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Today I’m thrilled to share a conversation about tablescaping with my niece, Jessie Weaver. Music Man and I just spent a wonderful long weekend in Chattanooga visiting family, as well as doing some touring in Atlanta. I enjoyed helping Jessie prepare for a party, and afterwards, Jessie wrote this guest post about her experiences, entitling it “Tablescaping for Dummies.” I beg to differ. The blessing of creating a tablescape is that there are no wrong ways — or dumb ways — to do it. There is just YOUR way. And that’s what happened last weekend.
Jessie: When you are a self-confessed imbecile when it comes to home design, it’s a little intimidating to have your aunt, who blogs about tablescapes, come visit while you’re preparing to throw a dinner party. Really, though, it was a great blessing. The Expert went through my cabinets and drawers, helping me throw together a fantastic tablescape using only what I had.
Jennie: Jessie is a busy mom of three young children and had volunteered to host an engagement party for her sister and her fiancé. While I’m not really an expert at tablescaping, I was happy to help her pull together a setting for her party that could be accomplished with her existing tableware and would not add to her prep work. The only things she bought in advance were the daffodils.
Jessie: Here’s what I learned.
Jessie: I didn’t have more than eight of any placemat and was having a party for ten adults. Jennie chose these two styles of placemats that both had dark blue, and so I mixed them. I used a mix of navy and gray cloth napkins from my stash as well.
Jennie: Mixing and matching materials in the same colorways is a staple of tablescaping. According to the research I found while researching my Downton Abbey tablescape post, mixing china patterns was also considered a sign of one’s wealth and prosperity. Jessie had a lot of blue, grey, and brown in her stash which worked perfectly for her tablescape. The table in the conference room where she hosted the party was well-used, but offered the perfect background color for Jessie’s linens.
Jessie: My starting place was the burlap ribbon and daffodils. Jennie went nuts over the dough bowl I have, which accented the rustic burlap but had a hint of shine. The big wooden salad bowl also worked together with this theme. Golden delicious apples brought in more yellow.
Jennie: Jessie has beautiful formal china and flatware, which she used in this tablescape to play off the rustic elements of the dough bowl, burlap, and Ball jars holding the daffodils.
Jessie: Jennie reminded me to look for a color scheme (blue and yellow) and to incorporate shine, texture, rustic, and elegant aspects. For a Tablescaping Dummy, I think this party table turned out awesome! I am looking forward to going through my other linens and decor items to see what can go together for a lovely dining area.
Jennie: I enjoyed working with Jessie to create an easy, stress-free tablescape that she can recreate again and again. She chose daffodils as an homage to spring, but the same setting could be used with other flowers in other seasons. The apples in the dough bowl can also be replaced by decorative wicker balls or with Christmas ornaments. The elements of shine, texture, rustic, and elegance combined with a seasonal color are the hallmarks of an interesting tablescape.
Jessie Weaver is Jennie’s niece, and the mom of three adorable kids under age 6 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She invites you to come sit on her virtual couch and chat about the messy things of life. (@vanderbiltwife)