Emily Post still rules when it comes to the etiquette of entertaining and commanding the proper ingredients for setting a grand table even in its simplest forms. I happen to have a copy of her tenth edition of Etiquette (the original edition was published in 1922) that gives item by item of ‘setting the table’ instructions from tablecloth selection to the placement of the pattern right side up and at equal distance — spaced with a string. The silver placement follows suit with each piece named and where to place them, either to the left or right of each plate. How often do you hear someone mention the placement of the fish fork or the salad knife?
In her updated and revised version The New Emily Post’s Etiquette published in 1975 actually includes diagrams for table setting which I have earmarked for easy access whenever I need a refresher.
Thanks to my local city of Alpharetta I have been asked to participate in Alpharetta’s Table ~ Decorating for the Holidays! and I have been envisioning a great looking table top design ever since. Since most of us will go the extra mile to dress our tables for the holidays I thought it would be fun to include you in on my process that will hopefully inspire new ideas for your table during the holidays and throughout the year.
Start With a Theme: The Designers selected for this event were given options on selecting a holiday theme and I chose Thanksgiving.
Choose A Table Covering There are many variations and options that come with this decision; from a full tablecloth and/or topper, a runner, decorative placemats or none of the above.
Centerpiece The sky is the limit as long as you consider the relationship to the theme, the scale that should be appropriate in length and height, the color should compliment the table linens and keep in mind the visual and social engagement that the centerpiece will either compliment or hinder the members seated at the table.
Formal, Casual Elegance, Informal The tone of the dinner affair should affect the choice of the dinnerware, silverware and glassware.
Accessorize This is where we personalize our table setting by bringing in a little flair with statement makers and personal charm that puts an exclamation point on everything that been done to the table.
Stay tuned for part two when I will reveal the final holiday table top design for Alpharetta’s Table: Decorating for the Holidays!