Adding place settings to your dinner reception is a great way to make your tables look full and inviting. No matter your budget or design, there are a few steps you can follow to create a beautiful and cohesive look.
1. Know Your Menu. The first thing you’ll need to do is select your menu and how it will be served. If you’re doing a sit-down meal, then decide if there will be anything on the table before guests arrive, such as a salad. If you’re doing a buffet, you’ll need to consider if you’d rather have the dinner plates at each seat or at the buffet itself. In our experience, guests prefer the plates to be at the buffet or they get confused. To ensure the setting still looks complete, display a nice linen napkin in the center. With either catering style, a charger gives the illusion of a plate and fills the space perfectly.
2. Decide on a Focal Point. What will be the main element at each place setting? Are you doing a unique place card, or a fun patterned napkin? Narrowing in on this item first will ensure that your linens, flatware, etc. don’t compete for the attention and the design comes together in an aesthetically pleasing way.
3. Make it Cohesive. Once you’ve selected the star of your setting, make sure the other elements compliment it. If you have a spotlight-stealing napkin, consider a more neutral table linen. If you want to splurge on the fancy gold flatware, make sure they are front and center. Don’t let the elements compete with one another.
4. Don’t Assume More is Better. You’re probably not hosting the royal family, so don’t feel like you have to put out every style of fork known to man or a grand selection of glassware. Sometimes less is more and if you start overloading the setting, it feels heavy and overdone. The goal is to make the table look complete, not cluttered.
5. Keep it Balanced. You’ll likely want to have a napkin, charger, or plate in the center. From there, work your way out with the silverware and glassware. Consider creating a pocket-fold with the napkin and tuck the silverware inside. Or, place the flatware on either side of the napkin and put a printed menu or thank you card in the fold.