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6 Tips for Setting the Ultimate Dinner Party Table

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Last month I turned the big 40! I wanted to look forward to the day, rather than dread it, so my husband and I planned a dinner party with some close friends to celebrate.

We love to entertain at our home. There is something special about inviting friends over for a night at home, rather than fighting the crowds at a noisy, crowded restaurant. Opening your home to guests makes people feel loved. The little things you do to prepare your home for entertaining really impacts the experience your guest will have.

I have 6 tips I use when hosting guests that will help you the next time you entertain and will help you in setting the ultimate dinner party table!

 

Tips for Setting the Ultimate Party Table 

I love, repeat, LOVE setting a beautiful table. My mom instilled that love in me at an early age. Meals always feel more special when set with attention to detail. Sometimes beautifully set tables feel unattainable.

When you flip through magazines or scroll through Pinterest, you may think, there is no way I can pull that off! If you pick a table apart and focus on one element at a time it is so much easier to replicate. I am breaking down our birthday celebration tablescape to show you how you can set the ultimate party table!

Elegant dining room. Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

Leopard and floral tablescape by Randi Garrett Design

No. 1  

Pick an inspiration piece for your table

I always choose an object for my tables that will give it that wow factor. It may be a bold print, a fabulous set of dishes, a show stopping floral arrangement, or maybe even some spectacular stemware. Whatever your inspiration piece is, make it your focal point and design the rest of your table around it.

For this dinner party I wanted the linens to be the focal point. I chose leopard and floral prints to give the table a fun and vibrant feel. This combination is elegant and bold.

Leopard and floral tablescape by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Leopard table runner by Randi Garrett Design

Use what you have. I had some left over leopard fabric from my daughter’s bedroom makeover {here}, so I made a table runner. Table runners are a breeze to make. I will show you how next week.

We needed two tables set up, so one had the fabric runner and for the other I used my favorite table runner trick… wrapping paper {you can see other examples here and here}.

 

Leopard and floral tablescape by Randi Garrett Design

 

Elegant dining room with leopard pillow by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

Leopard and floral go together like mani’s and pedi’s! When I found these fabulous, bright floral napkins, ON SALE, I knew they were perfect for this table.

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

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No. 2  

Choose a centerpiece that fits your table theme.

If your focal point for your dinner table isn’t the centerpiece, keep it simple so it doesn’t distract from the main attraction. If you want your centerpiece to be the piece that people are talking about months after your shin dig, then by all means, go all out! My Kate Spade inspired tablescape featured a centerpiece as the focal point. You can check it out here.

At this party, my linens were my main feature, so I kept my floral arrangements simple. Next week I will show you exactly how I created them.

I selected roses in a variety of colors, trimmed them, then placed them in 3 small arrangements down the center of the table. Keep your arrangements low enough that your guests can make eye contact with one another while visiting across the table.

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Floral and leopard tablescape by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

Shop similar vases to recreate these centerpieces

No. 3

 Layer dishes with chargers and mix patterns for added flair

Tabletops are the perfect place to have a little fun with pattern! Mixing plates and glasses with various colors and patterns gives your table some personality. Maybe you don’t have a ton of dishes, don’t fear!!! Read my post on china cabinet essentials {here}. This will help you start a collection that will make entertaining a breeze and won’t break the bank!

For the ultimate dinner party place setting, start with a charger, then layer a classic white dinner plate as a blank canvas. Next place a salad or dessert plate {or both if they are needed}. The top plate where you want to really show off. I used these pink polka dot plates at all of the side chairs. For the head chairs, I used my favorite gold crown plates.

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

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No. 4  

Set two glasses at each place setting, one for water and one for whatever beverage you are serving.

Giving your guests two glasses is a simple luxury. It’s always nice to be able to cleanse your pallet with a refreshing glass of water plus be spoiled with a fancy beverage! I like to add fruit to my water for flavor and for color. A few of my favorite combinations are…

  • Fresh slices of pineapple and lemon and blackberries
  • Sliced peaches and strawberries
  • Slices of cucumber, lemon and some sprigs of mint

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

 

Shop my Stemware

 

No. 5

 Serve dessert on a bar cart

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

Bar carts aren’t just for bar items. How charming would it be to have your dessert served from a fabulous cart wheeled right to your chair?!!! Not only will your guests feel pampered, the cart will serve as a decor item for your party AND will help you stay organized when it is time to dish the dessert. You can have dessert plates and serving pieces stored and ready to use, along with the dessert of course.

Bakery cakes with fresh roses for decoration by Randi Garrett Design

We purchased cakes from a bakery then added one rose bud to the center of each cake. You can do this too, just wash the rose with water, dry and trim the stem to about 2 inches long. They looked stunning!

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

Chocolate cake with fresh pink rose

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

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No. 6

Add candles or tea lights to create ambiance

Everyone looks better by the light of the fire, that is reason enough to add candle light to your table! Candles also create an ambiance that makes your table feel inviting and cozy. There is no wrong time of year to use them, they are on point every season!

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

Next time you throw a dinner party, try these 6 tips and set the ultimate dinner party table for you and your guests!

 

Tips for setting the ultimate dinner party table by Randi Garrett Design

 

xo,

Randi

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Join the Conversation

17 thoughts on “6 Tips for Setting the Ultimate Dinner Party Table

    1. Erin you are such a sweetheart!!! Thank you so much! Wish you could have been here to help me celebrate! xoxo

    1. Thank you Shauna! Yes! You do need that table runner! Later this week I’ll show you how you can have one just like it! xo

  1. Randi what a stunning tablescape!! I love the leopard and floral print mix!! Thank you for the great entertaining tips!!

    Xoxo
    Kim

    1. Kim thank you! You are so kind to always stop by and leave such lovely comments! I hope you have a wonderful day my friend! You always brighten mine! xo

  2. Randi, this is such a stunning tablescape and coming from an event planner, you have great entertaining tips! I agree, flowers and table linens make any tablescape whether it’s a dinner party, wedding, or kids party! Adding your own style to store bought cakes or even out of the box cakes is a great way to make the evening a memorable experience! XOXO, Sarah

    1. Sarah you are such a sweetheart! Thank you so much for all of your kind words! You are the best! xo

  3. I love that you have pillows on your end chairs. I just purchased some from ballard’s and can’t wait to see how they look on my table. thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Oh how exciting! I bet they will look fabulous. Email me a pic when you get them! xo

  4. Randi I love getting a notification that you have a new blog post, I look forward to the inspiration your posts give me. I’m an Az girl but have been transplanted to Washington and I can always feel the warmth of the Az sun through your posts. I’m preparing to host my bookclub ladies in my home and with a book theme in mind am trying to come up with a beautiful tablescape. I’m leaning on your beautiful photos and the encouragement you give as you break down the steps of the process. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and creativity with us. You’re efforts are much appreciated. Wish me luck! 🙂

    1. Oh Cindy you feel like an instant friend! Enjoy your book club! I know it will be fabulous. Email some photos, I would love to see what you do! Thanks so much for your kind comment. Have the loveliest day my friend. xo

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