By now you know that I love a pretty table, especially one adorned with lots of flowers and candles. I thought it might be a fun change of pace to talk about how I think about setting the table, and at the bottom, there’s a video of the entire process of getting ready for the evening with friends.
We were so lucky to be able to pick up fresh flowers and produce from the market in St. Tropez on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Peonies were in full swing, which is such a treat. I visit the wholesale florist a lot at home in Charleston but there’s nothing quite like walking into a bustling market. I kept the arrangements very simple (and usually do so). I had some left over chicken wire which I curled up and submerged in the vessels. Chicken wire is a great trick to support each stem (especially as the vase is shallow here and the peony is top-heavy), and to allow space between each flowerhead, thereby using less per-arrangement and also enabling them to stay still! These peonies were this open the day that I bought them and still lasted nearly a week — miraculous! I ended up putting the lavender in the bathrooms rather than on the table. I don’t love to use too many strong scents when setting the table.
I rarely place a napkin on top of a plate in day to day practice but these puppies are so enormous and the monogram suits this fold. These napkins are vintage French linens which have been hand dyed in this amazing French blue… they make my heart sing! The tablecloth is the same, and is a slightly different shade but the thick weight of the linen is so beautiful and it was a pleasure setting the table with them on top of these Chinese plates which I picked up at the brocante. Now to the arrangement of the fork, knife and spoon. Typically I place my spoon outside the knife, even if it’s for dessert but we had English guests and this is how they do it… makes sense as it’s the last to be used!
I love transferring all the drinks (water, wine) that we’re bringing to the table into glass carafes — simple, pretty and an instant upgrade. It’s also helpful if you’re like us and you’re drinking rosé from the box…which is far more normal in France… 🙂
These etched glasses are a favorite, sadly they’re not available anymore but I absolutely love this set and have it at home (in full).
I try to stagger plates/flowers so that the flowers never block a view. I would prefer candlelight in front of each place vs. flowers as it’s more flattering. I try to be aware of the view, and try to think about the table from the guest’s perspective.
Now to getting dressed up for dinner, and to an onslaught of photographs of this dress! I wore a dress and sweater to dinner most nights, and always changed out of my clothes from the day. Some nights were more casual and I particularly love how this one (and it comes in blue, too) can dress up or down and still feels feminine and comfortable. It also breathes so well in the heat. And, cheers to these earrings which I wore a million times….!
See the video below !! XX