If you’re getting ready for a big splashy party at your home, decorating for the occasion is likely to be a hot topic.
But, where to start? The possibilities are virtually endless.
Here are some great tips from our resident designers:
1. Keep the sightlines clear
Don’t let anything in the center of the table block the view of people across the table. You don’t want flowers or a centerpiece that’s so tall that people can’t see each other. Candles are great, as are smaller decorative items with a low profile.
2. Use what you have
If you have pretty glass vases or dishes, these can be what you put your flowers and candles in. Your beautiful serving dishes that you don’t normally use, this is the time to use them to highlight the food and the drinks that you’ll be serving. Set up a drink station that features all your best glasses, and put garnishes in nice, glass bowls. Arrange your appetizers on dishes at different heights to add interest, and they become part of the decoration as well.
3. Table linens and runners
There’s no right or wrong way to do table linens, but if your party is more formal, floor-length linens look best. For a more casual affair, a table runner or a simple tablecloth is fine. A runner is a great way to go if you’re placing items down the middle of the table. That way all your stuff stays in the middle of the table and you’ve still got room for people to sit.
4. Having a party vs. dinner with your family
You may not be putting out flowers and candles for your family, but if you’re having your friends over or celebrating an occasion, that’s when you’d have to think about the tone of the event. Will it be a small, intimate event where everybody sits down at once? Or will you have people mingling and grazing?
You might pull out the good dishes and glassware for either group, but if it’s a mix-and-mingle type of shindig, you would need to accommodate people in different parts of the house. For instance, having snack stations here and there throughout the rooms as opposed to a sit-down event where everybody has a place they’re glued to.
Mismatched Décor And Other Dinner Party Conundrums
If you’ve got décor that doesn’t necessarily match the theme of the party, or if you don’t have enough furniture for everybody you’ve invited, what then?
While most people aren’t too concerned about everything matching, if you do want everything to match, it’s an easy task to rent chairs, plates, glassware, and so on. It really depends on how fancy or formal you want to be.
Rentals also have other benefits in that you don’t have to wash anything afterward – you just pack everything back up in the crates, and that’s that. Also, you won’t have to worry about having enough glasses, cutlery, and so on, because if you know how many people you’re expecting, you can prepare in advance.
Indoor/Outdoor Party Tips
If you’re planning an indoor/outdoor party, there are a few things to be aware of before you start planning.
First, be aware of the weather and the wind. You don’t want tablecloths or other items to go flying when a big gust comes through. Check the weather—and keep checking it to make sure you plan accordingly.
Also, beware of mosquitoes and other insects. Wasp traps are essential, especially in late summer when they are most aggressive. Mosquitoes tend to come out just before the sun goes down, so plan to be able to come inside until they subside or lay in a good supply of repellant.
If you’re going to be eating and drinking outside, you probably won’t want to use your best glassware or china. Anything that might break or blow over shouldn’t be in harm’s way.
If you simply must have what you must have, set your tables on the grass so that if anything blows over, it won’t break.
Outdoor lighting is also important, especially if your party runs into the evening. Whether it’s string lights over a patio, candles, or lanterns, light up the night. Depending on how chilly you expect it to be, you might also want to rent an outdoor propane heater to keep everybody comfortable.
Party season is just about every season in St. Louis, but the warmer weather always gives us something to celebrate. If you are looking for more party design tips or if you have some of your own you’d like to share, drop us a line and let’s talk about it!