There’s certainly something special about sitting down at a beautifully set table with friends and family to share a meal. Hosting a dinner party is an opportunity to open your home and share quality time with loved ones— BUT, whichever way you slice it— it’s a lot of work. The five sections below are meant to guide your planning process as you create a memorable table setting and experience for your guests. The goal is to save you time, energy (and a bit of $$$) that could be better spent in the kitchen, crating your signature dish. Bon appétit!



FIND YOUR INSPIRATION

Choose an item that speaks to you. Allow it to set the tone for the rest of table design.


I recently came across a few pieces of vintage Staffordshire Ware at a thrift store and was immediately struck by it’s pattern and colors. It serves as an eye-catching accent for this tablescape.

Tip: Update a basic cake stand by layering a statement plate. Use it to elevate food that will stay on the table throughout the meal. It will create more space for family-style dinner dishes. “Pass the potatoes please!” Create this look with my favorite versatile stand!



CONSIDER NEW COLOR COMBOS

For an unexpected look, challenge yourself to use hues that may not necessarily be considered the traditional ones of the season.


No shade towards the holiday OGs, red & green— but I was feeling winter blues. The festive color featured on the inspo pieces was the perfect starting point for this bold design. Repeating with taper candles, glassware, and floral garnish brings this monochromatic palette to life.

Tip: Keeping within a color family allows you to mix & match pieces while still keeping it cohesive.



MIX IT UP

Incorporate elements of different texture, size, and shape for depth and interest.


One of the most exciting aspects of eclectic design is that you can showcase more of your favorite table wear and decor pieces all at once! Create consistency or contrast through color, material, pattern, shape, or style.

Tip: Choose one or more piece(s) of each place setting to keep consistent and create an “anchor”, then enjoy experimenting with the rest! In this case, I used the same utensils, plates, napkins, and bowls but switched up the glassware and chargers for an eclectic feel.



ADD LIFE

Florals and greenery are a classic way to dress a table, but consider adding other organic elements.


Once place settings are set, the table top can become crowded. Opting to include edible decor elements as part of your design helps you best utilize the space. These golden Bosc pears are the perfect sweet treat to showcase this time of year.

Tip: Adding fresh produce to your table is an easy way to reflect the current season. IMO, fruit & floral are always a winning combo.



BE PLAYFUL!

Add character, cue the smiles, and get the dinner conversation started with a surprise element.


Finally, for the pièce de résistance! This part of the design is all about making your guests feel special. Get creative and personal with the setting for a memorable meal. These festive, beaded napkin tassels are a bespoke touch.


MAKE YOUR OWN BEADED TASSELS:
1. Cut one end of the tassel loop to create one long strand.
2. Slide letter beads on strand and double knot end.
3. Secure a piece of matching thread to name charm under knot.
4. Tie around napkin or wine glass stem.

Enjoy the time you spend at your table with loved ones.

Wishing you and your company, cheer this season!

XOXO,

Jenna


Please note, if you make a purchase using some of the links in this post, I may earn a small commission. It is never expected, but a way for readers to support the blog and keep it going! Interested in additional items pictured in this post or others? Click here to shop more!

Keep happy hour happy— for everyone. Let the five sections below help guide your planning and reduce your stress between “Wanna stop by my place for drinks?” and “Welcome, c’mon in!” You may find hosting friends and family for cocktail hour quite effortless if you set yourself up for success (and have the right things on hand).



SIMPLY DELICIOUS

When guests are intended to craft their own cocktails, keep it to a few ingredients.


Choose spirits and mixers that easily mix & match. This will ensure drinks end up tasting as good as they look! Although it’s tempting to pull out everything in your liquor cabinet, it leads to an overwhelming amount of options. Even party-goers with the most novice mixology skills will feel confident creating a yummy cocktail as your intentional selections guide their decision making. 

Tip: Provide versatile mixer choices such as as tonic and club soda. Top Note offers a range of award-winning, artisanal options that uplift a variety of spirits. Their “Special Edition: Fan Mixed Pack” features all the essentials you need on-hand for hosting. 



KEEP IT TOGETHER

If you want to keep your cocktail crafting area clutter free, it is important to group items together.


When ingredients and barware are effortlessly returned to their original spot every time, it ensures each guest gets the best drink-building experience. For a cohesive setup, transfer ingredients to aesthetically pleasing containers, such as corked jars and decanters.

Tip: Put glassware on a large tray. This will help catch inevitable spills and keep over-pours contained. This heavy-duty marble piece is a versatile option that adds luxurious touch. To add warmth, try this wooden serving tray. Both options look great paired with this handy ice bucket!



AT YOUR SERVICE

Hosting a smaller-sized group makes it easier to create an exciting, bespoke guest experience.


Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times that call for the classic red Solo Cup, but intimate events are a great opportunity for you to put more stylish serve wear to use. Drinks just taste better in vintage glassware, am I right? ; )

Tip: Hit up your local thrift store to collect special glasses. Don’t worry if you can’t a full, matching set. Stick to a color palette, then mix them up! 



GARNISH GAME STRONG

Provide fruit, herb, and spice options that compliment your selected spirits and mixers.


A hearty array of garnish allow guests to create a flavorful and memorable cocktail without an over-complicated process.  

Tip: Keep it feeling fresh with toppers that taste and smell like the season. Cue Mariah Carey and a crackling fire for these wintertime cocktails— garnished with large organic cinnamon sticks, Sicilian candied orange peel, and anise star pods.



ACCESSORIZE, MY DARLING

Straws, swizzle sticks, charms, and napkins offer opportunities for you to get a little creative with your cocktail crafting. 


Gift tags are a super simple (and inexpensive!) way to add festive flair and allow guests to keep track of their glass throughout the evening. Like the look of these? Find them here.

Tip: Don’t go overboard. Be sure your drink decor doesn’t get in the way of practically enjoying the beautiful beverage. 

MAKE YOUR OWN WINTER BITTERS COCKTAIL:
1. Fill your favorite glass with ice.
2. Pour 2 oz. small batch gin over ice.
3. Mix in limited-release Top Note Gentiana Tonic.
4. Garnish with organic cinnamon sticks, Sicilian candied orange peel, and anise star pods.

If you have a fantastic winter-time cocktail recipe of your own, please share it —comment below!

Wishing you and your company, cheer this season!

XOXO,

Jenna


Please note, if you make a purchase using some of the links in this post, I may earn a small commission. It is never expected, but a way for readers to support the blog and keep it going! Interested in additional items pictured in this post or others? Click here to shop more!