at home with Alfresco

There are many ways to make long lasting memories when hosting a dinner party. Some of them good and some of them bad. Bad ideas might be to invite your best friend, her ex-husband and his new twenty year old girlfriend or accidentally serving homemade carbonara to your gluten and dairy free vegetarian friends. On the other hand, there are plenty of ways to make fabulous memories and just one of them is by wowing your guests with an exquisite table setting. Whether it be for a casual bbq or a five course degustation menu, a little thought and planning will go a long way.

Black and White Table Black and white table close up.

Style and layering is key when planning your table setting. Start by thinking of the food you are serving and what you will need to make sure it all goes smoothly. If you are hosting a lavish dinner party with many courses and lots of different wine, a great idea is to use a nearby buffet or console as extra space to keep things close for serving. For example, use the buffet to line up your different wine glasses, bottles of wine, condiments and even additional cutlery and plates so they are close by when you need them and having them all laid out ready to go will ensure you haven't forgotten anything. It is also a great way to carry the style of your table setting across into the whole room. Decorating the buffet with additional candlelight and fresh flowers will add more ambience to the room.

Island inspired navy table setting.

Choosing a colour scheme, however simple, is another great way to start. Look in your cupboard at what you already have and jazz it up with some new placemats, glassware or a table runner. If you are limited to space, a tablecloth is always a great option or choosing a rattan charger plate or round placemats over rectangular ones will give you more room between guests. Start your individual place setting with a placemat...or two. This is the easiest way to inject the colour you wish to use. Then layer up from there with the largest plates on the bottom and the smaller entree plates at the top.

Finally finish your tablesetting with cutlery, wine glasses, candlelight and fresh flowers. Candles and fresh flowers always add that simple elegance which will make all the difference and it's a great way to add a little more colour which ties in your placemats. Now all you really need to focus on is the menu and the guest list. Bon appetit!

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