Last week’s blog focused on cocktails and appetizers for our Italian themed dinner party. In case you missed it, you can check it out here: http://eclecticgirldesigns.com/index.php/2017/06/05/italian-dinner-party-appetizers-and-cocktails/ This post will describe the table setting. Next week, the last post in the series will cover the menu and recipes.
The Table, Place Cards, and Menu
What could be more classic for an Italian themed dinner than a red and white checked tablecloth? I put two folding tables together to form one long banquet style table and placed a red checked tablecloth over both. To this foundation, a white table cloth overlay was added to the center and the table was set with white dinner plates. I designed my menus and place cards using free online clip art and repeated the logo throughout the event, keeping the font and colors consistent. A printed menu was placed on each plate and place cards were mounted in little wooden place card holders next to each plate. (These were purchased but it would be easy to make them from fallen branches.)
The Napkin Fold
I used a napkin folding technique called the “twin candle roll” for my white cloth napkins and placed them in the stemware. They added height and whimsy to the table and couldn’t be easier to do. I recommend starching your napkins first as they will stand up better. Here is a video which shows how to make them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRjvOuzHPlU
A Conversation Piece
Around the holidays last winter I came across a gigantic bottle of Italian wine and immediately knew it would be perfect for an Italian themed dinner party. I purchased it and held onto it for this moment! It was placed front and center on the table and quickly became a conversation piece. It is not terribly common to see a magnum of wine and my guests spent a little time trying to figure out how many regular sized bottles of wine it contained. (The correct answer is three.)
The pièce de résistance for the table setting was a large floral arrangement of red gladiolas in the center of the table. I used a classically-styled urn to raise the arrangement up off the table. Floral foam was used to hold the long stems in place and the flowers were arranged in a spray design. I added a few stalks of spiky palm leaves and some lemon leaves from my backyard to fill out the base of the arrangement and provide additional texture. A floral arrangement of this scale certainly makes a statement and can really give your table a “wow factor!”
A few weeks prior to the party, I began saving empty wine bottles to use as candle holders. The bottles were soaked in warm soapy water to remove the labels and candles were inserted into the openings. They were placed on the mantle above the outdoor fireplace. Our weather turned chilly that evening and we ended up lighting the fireplace for warmth. The flickering glow of the candles and crackling fireplace made for a cozy and convivial setting.
Next week’s blog will provide the menu and recipes for the meal and will feature a dramatic polenta board. Stay tuned!