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How To Do Table Settings and Decorations?

How To Do Table Settings and Decorations?

Preparing Tablecloths

In addition to serving a decorative purpose, a tablecloth protects the surface of the table.

White linen or cotton damask tablecloths are conventionally used for formal occasions, but you may prefer to choose a cloth to match the setting or to follow the theme of the occasion.

Protecting Tables

Covering with plastic

Prevent spills from damaging a polished table top by placing a layer of plastic wrap or oilcloth over it before laying the main tablecloth. Alternatively, use a plastic tablecloth.

Finding Alternatives

  • Using sheets If you need extra tablecloths for a large party, improvise with sheets or lengths of cheesecloth.
  • Using several cloths If you have only small tablecloths, use a plain sheet as an undercloth, and lay several small, pretty tablecloths diagonally on top to cover a large table.
  • Using a blanket If you do not have an undercloth, use a thick blanket underneath a tablecloth to prevent the top of the table from being marked.
  • Substituting rugs For a party with an Arabian or Oriental theme, lay brightly colored kilims or rugs over large table

Weighting Cloths

Using coins as weights; Weight a tableloth to be used outdoors by removing a few stitches around the hem and slipping coins or curtain weights inside. Alternatively, you can tack weights onto the cloth.

Preventing Flapping

Tying knots; Knot the corners of a cloth when eating outdoors to prevent them from flapping. Place the cloth over one of a contrasting shade or slip bouquets of dried flowers into each knot for decoration.

Decorating Plain Tablecloths

  • Decorating with stencils Use stencils and fabric paints to decorate a plain cloth. Stencil a border around each place setting.
  • Spray painting Brighten up plain fabric or paper cloths with spray paints in colorful, abstract designs for children’s parties.
  • Scattering petals Scatter rose petals or other edible flowers over a cloth for a romantic touch.
  • Adding sparkle At a festive event, sprinkle gold or silver stars over the tablecloth.
  • Using wallpaper borders Decorate the edges of a plain cloth with a pretty wallpaper border, securing it around the edges with double-sided tape.

Making Herb Bouquets

Make small bouquets of fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, to attach to a plain tablecloth. Tie the bouquets with ribbon, and pin them to the cloth in each corner.

Setting Tables

The same basic principles apply to setting any table, whether for an informal or a formal meal, although the menu dictates which cutlery is used. To avoid overcrowding the table at the start of a meal, additional cutlery can be brought to the table with the appropriate courses.

Laying a Table for Dinner

Laying a setting; However many courses there are, lay the cutlery in the order it will be used, working from the outside inward. To save space, you can place both the dessert spoon and fork at the top of the setting. Arrange glasses at the top right-hand corner, with the main wine glass placed above the tip of the main knife.

Preparing Tablecloths

Choosing Glassware

If you have taken care with your choice of drinks, you will want to choose glassware equally carefully to complement the drinks and the table setting. When calculating how many glasses you need for entertaining on a large scale, allow an additional 10 percent for breakage.

Choosing Wine Glasses

Choosing the right shape; To enjoy the bouquet of either white or red wine, serve it in glasses that are narrower at the rim than in the body. This shape enhances a wine’s bouquet.

Using Glassware

  • Removing labels To remove sticky labels from new glasses, rub with lighter fluid.
  • Removing water marks If glasses are dulled by water marks, restore their sparkle by soaking in water with a little vinegar. Rinse thoroughly in cold water, drain, and dry.
  • Washing crystal Wash fine lead crystal glasses by hand in warm water and detergent. Rinse in clear water, and dry while warm. Washing lead crystal in a dishwasher will dull the surface of the glasses.
  • Serving champagne Serve champagne in slender flutes, which show off the bubbles and color of the wine.

Choosing Pitchers

Pouring fruit punch; Serve fruit punches and iced drinks from a glass pitcher that has a pinched pouring lip or a filter to prevent fruit slices or ice cubes from falling into the glass.

Choosing Tableware

The careful selection of tableware is essential to the visual success of a dinner party and to show off the food at its best. Choose simple yet striking colors and shapes when deciding which china, cutlery, and linen to use. Arrange them so that they do not detract from the food.

Mixing And Matching Tableware

Mixing colors; If you do not have enough matching tableware for all your guests, then mix and match what you have, combining colors and styles to dramatic effect. Layer contrasting colors on top of one another.

Using Large Platters

Arranging ingredients; If you do not have a plate that fits the size of a quiche or tart exactly, choose a large platter. Place the quiche in the center, and fill the space around it with a mixed salad or pretty garnish.

Finding Serving Alternatives

  • Using disposable platters Buy large, disposable foil platters for buffet foods. To make them look decorative, line with lettuce leaves before arranging the food on top.
  • Using wicker containers For an unusual presentation, serve bread and canapes in wicker containers. Line baskets with napkins for bread, and trays with lettuce leaves for canapes.
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