Having a dinner party feels like such a grown up thing to do. We worry about the menu and plan extravagant four course meals with different wines, aperitifs and special after dinner coffees. But how many of us remember that the first impression made by a perfectly laid table can make or break a dinner party?
The problem is that many of us simply have no idea where to start. Should it be formal or informal, perfectly white or funky and colourful? Should there be a centre-piece or place-mats? And what about name tags…
It is scary, but in reality what it boils down to is the personality of the host and a few simple rules.
- Always start with a white tablecloth and napkins. These can be jazzed up with colourful plates and bowls and everything on the table will stand out.
- Make sure any centre-piece is in proportion to the size of your table and remember that a simple vase of pretty flowers and some candles are almost always perfect. Place-mats really are not needed if you have a tablecloth.
- Remember that forks, bread plates and napkins are usually on the left and knives, spoons and glasses are placed to the right. Place utensils in the order they will be used, starting with the outermost ones.
- If you have the room, it is always nice to use pretty serving dishes placed at the table. There is nothing quite like lifting the lid off a casserole and showing off your culinary efforts. When you want to be more formal you should plate up in the kitchen, except maybe the vegetables.
The final rule would be that good company and a few glasses of wine will save the day, even if it all looks disastrous. Pick your friends well and the night will take care of itself.
Megan Collins Quinlan March 22nd, 2010
Posted In: Top Tips