Monday, May 19, 2008

Party-Time Tuesday: Setting the table

It's Party-Time Tuesday! Welcome to my third installment in the series. How do you decide whether or not to use paper plates or ceramic ones? Casual or formal? I usually start by answering these three questions:

1. What's my total budget? And what are my priorities with that budget?

2. How many people am I expecting?

3. How formal/casual do I want the event to be?

With smaller, intimate events, I generally go with real plates. Once I start inviting 12 or more, I generally go with paper plates. (I'm not talking weddings here - those are their own animal - I'm talking about any other kind of party.) Either way, plates can function as accessories to your theme, or even as the whole inspiration for the theme.

Ever wondered how many forks you're really supposed to have? And what do you use them all for, anyway? Well, it depends on the kind of event you're hosting. Sarah at Toast and Tables wrote a wonderful post on the proper way to set a table - for everything from a casual lunch to a formal dinner party. She even included "maps" that show you exactly where you should place each her post here for a quick education.

More resources: check out Martha's Party Planning Guide

Image 1: Crate and Barrel Orchid Dinnerware

Images 2 & 3: my (tiny) inspiration boards from

Image 3: Toast and Tables blog


  1. Love the "map" of where everything goes! I admit the majority of my parties involve a big basket-caddy full of "grab your own" silverware on the kitchen island, so it's been awhile since I had to remember where everything goes in a proper setting.

    I'm enjoying this series! -Julia

  2. FUN - thanks for the layout - I always feel clueless about that!

  3. Great tips, Courtney! Always helpful to refresh our memories, I seem to forget where things go everytime I need this info!

    Happy day,


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