With Thanksgiving around the corner and the holiday season fast approaching, be ready to strike the perfect tone with fun, festive and feast-friendly tablescapes.
Tablescapes, which are decorations arranged on dining and buffet tables, set the mood for holiday entertaining.
There are no rules, said Rachelle Roth, owner of urbancountrydesigns.com">Urban Country in Bethesda, which features an array of table linens, serving dishes, tableware and decorations for holiday entertainment.
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"I like creating one-of-kind vignettes where the style is simple using natural elements, found objects and vintage treasures," Roth said. "Selecting one important piece to anchor the setting is key."
Inject drama "by layering decorative pieces and objects in varying heights and sizes, which creates visual interest without obstructing views or conversation," she said. "[Then], think outside of the box."
Anything goes in tablescapes, including "things that are found within your home but not necessarily used for a table: breadboards as charges, antique wooden vessels as breadbaskets, a beautiful French Country bench, a throw as a tablecloth and decorative pillows to add comfort and color," she added.
If you enjoy candles on the table, Roth suggested varying height and sizes: "The more, the better. It adds a sparkling glow."
Consider scale, said event planner Crystal Penn, owner of Events by Crystal Renee'. "A major mistake people make is having a centerpiece that is either too tall or not tall enough, and people can not see the person sitting across from them that they are trying to have a conversation with," Penn said. "Another thing is people put too much on the table, making the table cramped."
Instead, she recommended creating a tablescape that delights the eyes and engages the senses, using flowers, plants and candles that draw attention.
"A combination of both always works," Penn said. "Floating candles are a big thing lately and can always be put in the top of a flower vase to give it a kick."
Buffets are as much about logistics as aesthetics, and Penn said when setting a buffet table it is a great idea to have the table positioned so people can form lines on both sides. It helps to have a card with the name of each dish at the buffet. It saves people time trying to figure out what each dish is, which makes the line run smoother.
Select a bold centerpiece, Penn said, as it "sets the mood for the event," acting like a good first impression.
Of course, at Thanksgiving the turkey serves as the centerpiece by default. In this case, "whether a stark white platter or an ornate silver tray, the turkey is always the star, and I love to add magnolia leaves and berries," Roth said.
But while the turkey may be the centerpiece, Roth said it is important to remember the main attraction is the guests.
"The guests are always first," she said. "Friends and family are the most important element for a well-dressed table."