Cindy's Cool Corner: Tabletop Edition
Thanks for coming back to Cindy’s Cool Corner where our Director of Business discusses all things new and noteworthy in the event industry and beyond. Wedding season is upon us, so it is time to share some tabletop tips from an award-winning Los Angeles event pro, like herself.
Cindy here! It is so exciting to be planning weddings and events again, hosting tastings, and thinking about gathering together. With vaccinations steadily rolling out in California and counties loosening their event restrictions, I am excited to say that LOVE is officially in the air!
All this wedding chatter has made our tabletop tips top of mind. So, I wanted to outline our unique process with you! We will finally spill what our team at Good Gracious! looks for when decorating a table and planning a menu for these incredibly special occasions!
1. Important Real Estate
Event real estate encompasses style, location and season of the event. There are so many elements that go into design, so paying close attention to this will allow for us to create a vision board that is appropriate.
These three factors also dictate the menu, décor and timeline. For some events, there is a theme that will usher guests from arrival to dessert.
As far as the menu is concerned, we can tailor it to compliment any event, but we have one steadfast rule: Bread and butter is filler, and we do not recommend serving it in a formal dinner setting.
Choosing to forgo bread and butter makes for a more elegant dining experience that will keep your beautiful table setting clean and your pictures tidy. We promise your guests will not even miss it.
2. Mix Materials
A table looks the most effortless and design-forward when various complimentary colors and textures are brought into the mix.
For us, design starts with furniture pieces like the tables and chairs. Then we compliment them with pronounced elements like florals, linens, table signs, chargers, china, glassware, flatware, and assigned name plates.
Sometimes there is one element of a table that we work around, like a charger, that is the statement piece, as seen in the image below. All the elements of the table decor were influenced by those gorgeous multicolor chargers from BBJ Linen/La Tavola!
Mixing metals can provide a dramatic look. Providing height and depth with glass candle holders down the middle of the table, juxtaposed with other table décor or the table itself, can add drama, too, depending on the textures the table needs.
3. Compliment with Food
Once we have labored over the design, including florals, china, linen, and glassware rentals, only then do we advise clients to begin thinking about a menu.
At Good Gracious! we see food as an extension of art. Each dish must be well thought out to please your guests. We start by asking important questions: What is the experience you envision you and your guests would like to have? What memories and senses would you like to evoke? What produce is in season and what colors will compliment the table decor?
We get to know our clients and their palette through intimate questions like what restaurants they like to dine in, their favorite food items from hors d’oeuvres to desserts, and everything in between. It is also important to ask about dietary restrictions or allergies, which will certainly be part of the menu.
It is through the planning process, that our chefs can execute a tasting menu suited just for the occasion.
4. Details, Details, Details
When it comes to our last tabletop takeaway, it’s all in the details. We believe paying attention to detail is what sets us apart.
During planning calls, tastings, and walk-throughs, our team will take the time to figure out every detail of service. For example, will ladies be served first? Food served on the right side and plates picked up from the left side? Would you like table-side beverage service? When should the table be cleared?
Every detail lends itself to the experience the client wants for the event, and how their guests will feel afterwards.
Throughout the planning, we make sure to communicate and collaborate with our creative partners so that they, too, understand the expectations and what the final product should be.
It is all about the art of hospitality for us. If you are interested in Good Gracious! Events for your next event, ask us! We are here to please you!
At the end of the day, an event will be successful with a team of professional creative partners at your side. Plan ahead, have a vision, follow our top four tips to achieve tabletop perfection, and sit back and enjoy your event! These tips can help you for not just large-scale gatherings but for your at-home dinner parties, too.
Have another helpful tip? Leave it in the comments below. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts.