraphy or paint pens to write guests’ names on pomegranates, mini pumpkins, or holiday ornaments as a little take home gift as well.