Tablesetting 101: Host to Perfection! - The Local Moms Network | TLMN
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This story was shared by our contributors Host to Perfection

The holidays are upon us and this year, more than ever, appreciate being together with your family and friends. So, whether you are hosting a casual or a formal dinner party, take the time to set a special and lovely table for your guests. People can feel a little intimidated, but there is no need. You should keep a few things in mind; but don’t get caught up with the rules because the most important thing is to set a table that reflects your style and personality. Also, don;t forget that the focus of the party is the gathering of your loved ones, and they will appreciate your effort.

Color Scheme
When planning your holiday tablescape, the first step is to determine the color scheme. There are a variety of color combinations that go well this time of the year. The most traditional one is red and green. If you want something cleaner, opt for silver and white. Silver and gold are your go-to colors for a table that will sparkle.  Red and gold create an elegant pair. Another great option is combining white, silver, with green accents.  By determining the color hues, you will be able to pick out your flowers, table linens, silverware, glassware, flatware, and accents.

Table Linens
Table linens are the foundation for your table decor and can transform your tablescape. You can keep it simple and use a solid color or experiment with a pattern. A white or ivory linen tablecloth goes well with any of the above color combinations. It’s neutral and matches nearly anything. A patterned tablecloth can look stunning and entirely dress up your table. However, keep in mind the other items’ colors and patterns as they should complement each other. If you want your table to show, select placemats. There are so many options available, from casual to more formal ones.

As for the napkins, you can keep them simple with neutral colors or add ones with hues that match the rest of your table decor. When selecting white or ivory napkins, we love to add festive touches to them. Place a  miniature wreath on top, add red berries or bows, and choose holiday napkins rings.

For formal dinner parties, it’s safer to keep the china uniform. However, feel free to mix and match your table setting for informal and casual parties. It gives personality to your table decor! If mixing patterns, be cautious about colors; they should complement each other. Add holiday-themed china for a more festive look! If using charger plates, place them first, followed by the dinner plate and salad one on top. Chargers plates are purely decorative. The butter-and-bread plate goes on the top left.

The water and wine glasses go to the top right of the plate and only set the ones that your guests will use. If you are not serving a white wine, then only place red wine glasses. The glassware should form a triangle. The water glass sits above the dinner knife, the white wine to the right and the red on top of them. Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles and colors. For the holidays, red or green water goblets paired with crystal wine glasses look so beautiful.

Set the silverware in the order of use, from the outside in. Forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right (knife blade facing the plate). If setting dessert utensils; they should always be placed horizontally above the plates (spoon on top and fork on the bottom). As far as color, we like to use silver at this time of the year; however, gold silverware looks pretty too.

Place Cards
Place cards are used to avoid confusion, and your guests will be more comfortable if they know where to sit the moment they approach the table. A well-thought-out seating plan keeps the table conversation upbeat and stimulating. You can order place cards from a variety of stationers, or you can make your own by cutting out rectangles from good card stock, approximately 3 ¼ by 2 inches. Write your guests’ first names on the place cards. If you have more than one guest with the same first name, include their first and last names on their cards. You can put them just above the dinner plate, above the dessert spoon and fork, on top or tucked into a fold on the napkin, or in a decorative place cardholder. Adding some seasonal touches to the place cards is a great way to bring Christmas cheer to the decor. Use your creativity!!

Holidays Accents
Make your table décor festive by adding small seasonal decorations such as small reindeer, Christmas trees, angels, or any item that matches your table décor.  Just be careful not to overdo it. If you select holiday-themed china, go easy on the holiday accents. Remember, less is more!!

Seasonal decorations are great substitutes for flowers. If styling a bouquet is not your thing, use seasonal accents as your centerpiece.