FFNW How to set a proper table

Setting a “Proper” Table

October 8, 2015
One could search the interwebs and easily find “how-to” posts on this topic in abundance.  How many knives and forks and where to place the wine goblet…however, I would love to propose a guide that truly fits into my lifestyle.  I don’t often host lavish dinner parties and when we do have people over, I don’t serve a special salad course. All of our big ol’ family events are still at mom and dad’s house and our dining table only fits 6 comfortably.  “Proper” really depends on what makes sense in your home and for your guests and occasion.
With the upcoming holidays approaching, I thought this a timely post.

Soooo….I present to you:

A short, inspirational tidbit on how to prepare your table for a small meal gathering in your home

Step 1

Decide on a color palette, textural theme and an overall feel.

Example 1:  I have invited 2 couples over for a cozy evening in.  I want my friends to feel special, warm and comfortable.  We’ll eat family-style and talk around the table late into the evening.

Found and Forged NW A Proper Table Casual Gathering

I choose warm tones (yellows, wood, creams) to allow for the cozy factor and then punch up the “special” with metals and just a touch of whimsy (gold rimmed chargers and tumblers, metal silverware, horse glasses).
Example 2: It’s a few weeks before Christmas and we’d like to host a dinner gathering for 6 or so guests.  The feel is festive and elevated.  Our guests are more on the acquaintance end of the scale and we’d like to move further into the friend zone:)
Found and Forged NW A Proper Table Special Gathering
Step 2
Decide on your necessary serving ware.
I use:
  • Table runner – my table is either bare, as we have a wooden table, or I use a runner for a pop of somethin’ special
  • Chargers- not always, but when there is a planned gathering where I have the luxury of planning a table setting in advance
  • Plates- mixed and matched china is my favorite, salad/dessert plates are good to have on hand
  • Napkins- nice to have a basic color set and a beautiful patterned set
  • Napkin rings
  • Silverware- Forks, knives, spoons (one per guest, unless dessert is involved, then a dessert fork would be needed)
  • Glassware
  • Wine glasses- when the occasion calls for it!
  • Serving tray and/or bowls
  • Serving utensils- I try to match the silverware here
  • Candles!
  • Centerpiece- fresh flowers, big chunky candles, antlers, so many options!
  • Coasters or hot pads to place food on the table family-style
 Step 3
Set the mood.
Lighting plays a large part in the feel of the evening.  If I am hosting a BBQ grill-out, I open all the windows and doors and let the light and fresh air zing through the house!  Fresh flowers on the table and some upbeat instrumental music playing fit the bill.
Found and Forged NW A Proper Table Outdoor Gathering
If we’re hosting a cozy evening soiree, then I dim the overhead lights and use LOTS of candles! Soft jazz or acoustic tunes are where it’s at.  I also like to make sure we have plenty of throw blankets on the couch and if it’s chilly, I start that fireplace right away!
Found and Forged NW A Proper Table Cozy Gathering
I believe our generation has taken a drastic swing toward casual get togethers and “hang outs”.  I’m all for the no pressure dinners, take out nights with the marriage group, or even “eat before you come” gatherings.  Seriously, if setting a table is hindering you from opening your home to loved ones, forget it!
However, there is something to be said for preparing your home for a guest.  You have thought through how you can make them feel special and time has been put into their arrival.  It need not be extravagant, but many times small, extra touches of effort can mean the world to even the closest of friends.  Do you have a special dinner gathering memory?  What sets “the mood” for you and your home?  Any go-to recipes or table settings?
To gatherings!
xo Jordan

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