I absolutely love setting a beautiful table. Like seriously...it's one of my favorite things in the world (is that weird?).
And I think many people think it takes a lot of money to make it look lush and elegant.
But you know what??? It totally doesn't.
A few tips and reminders before we delve in...
1. Goodwill, the dollar store, garage sales, and flea markets are your best friend.
2. Things do NOT need to match. As long as the grouping is like in color, size or style, have at it.
Goodwill and other discount type stores are a fantastic place to find candle holders, all except perhaps one of mine cost around $1.99.
I love that they're all different and adore that it's not matchey-matchey, as if I went into a single shop and purchased their whole display.
Just like your home shouldn't look like a big box store, neither should your table.
It should rather look like things have been accumulated over time and have history and a story.
Candle sticks can obviously be purchased anywhere from expensive boutiques to the dollar store. I often get mine at Ikea. They drip like crazy, which I kinda like. But make sure they're on a surface that won't be ruined by wax.
I've mentioned before how much I love using wrapping paper as a table runner.
Have you ever used it for this purpose?
It's such an inexpensive option full of color and pattern. AND you don't have to wash it or worry about wine spilling or candles dripping!
The wreaths were a little sparse so I simply hot-glued a few more blooms to thicken them up and make them feel not only fuller, but more expensive looking.
Remember, things don't have to be expensive to look expensive!!
Though I loved how the table was looking, I was still itching for something fresh and real. Some green.
While at the grocery store loading my cart up with items for our menu, I happened onto a bunch of fresh herbs! They were only about $3.00 a piece and since I want some in our garden anyway, it was a perfect solution!
My little helper and I simply placed them in some white pots I had around the house...remember, since they're all the same color, they instantly feel unified and look great though they're different sizes and shapes.
This particular evening I used white linen napkins (purchased at HomeGoods for $6.99 for 10), though I am completely obsessed with beautiful paper ones. You'd definitely think me a hoarder when you see the bin-full I have in the basement.
I always keep an eye out, whether I have an event coming up or not. Having fun paper napkins on hand is perfect for the impromptu celebration when a child comes home with an A on a test...or a breakfast party, too!
For dinner, I used our china (get those babies out of the cabinet and USE THEM!!!) but for our appetizers, I set out vintage dessert plates I'd received as gifts, and found at Goodwill, garage sales, and a dangerously fantastic vintage shop I found in the mountains.
These are inexpensive! They are one-offs and most don't have a match!
But ohmygoodness they're so fun because they add history and uniqueness to the party!
And though they're all different patterns and shapes, they all have a floral motif and are approximately the same size...which again, is what unifies them.
So let's talk. Don't have china? Or your plates don't go with your theme, perhaps?
Paper plates. All day. Let me say it again.
I use brightly colored and patterned paper plates at fancy-ish dinners all the time. Often I'll place a charger beneath to make it feel a little more substantial and grown up, but paper plates, people. It's where it's at.
Chargers can be purchased so many places. From the dollar store to HomeGoods to Macy's or probably Bed, Bath and Beyond. They don't have to be expensive. And they can be woven, painted silver, gold, all sorts of fun right there.
For our champagne lemonade cocktail, I set out mismatched punch cups found at Goodwill. They're so cute and vintagey.
We use these cups for tea parties with our little girls, too. I've even used them for desserts and cups of fruit. And as planters for little pansies (like this)!
I realized while setting the table that I'm missing flatware!! Oh. My. GOSH are you kidding me?! Which child is throwing away our forks and spoons?! Sigh. Hope they still sell our pattern.
Anyway, because I had what The Nester calls "a lovely limitation", I got creative and grabbed some vintage silverware and mixed it. And now I'm obsessed. I love that it's different and adds variety and just makes it feel homey and pretty.
I'm totally adding more fun, vintage silverware to my "lookout list" when at Goodwill, garage sales!
As for name cards, I don't often use them. This evening I did however and made some myself on Illustrator.
They turned out so fantastically that I'm thinking about sharing them with you! But I'm having some computer issues and sadly sharing them will have to wait another day.
HOWEVER...simply buying some cute tags in the dollar section at Target and writing your guest's names on them, would be a perfect finishing touch. You could tie the tag around the fork or place it in the middle of the plate, taped with some washi tape so it doesn't fly away in the wind (if your dinner is outside like ours was).
And don't forget dessert! I mentioned this when I shared my recipes from this party, but mismatched teacups and saucers are such a great way to add personality to your dinner.
If your dessert doesn't work well in cups, offer tea or coffee to finish off the evening!
Or perhaps use them on the table and place votive candles inside!
To have deep conversation, to be cared for, to be loved and listened to. To go to bed at night feeling nourished…body, mind, and soul.
Oh friends...it's just so important.