There is something very special about creating a dining table that ‘wows’ your guests. Hearing ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ as your guests approach the table is really rewarding. Putting a little extra effort in before your guests arrive can create a lovely energy and vibe and your guests are sure to feel special because of the effort that you have made for them. Here are a few simple tips to ensure your table setting is a success.

1. Don’t overcrowd your table. It is great fun to set your table with gorgeous glassware, candles, flowers and an ornate centrepiece but remember to leave plenty of room on the table so that your guests don’t feel cramped and crowded.

2. If you are planning on using platters to serve your meal make sure there is plenty of room for the platters or serving dishes to fit on the table. Alternatively set a separate table for the food from which guests can serve themselves buffet style before sitting at the main table.

3. Make sure your decorations don’t block guests from view of one another, therefore inhibiting conversation. Tall flower arrangements and the like look amazing but make sure your guests can still see everyone else at the table clearly. Before your guests arrive sit at different seats around the table to make sure no-one is blocked from view. If you really want that tall vase of flowers go for a really tall vase that sits above everyone’s line of vision.

4. Don’t use scented candles or have any scented oils or similar near the dining table. What may smell wonderful to you could be overpowering to someone else and can overwhelm the taste of the meal.

5. Don’t play music too loud during dinner. Have a playlist that you can play during dinner that will provide a pleasant sound in the background and not be distracting or overwhelm any conversation. Everyone’s taste is different but ‘soft’ music is always good.

6. Indoors or outdoors if it is night time, lighting is everything. Lamps, candles, votives, lanterns, fairy lights and retro party lights create a beautiful sense of ambience and intimacy with your group. Choose a warm white light and make sure there won’t be light shining directly at any of your guests.

7. Use comfortable chairs. This point may seem obvious but it is so important to make sure your guests are comfortable and enjoy spending time at your dining table. If it is possible it’s nice to have cushions or chair pads handy to offer your guests if they need them.

8. Don’t use a tablecloth that is too long. A long tablecloth does look beautiful and elegant but ensure it is not so long that your guest’s legs and chair legs end up getting caught on the cloth and pulling it (and everything on it) towards the edge of the table.

9. Make sure you have all of the extras you may need on your table before you sit down – water, utensils, condiments etc - this will save you getting up and down over and over during the meal and missing out on all the fun.

10. Some people like to use placecards even for a smaller gathering, it is entirely a personal choice but good guest placement really can encourage lively conversations and hopefully avoid having guests who may not have much in common sitting face to face and feeling awkward.

Finally, once the organization is done sit and enjoy the company of your guests – after all, enjoying one another’s company and treasuring time together is the most important thing.

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