In our homes, table setting is a top priority. As much as we love whiling away a weekend afternoon cooking up delights for family and friends, what’s the point if the meal isn’t framed against a gorgeously inviting background?
For cozy autumn dinner parties, we welcome guests with a beautifully laid table that encourages laughter and warmth the whole night through.
Whether you’re opting for a formal or casual look, the easiest way to set the tone for your table is with linens. And it doesn’t have to be expensive; for rustic fall feasts, purchase some burlap from your local home renovation store to use as a table runner, or repurpose a plaid blanket for a woodsy feel. Aiming for a more elegant evening? While white is always crisp and clean, consider trading in the table cloth for beautiful charger plates in seasonal bronze or copper.
Look to the season for inspiration: centre pieces created from gourds, corn, acorns or dried leaves are a great way to give thanks to Mother Nature. Often, the best table decorations are the least expensive – and the most fun. Gather the kids for a nature walk and hit the trails: why spend $50 at a home decorating store on a bag of fake seasonal items when you can gather the real stuff for free, and sneak in some quality family time? Line the centre of your table with candles, fill vases with dried twigs and berries, or use miniature pumpkins at each setting for place holders.
Traditional table settings call for forks to the left side of the plate, spoons and knives to the right. Silverware should be placed in order of its use, so you work your way from the outside in. For festive fall feasts that are more friendly than formal, get creative with your cutlery: place them on a cloth napkin wrapped in twine, or even pick up miss-matched patina pieces at the local antique shop.
At the very least you will need a water and wine glass, but you may want to consider two wine glasses – one for red and one for white, so interested guests can try different wine pairing options with their meal. While standard clear glass is perfectly acceptable, it’s nice to play on the cozy, rustic charm of the season by setting out heavier glass goblets in pale earthy tones.
Soft light always casts everyone in a flattering glow. Pillar candles and tea light in glass holders are always an elegant option, for an autumn twist, break out the pairing knife and turn seasonal produce like turnips, apples and gourds into gorgeous votives. Simply remove the tea light from it’s metal casing, puncture the vegetable with the sharp end of the metal, and then scoop out the marked flesh with a melon baller. Easy, fast and charmingly pretty.