Wahey! It’s the bank holiday weekend.
Or if you’re reading this at another time, it’s not, but I promise you there’s a normal weekend coming your way soon.
Formalities out of the way, I’d like to talk to you about dinner parties. A mixture of excitement and doom, I find.
On one hand you’re incredibly excited about seeing all your friends, on the other it can get rather stressful balancing cooking, setting the table and entertaining/being available all at once.
I’ve always been one for large parties with fancy dress, much to my friend’s despair. But this year on my birthday I thought, no, times are a’ changin Liz – must be kinder to my dear friends. And so in the most grown up way, I decided to host a dinner party.
I love a dinner party, and one of my favourite bits is preparing the table. Getting this part completed before anything else sets the scene for your evening, meaning you can focus on the food preparation and welcoming your guests.
1. Use an assortment of pretty glasses
Have a selection of wine, water and champagne glasses on the table. These can be a mixture of cut glass and standard glass – you can find some pretty decent sets in charity shops.
If there are too many elements, and you’re struggling for space on your table place them on a drinks tray nearby. Or if you happen to have a drinks trolley/mini bar even better! (Check out my Pinterest for mini bar inspiration)
2. Collect wild flowers and shrubbery
All the botany on this table was from the garden. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, grab your secateurs and get creative. If you don’t there is a cheeky way – pop those secateurs in your back pocket and go for a stroll around the neighbourhood.
I’m sure some of your neighbour’s bushes could do with a trim, right?
Ivy is brilliant as you can twist it through and around candles, it’s also low level and won’t mean you have to dodge around decoration to see your friend’s faces.
3. Invest in a quality table cloth
Most of us will need to make the most of small living spaces, so my guess will be that you’ll have pushed two smaller tables together or have an extend-able dining table.
As quirky as this might look, it’s so much better once you’ve added a quality tablecloth and napkins. It also provides a clean canvas to begin your styling.
4. Embrace the ambience of lighting
The pièce de résistance that brings the whole design (yes, we are table “designers” now) together is lighting.
Lighting can either dramatically ruin or enhance a dining setting.
Using both tea lights and candelabras adds height and interest to the table. We laced up some fairy lights above the table too, which created the perfect atmosphere when it began to get darker. You’re effectively lighting your guests up, making them look superb.
We joked that it did look rather like a wedding table, but sadly no proposals were made..
That evening I didn’t need to cook, we had our very own personal chef – Holly Sugars from La Belle Assiette.
For the full review of La Belle Assiette pop over to CDC Lifestyle, where you’ll see us in action. Mainly me with my gob full and my brother being incredibly animated – clearly his Glyndebourne acting classes are paying off.