Guess who’s coming to dinner? Perhaps it’s your son or daughter’s new partner? Or is it your new in-laws meeting for the first time? Maybe it’s your boss and his wife as you are looking to move up the cooperate ladder? Regardless, what do all of them have in common? They are your guest and ‘guest’ rhymes with ‘stress’. How can you be prepared to leave a great first impression and enjoy dinner? Worry not, I’ve got you covered
It’s a special dinner and it’s time to upgrade your dining table. It’s time to blow off the dust from the lids of your wedding registry. Are you a checkered board, pattern or plain style gal when it comes to your table linen? Table linen is a combination of table clothes, and cloth napkins, or placements which often come in a set of four runners. I know what you might be thinking – when would you ever use all of them? Well, you guessed it – in times like these.
I am a huge fan of interchangeable decorations with pops of colour in contrast to subtle solid-coloured dinnerware. For instance, choosing table linen with designs such as lemon and olive is always a good idea. There are many options to choose from such as, checkered, flowered, garner check and so on to add a stylish pop of colour to your table setting.
These lines add style and preserve your table’s surface. You can easily find linens for tables in a set with napkins, a runner, placemats, and tablecloths. However, I wouldn’t use them all at once.
For example, if you have a long table – it’s best to use a table runner with napkins and decorations. Now suppose you want more coverage for the table. Pick a whole table cloth and you may still use the same matching napkin but, make it visually pleasing by laying the napkin on a plate in a different colour. This is a great way to make the table setting more cohesive.
They can be made in materials such as cotton and linens. To keep these special occasion home decorations pristine, you should never soak or bleach them. Always use some water and mild detergent. It’s best to wash it by hand and allow it to air dry. No one likes wrinkles so it’s ok to iron it on low heat in reverse to make sure you make no mistake on this beautiful piece that can go from generation to generation. Perhaps your daughter will give your linens to her and so on until it becomes something so precious it never goes away.
Choosing the right dinnerware to complement your table linens is essential to create a cohesive look. No, you don’t have to go all white. While yes, white is a tried and truly beautiful addition to any table, but is that your style? Make sure to buy things that bring you joy and use serveware you can be proud to bring out.
Did you know that your server ware can also match your table linens? Yup, what better setup than to have things coordinated? A must-have piece for serving is a salad bowl. For serving sauces, or vegetables add contemporary sophistication with a footed bowl. This style can elevate certain foods to give an overall complete look to your table display.
How to Set the Table
In an ideal table setting, it’s important to know what’s on the menu. If you have salad, you need a salad fork, soup and so on. You begin eating a meal by using the flatware at the outside left and right, and then working your way in towards the plate as the meal proceeds.
Keeping this in mind, forks are placed to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons to the right. Stemware is set above and to the right of the dinner plate; bread-and-butter plates sit above the forks, to the left of the place setting.
Flatware should align with the bottom rim of the charger which is usually for decorations and will be removed when you start to eat. Next, the water glass stands above the dinner knife, with white wine to its right, and red wine top centre.
Did I lose you? I hope not. I know you got this. Remember to only place on the table what is needed for the meal you made. Keep in mind, for more than four guests you can guide people to the seat you planned or have place cards to avoid chaos.
How to Be the Perfect Host
First, I must remind you no one is perfect. But we can strive towards greatness in an organized way. So, to do this keep these few final points in mind:
• Send invitations at least 2 weeks in advance (ask your guests if they have dietary restrictions)
• Plan the menu well in advance
• Make sure to have enough dinnerware to serve each guest, including drinks.
• Play music in the background to fill the space
• For food that preserves well, cook well in advance things you can so guests do not have to wait long
• If you are especially nervous about this meeting, stick to the best meals you make. There is no need to add stress trying to impress. Keep it simple yet quality.
Now It’s Time to Eat
Although the visual aspect of your meal is important, so are the taste and the conversations. Avoid being a busy bee and give your guest your undivided attention by being well prepared. Now that you have all the steps to becoming a perfect inside dinner host, are you ready for an outside dinner? This article will give you the confidence you need to make your first impressions. Be prepared, be flexible and most importantly – be you. I can already tell you’re going to do great.