Creating a Formal Table Setting

Whether it’s Eid or any other special occasion, it’s a nice feeling to have a beautiful table setting for your guests. It’s even nicer to not have to spend too much time or money to do just that. Here are few ways you can make that happen this Eid or during your next formal affair.

Formal Table Setting(1)

1. Keep formal tableware in an easy-to-access area of your home. All too often, fine china or formal plates are packed away only to be dusted off and used once every several years rather than on every special occasion because it’s too much work to take it out of boxes and paper. Instead, I keep mine in a buffet in my dining room and use it often- when I have guests or just want to make dinner feel special, it’s easy to get to and I feel it’s well-used which is the actual reason it’s been purchased in the first place. 


2. Use mirrors as trays, which make a table look instantly more elegant and even a bit larger. In this table setting, I removed the hardware from the back of an old mirror,  painted the frame and as soon as that dried, I had a pretty tray to place the centerpiece and lovely small votives, which are perfect for lighting up the table in the evening.


3. Use flowers, any flowers. I’m an advocate for real things, always, but there are also exceptions. Sometimes you just need to add a pop of color and if you have a stash of decorative florals somewhere around the house, put them in a vase and let them do their thing- it’s especially useful when they’re seasonal.


4. While we’re talking about color, using fruit as a decoration is another great way to add color to a table setting; you could use anything that’s ‘edible’ and adds color. It also adds texture and a bit of bringing the outdoors in, which is always something people enjoy looking at even if you do remove it before serving meals to make space for the food.


5. Choose pieces with charm to add to the setting. They could be vintage, antique or something modern- whatever you like.  When a piece is a bit unique or even quirky, it often serves as a conversation piece and can even break the ice if you’re dining with people you’re just getting to know over dinner.

DSC_42146. I know I already mentioned candles, but this tip is more about mood. Each table setting has a mood to it. I love candles at the table, but it’s not always appropriate for every guest and certainly not always a good idea when people are bringing kids who may potentially hurt themselves by the temptation of grabbing them or the tablecloths that can be dragged down, candles and all.  In that case, light dimmers are smart. I’m not a fan of eating under super bright lights, especially in the evening, but it all depends what my guests will be most comfortable with in our home.


7.  In keeping things simple at the table, it’s still important to make sure that guests have everything they need to enjoy the meal you’re providing. 


Whether you’re serving tea or coffee, it’s not just nice for your guests to already have their cups at the table, but it’s also nice for you to not have to fumble around for them later while everyone is waiting for you to get it all together. 


There’s a fine line between having everything you need and overcrowding it all. Once you’re finished setting the table, take a look and begin the editing process. If you really don’t need something or you suddenly realize that a particular item is going to block someone’s vision or just get in their way of eating, it’s not worth their aggravation to keep it at the table.


In the end, a simpler table makes it easier for you, and over time you’ll have your own go-to formal setting down to an exact science.  In that case, entertaining couldn’t be easier..right?

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