Because we’re in a state of “between parties” this month, Laurie and I have been chatting about party basics. While we both stress over the food and décor for a party, we also know our strong points. So, while I love to cook and invent recipes and find new ones, you could say Laurie loves it more.
Me? I love the décor part of it. I love setting the perfect table with my favorite porcelain and napkins. I love a beautiful centerpiece – now, don’t get me wrong, so does Laurie. But I will almost always figure out a party in a different order from the way Laurie does it.
We will both decide who we’re going to invite first, so we can rough out the menu, but I will be thinking about what china to use with which tablecloth long before I’ve actually designed my menu. I will contemplate what flowers are perfect for the season, whether or not I might be able to rob the garden or will have to go in search of fresh flowers.
If I’m on a budget (as I so often am), I look around my house to see what I can use for a centerpiece without going on an expensive floral quest. My Christmas dinner for 12 found me without flowers for a centerpiece (I ended up working way more hours than I had planned and didn’t have time to shop), but it became one of the loveliest tables I’ve ever assembled. With seven crystal candlesticks, a sparkly bead garland my aunt Mary had recently given me, some ornaments that we stole right off the tree and some glittery gold ting ting, the table made me very happy.
It’s not like those crystal candlesticks came in a boxed set. I picked them up here and there. They are different styles and heights, and that adds interest to the table. When you’re at a thrift store, look for individual candlesticks; same goes for the antiques stores or Ross or Marshalls. Make sure you always have enough matching or coordinating candles to go in them, though. It doesn’t take much more to dress up a table after you add the perfect light!