As fall settles in, seasonality plays its part across all aspects of entertaining. Pumpkin, cranberry and other in-season ingredients make their way into your meals, but when it comes to putting together tablescapes, arranging a bunch of gourds or getting too literal with brown-and-orange centerpieces can bring down the wow factor of your party.
We spoke with Stefanie DeSalvo, lead wedding and event designer for Wick's Florist in Long Island. As the brains and eyes behind high-profile events across New York, DeSalvo shared some tricks of the trade on how to upgrade your fall or holiday dinner decor, ditching the cliche and ensuring elegance.
Here are some of her ways to take your fall and winter tablescapes to the next level:
Find Your Anchor
Every tablescape needs something that unifies the look and ties all of its components together. "You can use either an antique mirror, a silk scarf, a nicely textured table runner, a beautiful silver tray handed down by your family," DeSalvo advises. The flowers and other items you use as the decor are important, but just like building a house or a good stew, it's all about putting together the right foundation.
Incorporate Your Collectibles
"Most of the time you can use the tablescapes to show off your collectibles -- right now mercury glass is very popular. You can show off your collection of glazed pottery, lanterns and you can also fill it in always with varying heights of candles," DeSalvo says. So, the next time you're thinking you need to run to a store to buy new items for a table theme, take a look around and see if your favorite things you already have can work.
Use the Odds
In almost all things visual, odd numbers are the way to go, whether it's olives in a martini or candles on your table. "We recommend three assorted height items surrounded by four lower height items. You want to do odd numbers because it looks more organic," DeSalvo said.
Rather than having a single centerpiece or tablescape in the center of the table, create individual ones for each guest. "You can use small glass cylinder vases lined down the length of the table or in front of each plate, and your guests can take them home," DeSalvo told us. This also gives you the chance to personalize each vase with something that person's favorite flower, or use it as an anchor for seating place cards.
With Color, Don't Be Too Literal
Going all out with orange and brown or cranberry might seem like an easy option, but DeSalvo warns that look can often feel "a little too harvest-y." Instead, she says "go with peaches, ivory, greys,, and you can do all white with mercury glass and touches of fall sticks, which will add the brown. All white with brown accents will still look very seasonal, but also very elegant and upscale without being token."