Tablescape Thursday…A Tea Party Before & After…

Oh my! It’s been a whirlwind around here this last week!

My Princess is settled in her new home and awaiting the return of her Prince! Being away for these few days and getting her moved has resulted in my not having had any time for blogging…or for visiting all the tablescapes from last week! I’m only about half way through…but, I am enjoying each lovely tablescape and will continue til I’ve visited everyone! I so enjoy seeing all the beautiful creations you talented ladies come up with!

My post this week is actually from a previous post but I thought I’d do a different take on it.
These pics (click on to enlarge) are from a Tea Event I did last spring. This is a special event I’ve designed and it is so popular with this group that they’ve made it an annual event! We’ll be doing our third one the end of April!

What I thought I’d do this time is show the before and after of the tablescape and offer you a few tips for creating a “WOW” factor tablescape for any event. Over and over I hear from clients and audiences that they are too intimidated to do a tablescape like this…what I’ve found is what they are really saying is that they aren’t sure how to do it or where to begin. Once I show them how, the light bulb goes off, they get excited and go home and do it!

I always start out by planning the menu, then I figure out how many serving pieces I’ll need. This helps me determine how much space I’ll need to set everything out. For this event (for approximately 25 people), all the food, the teacups and the plates and napkins were set out on the long dining room table. The teapots and sugar and milk were set up on the kitchen island, near the stove where the water for brewing the tea was kept nice and hot.
It’s important to create different heights on the table. I do this by using footed cake plates, tiered servers and sometimes by using glasses or chunky candlesticks under large plates. Sometimes in the center of the table I’ll use paint cans and bowls turned upside down, covered with a decorative cloth, to place the centerpiece and some of the platters on.

I find that layering a few different tablecloths of various textures and sizes adds a lot of interest, too.
I set all the pieces out ahead of time, with sticky notes on them stating what is going on that serving piece. I arrange and rearrange until everything fits. Then I tuck in little embellishments like fresh flowers and garlands, etc.

Layer by layer it takes shape…and that is key to having a table that is just “ok” and a table that is a “WOW” factor…the details and the layers. It does not have anything to do with how much it costs, but rather the thought that goes into pulling the layers and details together.

It is always helpful to have the food “labeled” in some way so that your guests know what they are about to feast on and in case there are any allergy issues. I usually do this with some sort of place card holders, which makes it quick and easy.

I also arrange the “flow” of the food to make sense…in this case it means placing the tea sandwiches, etc. after the plates, then after the main fare the dessert type items. This way as the guests go around the table they are selecting items in the order that they will most likely eat them.

You’ll want to be sure there are utensils for any condiment items and, when necessary, tongs, etc. for guests to use to place the food on their plates. I always include salt & pepper shakers, too.

Notice in this last pic the rose petals that are scattered, the roses that are placed in several small containers around the table…and a bud or two could even be placed on a few of the platters. When you use one item in abundance you create a feeling of lavishness that feels really special! And don’t we all want to feel really special?!

Now…that wasn’t so difficult, was it?!
For more inspiring and beautiful tablescapes go on over to Between Naps on the Porch, say hello to our lovely hostess, Susan, and then stop by the rest of the Tablescape Divas posts!

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