Gauzy napkins, crisp ceramics, floating petals, Himalayan sea salt… we could go on all day with praise for this beautiful tablescape! The way the colors + textures work together create visual dimension that leaves us feeling like we’re on Cloud 9. The art of styling is just that – an art. The best designs are those with intention. The ones that tell a story and leave you wanting more. That’s why today we’re hearing from Utah-based designer, La Fête Floral & Design, who is sharing 4 simple ways you can elevate your next intimate gathering!
This fine art film photography from Lindsey Stewart Photography evokes a sense of modest splendor in the contemporary color palette and motion of blooms.
From the stylist, Allison of La Fête Floral & Design : I believe that a beautifully set table can make the food taste even better! Setting an unforgettable table goes beyond just adding flowers and candles. The table is the first thing your guests see before sitting down to enjoy a meal together, so you want it to be inviting and special. The tablescape sets the tone for your event. Setting unforgettable table settings for events is part of my everyday job, but I believe that knowing how to set a wonderful table is an essential skill for everyone to have, and it should be simple and not overwhelming for the host. You want your guests to leave feeling like they were treated specially because you took the time to create something extraordinary for them, but at the same time not exhaust you by creating it. Following these simple design elements can change the way you plan your next formal dinner party or a simple brunch with your favorite friends.
I always start with one memorable element or idea that is personal and has meaning; something that sets the theme. Then, I weave this element into the design in different ways with simple touches throughout the table setting itself to help it flow. Whether it is a spring brunch and you are inspired by the lush springtime blooms, or a formal dinner in the middle of winter and you are inspired by the snow-capped mountains. Once you have this guiding element, you can then incorporate it into your table setting. In creating this guiding element, you basically have also created a color palette – Voila! Using this way of creating a theme is so much better than looking all over Pinterest or Instagram for something someone else has already created – this way you are creating something unique and different rather than copying something you’ve seen. I am not saying don’t use Pinterest at all – I will use Pinterest for guidance after I have my theme for guidance or inspiration – but I never copy exactly, or this will not make it yours, and I promise your guests will notice. Always come back to this guiding theme when making decisions such as flowers or linen, and even the menu.
2. The Setting
I feel like the venue or setting is extremely important to creating a table. Whether it is your backyard or an intimate living room setting, there are colors and elements to consider that might clash with your initial theme. It is so important to consider your surroundings and incorporate what will complement rather than detract from your setting. If your walls are white, and you don’t have competing design, then you are lucky. But in most situations, this is not the case. I often go into a venue that is not a blank slate. For instance, it might have blue walls, and the client wants an all pink event. Naturally, I would suggest adding in subtle elements in soft shades of gray or dusty blue to the event that would complement the surroundings. Or, if it is a modern minimalist home, it might be nice to add some organic elements. However, you would not create a rustic theme in a modern home because it would not be pleasing and welcoming to the eye. It is all about balance and working with what you have as a guide.
I live by the rule that less is truly more. There is a fine balance between just right and overdone in any setting. Your guests don’t want to be visually assaulted when they approach a table, so to speak. A table becomes uninviting when it becomes too crowded and overdone. Balance of modern and classic elements is essential to creating an inviting table. For instance, if you have a large colorful centerpiece, then balance it with simple elements in your place setting. If you have a formal dinner with multiple plates and glasses, keep other elements simple and classic, such as tall taper candles in simple holders with vines on the table. It is visually pleasing to use a mix of modern and classical elements, and it makes your table setting timeless and unique. For instance, use a modern plate and special antique silverware. Or use a cut crystal goblet with modern clean flatware. Don’t be afraid to experiment or mix styles — It makes the table setting unique and appealing and adds a level of comfort as well. If you don’t own something already, browse eBay or your local antique store for something timeless and unique such as little salt cellars or antique mismatched flatware. I am always scouring places to find that special something to add a special charm.
4. Special Touch
Finally, I believe that adding not only organic touches, but also something surprising is extremely important to any table and makes it automatically a special event. Adding flowers and candles is the most important organic element to the start of any table, but don’t just stop there! If you add a unique touch to your table, it lets your guests know you took the time to make them feel special. Whether it is those little salt cellars you found on eBay with special gourmet salts found at your local farmers market, or a little sprig of lavender set on each plate, they will know you took the time to add a special touch. Keeping your main theme as a guiding element, you can come up with an unexpected added surprise that will make your guests leave feeling like they had an incredible and unforgettable experience.
Allison Baddley is the owner of La Fête Floral & Design, specializing in floral, planning and event design. Her style is unique because of her expertise and experience of balance in design. She learned from her time living in Paris, France that there is an art to creating a space that is beautiful and inviting, using a mix of timeless elements mixed with a modern touch. It is important that her events are alluring and jaw dropping without being overly fussy.