A beautifully decorated table takes a regular dinner from ordinary to extra ordinary, right! We splurge or wait to splurge (like me) on our dinnerware, glassware, table linen and even cutlery just to make dining special for friends and family - especially on festive occasions.
In my case, our temporary, non immigrant situation still prevails and for that reason I am yet to get me some classy dinnerware and tableware, and my cooking situation is not that special either, so I always device plans to have a pretty something on my dining table that would take any attention to those things away and far away.
How do we do that now? A pretty centerpiece is always the best solution. That way your family and your guests feel happy, relaxed and special even with not-so-special 'other things' on the table. A nice view, some great conversation, laughter in the air and great wine (Do we need that?) - All you need for a memorable evening.
As part of a feature for the November edition of my magazine - Malayali, I had created 3 tablescapes rather centerpieces that are simple, organic yet budget friendly. I say budget friendly because I know for a fact that if you don't have a great flower garden, having fresh flowers is a bit expensive. My approach here was to get smallest possible bouquet (mine was $3 from Trader Joe's- they have amazing selection at lowest cost, yet lasting for at least 2-3 weeks) and combine it with with some from neighbors and friend's homes. I may or may not have stolen one or two from our community garden. In autumn, branches and leaves will go a long way for the variety of colors.
Just to add a twist, I switched traditional vase for a cabbage (it tastes as yummy as it looks). Only thing to do there is to carve out the center to fit in a small glass. Then I placed the glass inside and filled water half way through.
If you have just one variety of flowers, then it is a no brainer - use some flower tape, regular tape will work too in grids and fill up the outer ones first and work towards the center. Make the stems longer as you go inwards creating a nice curve. If you have a varied selection of flowers and leaves, then you have to be mindful how those colors work together. I arranged my bigger pieces first, some single and some grouped, and threw in the green leaves to break the monotony of colors.
One thing not to forget is to have a few candles to light up. The warm glow of a candle makes any setting delicious.
There are 2 more simple settings, which I will share in the days to come. I must thank my friend Priyaroopan for the beautiful pictures.
So what do you think? What are your tricks and tips to make dinners special?
P.S : These were originally conceived and created for Fall Issue of Malayali - Find the details here.