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Tricks of the Trade: Dinner Event Basics

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First impressions are everything. The impact of a well-appointed dinner venue, especially when recognizing accomplishments, should not be discounted; it sends the message, “We think you’re special; we care enough to create a pleasing environment.” Implementing the following design basics achieves a quality dinner setting.

Repeat colors.  Choose a primary and supporting color and replicate in linens, seat cushions, flowers and menu.  Take your cue from the room.  If lighting is low and/or there are many tables, ignore the carpet.  Conversely, consider flooring when in a well-lighted location, where carpeting clearly makes a statement.

Select seating that makes a difference.  Renting chairs carries expense, but few elements deliver more impact than well-chosen seats.  A proper chair immediately changes the look and defines theme.  Remember, chairs should only “kiss” linens; tablecloths should hang unobstructed.

Fill the void.  Consider the ceiling height.  Lots of tables with low centerpieces under a high ceiling read like a flat sea.  To counter, raise table décor or “lower” the ceiling by suspending lighting or decorative elements.  To avoid interrupting sightlines, a pedestal, vase or stand that elevates candles or florals should be no less than 18-inches above tabletop.

Set the mood.   Just as proper lighting in your home showcases features and determines atmosphere, so too does appropriate illumination of an event.  Candlelight creates intimacy and warmth.  Pin spotting is effective for making tables pop or an undesirable perimeter disappear.  Votive candles add sparkle to glassware.  Play with house lighting, adjusting downlights, chandeliers and sconces.

Don’t forget the jewelry.  Chargers, napkin rings and well-chosen or dressed favors are the jewels of the table, finishing a look and adding a touch of sophistication and elegance.

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