So, you’ve invited the friends/parents/in-laws (insert invite-able group here) around for a swanky dinner party, how lovely of you. However, if you have recently moved home or are new to the prospect of hosting then you may not be well rehearsed with dinner party table decoration ideas. Fear not, when it comes to dinner party etiquette the table decoration ideas should demand the least amount of fear.
A Quick Guide to Dinner Party EtiquetteIf you’re hoping to wow your guests with your classy demeanour then it’s best that you brush up on your dinner party etiquette. While Emily Post’s Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, published in 1922 might be a little out-of-date, there are a few timeless rules that both those hosting and those attending should abide by.
- Do not arrive early. There’s no reason to be early, walk around the block or pick up some fresh flowers if need be.
- Do not bring someone without asking. It’s likely that your host has only supplied enough food and set the table for the invited amount of people. A good host will say that it’s okay – it’s not – they’re lying.
- Do not turn up empty– Your host/friend has cleaned and opened their home to you and slaved all day cooking and preparing a nice meal, the least you can do is bring a bottle of wine.
- Do not use your phone at the table. Having a mobile is a non-negotiable these days but that doesn’t mean that you have to use it every second of the day.
- Plan a well-balanced meal. Try to cook things that you’ve prepared successfully before. Make sure not to serve heavy, sweet or spicy dishes back-to-back. Balance rich dishes with simple ones and pick your flavours and ingredients by the season (pies and roasts in winter, fish in spring, salads and fresh vegetables in summer).
- Always offer pre-dinner drinks and canapes. Also known as hors-d’oeuvres, these should complement the flavours in your dinner menu. During this period your guests should have time for at least two drinks to feel welcomed, comfortable and allow time for any late-comers.
- The guest of honour should sit to the right of the host. They should also be served each dish first, serving counter-clockwise thereafter. Plates are served from the guests’ left side and removed, if possible, from the right.
30 Dinner Party Table Decoration Ideas
It is a dinner party after all, so after cleaning your home top to bottom you should consider some dinner party table decoration ideas. If you’re stuck for inspiration, then read on!
Rustic Table Runner:A simple, rustic table runner will allow other decorations (and even the food and wine) to take centre stage.
Decadent Table Runner:
Dinner parties are a leftover thought of a more decadent time, so why not remind your guests of how the height of society would dine with a glorious satin table runner for the occasion?
DIY Table Runner:Don’t want to splash the cash? Then don’t! This cute runner is made from simply overlaying different paper doilies– affix them with a touch of glue, a stapler or (if time allows) a couple of white cross-stitches. Find out what else paper dollies are good for here.
Rustic Place Name:Simple and easy, this rustic idea is very on-trend for “bringing the outside in” and will pair perfectly with any other flowers or foliage that you have on display.
Decadent Place Name:If you’re celebrating an occasion, then having Place Names made that can double up as keepsakes are a cracking dinner party decoration idea!
DIY Place Name:A cheap alternative is to print funny photos of your guests, glue them to toothpick and stick it into a cork. Easy, fun and basically free!
Rustic Place Mats:When choosing decorations the most important thing to consider is showcasing your personality. Try to think outside the box. These natural wooden placemats are a great no-fuss yet a unique option.
Decadent Place Mats:
Placemats aren’t just for Christmas dinner parties; why not use it as an opportunity to invest in a high-class piece of home décor for all future special occasions?
DIY Place Mats:Working with a budget? Then make-do with what you can! Open books will make a really interesting placemat – just make sure to cover it with a larger plate for protection. Oh, and maybe don’t serve any stews! Head to your local charity shop and pick up some cheap books if you don’t want to risk your favourite reads.
Rustic doesn’t have to mean basic, it just means made from and/or championing natural materials or origins. These Agate crystal, silver edged coasters are the perfect example of luxurious rustic charm. They’re sure to get noticed!
Decadence does not need to cost the earth and these Geometric and Brass coasters are the perfect example.
DIY Coasters:Want to impress with your DIY, arts and crafts skill? Making coasters is an easy and fun way to get creative on a budget. This tutorial takes you through how to make a set of unique coasters from cork and leather.
Rustic Centrepieces:A lump of a log; all it needs is a good sanding and a lick of varnish!
Decadent Centrepieces:A bouquet of flowers anyone? When it comes to dinner party table decoration ideas this one is straightforward but really can’t be beaten. Steer clear of “normal” blooms and opt for unusual and highly fragranced bouquets instead (think lavender and eucalyptus).
DIY Centrepieces:Spending a tonne on a centrepiece that’s only going to be used once doesn’t make much sense. So, if you’re looking for DIY dinner party decoration ideas then this should top your list. This options just requires a washed out jam far, twine and a few sprigs of thyme.
Sometimes less is more and if you’re wanting to wow guests with your hosting and culinary prowess then a stripped back napkin will do the job.
Decadent Napkins:Are you thinking of hosting on a regular basis? Then you should definitely treat yourself to a set of personalised napkins that are embroidered with your initials, just in case the guests forget who the hostess with the mostess is. Duh.
DIY Napkins:Thinking of hosting regularly but still want to keep it real? Then handmade napkins will be a wonderfully personal touch. Have a stamp made and use it to brand a set of napkins with fabric paint ahead of your meal!
Rustic Napkin Rings:All you need is twine. That’s it.
Decadent Napkin Rings:
rab yourself a pair of vintage, silver plated napkin holders for a truly luxurious addition to your dinner party table decoration ideas!
DIY Napkin Rings:Napkin rings? Why are you dropping top dollar on these if you can’t afford it? Just grab some cheap gold wire from a craft shop and a borrow a plastic tube to use as a size guide.
Rustic Table Decorations:Candle lanterns aren’t just for gardens; when used on a dining these lanterns act as wonderfully decorative ornaments that will naturally play with the light given off by the candle flame thanks to the shape and materials.
Decadent Table Decorations:
An unmissable centrepiece this candlestick bottle-top is designed to fit any bottle; whether you slide it into a recently emptied bottle or into one that has significant meaning it’s sure to get tongues wagging.
DIY Table Decorations:Looking to make a big impact visually but not financially? This is one of our favourite dinner party table decoration ideas, simply pop a sprig or two of different herbs into an empty glass bottle, fill with water and top with a candle!
Rustic Food Servers:
Are you serving up food that needs to stay warm or ordering take out that’ll arrive in metal containers? This simple device only needs two tealights to keep your dishes bubbling away.
Decadent Food Servers:
No, no, we didn’t say cheese on a plate, we said cheese on a slate! A piece of slate for will be ideal for use as a swanky post-dinner cheese board.
DIY Food Servers:It’s always hard to know how much to dish up, knowing what people do and don’t like etc. One way to avoid any serving snafu is to allow guests to dish food themselves. Not sure how to protect your dining table? Just use your wooden chopping board – provided it’s been wiped down after use!
Wine Glass Decorations:
Rustic Wine Glass Decorations:
Often overlooked on the shopping list but never overlooked by guests. This little, personalised charm is ideal for use as a place setting and party favour.
Decadent Wine Glass Decorations:
Want to bring a little glamour to your wine glasses but without being gaudy? This set of subtly decorated glasses from Tesco are the perfect remedy.