A lot has happened between the age of rotary phones and the advent of iPhones, and there’s a strong argument that reliance on technology – with instant messaging, around-the-clock reachability, and 24-hour shipping – has brought us away from nurturing meaningful connections. In a time when more and more people associate the word “hosting” with “websites”, have we lost our sense of hospitality?
It doesn’t have to be so! Let’s resolve, in 2019, to be more deliberate with our interactions. More personal. To honour our guests, new acquaintances, and dearly beloved, by creating an atmosphere of comfort and spiritual nourishment. And let’s start by setting the table.
What is Tablescaping?
These days, the focus of most meals is the food. We race the clock to deliver our sides, salads, and entrees so each are delivered, piping hot, at the same time. Tablescaping, at its heart, is inverting this focus. It’s about bringing the focus to the table – to the ambience that has been created, and the company you’re sharing it with. It’s an art, and in some circles, even a competitive event!
Where we can adapt it in the home is to get inspiration from artfully set tables, and create our own tablescapes with decorative objects that we can either purchase or
modify from what we have at home. By putting in that little extra effort, we’re showing our guests that their presence is our privilege – and in turn, they might not mind waiting a few extra minutes while dinner browns in the oven
Simple Tablescaping Ideas
For most occasions, your tablescape doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Here are a few interesting ideas for decorating your table, no matter your budget or time frame. Candles & Greenery – This simple and romantic tablescape calls just calls for a few white pillar candles and some delicate
branches of foliage. Simply arrange the pillars lengthwise along the centre of the table, spacing them out slightly, and weave the greenery between them. Eucalyptus, either real or artificial, works beautifully.
Wildflower Vases – Create a simple and sophisticated Easter tablescape by arranging four or five bouquets of mixed flowers in shades of yellow, white, pink, and purple in matching glass vases. Try mixing different floral shapes – perhaps a bouquet of marigolds, roses, astilbe, and pansies – and place them down the centre line of the table. A basic white or cream tablecloth and matching cloth napkins completes the look.
Rustic Vintage – Create a table runner with a swath of burlap or vintage lace. Arrange simple bouquets of voluminous white blooms, like peonies, with a few sprigs of baby’s breath in vintage vases or mason jars.
Special Event and Holiday Tablescapes
For special occasions that call for going the extra mile, consider details like table favours and place cards. While these tablescapes require a little more planning and execution, the special touches will stay in guests’ minds and ensure the occasion is a memorable one.
Lemon Tablescape – Perfect for occasions like engagement parties, baby showers, and post-wedding brunches, sunny lemons are the star of this arrangement. Along the centre line of the table, alternate bowls of lemons with yellow and white bouquets. Serve lemonade from attractive glass pitchers, filled with ice and slices of Meyer lemon, and in lieu of napkin rings, try tying napkins with yellow ribbon. You can have fun with table favours, with each guest receiving a lemon-themed gift. – perhaps a place card tucked into a real lemon, or a tiny bottle of limoncello.
Thanksgiving Tablescape – The objective with a Thanksgiving tablescape is to create a mood of coziness. Try using a warm fabric for your table runner, like a handsome plaid in colours that complement the rest of your arrangement. For your centrepiece, arrange tall white candles and bouquets of chrysanthemums with miniature pumpkins in orange and white. For table favours, miniature mason jars are on-theme and a perfect vessel for homemade jam, apple butter, or hot cocoa mix. Try using chalkboard labels or butcher paper for indicating your guests’ names.
Christmas Tablescape – The holiday season leaves so many options for creative tablescaping, the possibilities are endless! We love combining an element of red fruit, like cranberries or winterberry, with real evergreen boughs to create our centrepiece. Cinnamon sticks, tied to napkins with a small sprig of cedar, make a sweet and simple table favour that enhances the
aromas at the table. Candlelight is a must for adding soft light and warmth to the table – but you may want to stick to sturdy votives so nothing gets knocked over as guests pass the food back and forth!
A beautiful tablescape can come together quicker than you might expect, and it truly does a lot to make your guests’ experience memorable. Set the tone for a year filled with memories with a creative table setting of your own!