For the French Dinner which was inspired by our recent trip to the City of Light, I chose to create a graphic modern table décor with autumnal floral arrangements and fruits. The French prefer graceful simplicity and almost minimalistic décor. They seem to practice understated elegance in everything they do; including the way they dress, entertain, and host parties at home. I call it having sense of “fashionable restraint.” French have invented the art of table serving and I kept my tablescape consistent with what I observed during our Parisian experience.
I’ve always associated autumn with coziness, warmth, beautiful early sunsets and gorgeous foliage in Central Park. In keeping with the palette of the season I festooned the table with calm, earnest pastel colors with a pop of yellow which is reminiscent of the foliage. What can be more enjoyable than sitting at a table full of good company sharing a delicious meal while surrounded by warm ambience? Here is how I did it.
Stock your cupboard with few simple tablecloths and runners of various hues in styles and quality that will endure over time. Good tablecloth or runner always serves as a foundation when building your table décor. One or the other helps to make the transition from season to season or play off a particular theme, mood or food you prepare.
I used a subtle, almost pastel-colored linen tablecloth as the foundation which I overlaid with gray, taupe and white with a pop of sunny yellow-striped placemats. The fringe on the placemats adds to the stylish casualness and relaxed feel of the setting. I illuminated the table with amber-colored glass votives and statement-making modern candleholders in artisan-crafted gray marble which looked chic and trendy. I used a different shade of yellow for the napkins and simple thin jewel-incrusted napkin holders, a gift from my God mother.
As much as I like seeing the color of wine in a clear wine glass I couldn’t resist the temptation of using more colorful glassware for this setting. The combination of smoky gray wine glasses with clear stems and amber, old-fashioned water glasses provided perfect accent to this otherwise monochromatic table.
And remember that the key to success of your party is a relaxed host/hostess. Start planning ahead of time, keep a check list going and divide the shopping responsibilities for groceries, wine and household items among your family. Set up your table the night before which will reduce the stress of time management on the day of the event. Purchase your wines a week in advance, they won’t go bad, I promise:). In addition, I always found that an occasional consultation with a professional sommelier could be helpful and result in further stress reduction even if you are an oenophile and a gourmand. Sometimes two heads are just better than one when trying to find that perfect wine match for your dinner!
Have you hosted dinners inspired by your trips? Share with me in the Comment’s section.