Food and family go together like bread and butter. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to find time to eat together as a family during the day. Husbands and wives with opposing schedules and kids with an infinite number of after school activities make it feel like it’s almost impossible.

Eventually, special events and festivities lead us back to sitting down and enjoying a good family meal... together. To make the best of these super special moments while taking advantage of the time in-between, there are two key things one must consider.

One, plan ahead, and two,  allow your family and friends to help you fulfill your vision of the perfect feast!


Have a vision: Having a concept for what’d like your table setting to look like will help you fulfill your vision better. This is the part that takes longer, but it’s not difficult. The same way you would plan your dinner menu around sessional fruits and vegetables; do to the same when composing your table. Autumn is here, so use the outdoors for inspiration. Colors like red, orange and yellow used in a table runner are sure to look stunning and would complement your setting. Use elements like leaves and pinecones around your center piece to add texture and dimension to the tables cape (be sure they are unscented to avoid competing and distorting the flavors of your gorgeous spread).  And finally, decide whether you want a formal or an informal style dinner, this will certainly affect the flow of your gathering.

(photo courtesy of

Less is more: Beautiful table settings are usually understated. There’s no need to fuss and go overboard choosing 5 different plates or 10 different folks.  For a sit down occasion, you only need three of each thing; a plate for the first course (soup, salad etc.), the main course plate and a desert plate.  I recommend the desert plates and silverware not be placed on the table until you’re ready to serve them, being that this can really crowd the table.

Accent colors? One or two will do, and then repeat them throughout (in the napkins, flowers or placemats). As a rule of thumb, if you repeat anything three times in a room, it creates unity and visual balance. Your eye will smoothly scan the room triggering your brain to feel calm and make sense of what it’s seeing. The goal is for your family to spend quality time together.


Delegating Duties: Depending on how big your soiree is, you might be able to handle most of the cooking. But why try to do everything yourself?  Share some of the duties with family members. People feel good when they contribute for a dinner party and it truly makes it a family effort.

Do it together: Once you finally have everything ready to go, invite your family to join you set the table. Dad can set the table runner; mom will take care of the center piece which is an essential part of the setting and kids can help by placing plates, flatware and napkins.

Always remember that “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”. Involving your loved ones in planning any special occasion will strengthen your family bond, as you enjoy each other’s company and learn more about each other.

author: Administrator

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