As the More is More Mom® I am a huge fan of grand, sweeping entrances. Part of the fantasy of entertaining is setting the stage for a big show……. and the bigger the better!
This Memorial Day I set up a gorgeous buffet to greet my guests.
Whether decorating my home, accessorizing an outfit or entertaining, I’m all about making a statement. Selecting a few key pieces quickly sets the tone for your event, suggesting to your guests that a memorable evening is in store.
Paying attention to all of the little details goes a very long way in striking a remarkable balance. Always a sucker for texture and fabric, I typically start with a table covering. Memorial Day is all about Americana, and what is more classic than a red and white checked table cloth (other than perhaps, an American quilt?)?
I always anchor my table setting, or buffet, with a stand out, style defining piece (or pair, or however many I can get my hands on. As the More is More Mom® you must know I am always on the look out for interesting treasures with potential.). I found these two amazing, and enormous, iron lanterns at Pier One (they stand nearly three feet tall!). Aren’t they awesome!?! These are actually very good investment pieces, because a simple, clean lined lantern is an item that will lend it self to many other themes and events. They would be lovely illuminating your front porch; offering a soft glow on a warm summer night on your deck; they would be super fun for displaying decorative floral arrangements in your home, on your dining table as a pair, or on a hall chest alone; it would be so creepy-cool to stretch cobwebs from the top, across the front, while featuring a giant rat or vulture inside for Halloween; and they would be festive with giant ornaments tied with gorgeous ribbon around the handle for a Christmas celebration. So you see, these lanterns were actually a bargain when you consider their cost per use. Pier One is actually, almost paying me to use them.
One giant lantern set near each end of the island (like bookends) certainly makes a statement. For a centerpiece I selected a pot of white Mums and placed them inside a rustic, red iron urn that I nearly sold in my garage dale this past fall. I knew I kept it for a reason! With my key items in place, it was time to fill in with some more personality.
I found these fantastic galvanized, two tier stands and knew they would be perfect for a myriad of reasons. Great for a patriotic holiday, a rustic garden party, a happy Harvest season…..again the purposes are only limited by my imagination. I place them on either side of my centerpiece. They are great because the scale of the stands hold their own against the large lanterns and urn, but not just vertically. The tiers allow for varied interest in a horizontal fashion as well, and they’re practical. One contained apples and sliced watermelon, and the other was the perfect place to showcase my baked goods.
For this particular buffet display I have included a place for all of my culinary offerings. The galvanized, tiered stands showcased my desserts. On the left side of my island I featured my little snicky-snacks to get the party started. The menu I created was hearty, so the appetizers were really just simple fare meant to tide my guests over until the main course. Rather than creating a flat, one dimensional, presentation, I find it more pleasing to use varying heights for more dimensions. One platter rests directly on the surface, another is served in a pedestal dish and the third is shown on a slightly taller cake plate.
Please note that it is critical that all serving pieces cooperate in emphasizing your theme. Each piece selected should serve an aesthetic (and practical) function. There should be a commonality; color, shape or decorative element.
My main course also happens to consist of three items (I love balance and symmetry, but not necessarily complete equality. Sometimes I am a rebel and like to mix it up a bit.). Again, for the sake of interest and dimension my chicken dish is served on a platter that rest directly on the table. My salad gives the appearance of sitting at a higher level because the rim of the bowl splays outward and upward. My potato dish rests on another cake plate (as a hoarder, I recommend that you collect as many pedestal’s as possible. They are beautiful to look at and are very useful in creating height and interest.). I paired fruit kabobs with my dinner menu, and rather than stack them on a boring platter, I stood them straight up on end in short, glass hurricanes with a cobalt blue rim. Totally festive!
While my table is set beautifully for a sit down meal, my guests still need a plate and napkins for nibbling before dinner and dessert. Today, to balance out the mirror image of my design, I have placed my blue and white Spode appetizer plates in two equal stacks lined up in front of my arrangement of white Mums. While I think cloth napkins are to die for while dining, I am completely practical when it comes to beverage, appetizer and dessert napkins. Paper…there is no substitute. However, I pronounce that with a caveat: paper napkins must, at the very least, re-enforce your theme. Here I have selected a red with white stars pattern. Very patriotic!
To emphasize my theme, and pull it all together, I have chosen one very sweet element that screams charm………a little lady, sporting an American flag, which stands atop the Liberty Bell exclaiming, “Let Freedom Ring.” Here’s to that! God Bless America!