As the summer season passes, most people have enjoyed very comfortable entertaining better known as outside casual. Plastic plates, burgers on the grill and ice cold watermelon have been the weekly fare. With little advance planning or preparation, an easy get together just seemed to come about. It is now time to shift gears into a totally different pace and expectation.
Consider a more elegant approach to entertaining. Some hostesses steer away from this type of entertaining as they are not familiar with how to prepare or set up an elegant party or dinner. To begin, become interested in everything that has to do with a more formal style. Keep your eyes open to everything around you which could provide inspiration and ideas. Become a student of what you see. Study magazines, books, store displays, TV programs, and homes where you visit. Matisse said it best, “Everything we see passes through the eye, to be filed in a little room and then amplified by the imagination”. Begin an inspiration folder by tearing out pictures of ideas you like. Through this exercise you will see your own personal style emerge. Buy things you love, not what someone tells you to buy. You cannot play by someone else’s rules if you intend to train your eye and create your own personal style.
Find an area in your home where you can store all your china, crystal, silver and accessories when not in use. If these items are visible and accessible, you will use them more often and group them together in ways not thought of before. On a certain day, you might see a vase as a container for breadsticks or grandmother’s little sugar bowl to hold freshly cut daisies. Dismiss the proper names given place setting by the china companies. A salad plate might be used for breakfast, a luncheon plate for dessert. You can decide for yourself what you prefer under certain circumstances. You don’t have to follow the dictates of others once you have developed the tools to see and use an item as you like. Use something as it is pleasing to your eye.
Practice setting your table in many different ways. Create the table scape to look pleasing to yourself. Don’t ask others if they like it. Develop your confidence in your own creativity. Look at a stack of linen napkins. Place the napkins on the table in a color pattern. For example, focus on primary colors setting the places with red, yellow and blue napkins alternately. Then work with white or light neutral to support the strong colors. Pick up the colors again in the flowers to give the table “the punch”. Another possibility might be to set the table entirely in white with glistening silver to supply the focal point.
If the elegant, formal table is uncharted territory for you, why not begin with a ladies’ luncheon. After your study, observation and practicing, this type of event will certainly boost your confidence. Once you see what you can do in transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, your spirit will soar. You will have discovered a whole new passion and talent when you open your eyes to see it.
“I believe talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it!” - Maya Angelou