I say dress it up as much as you can! Nobody has to know that you didn’t break the bank on the beverages you serve. Pour your favorite bottle of red or white into a simple glass decanter; not only will this bring out the aroma and flavor of the wine (or let it breathe, for you oenophiles out there) it looks elegant (and hides the fact that your bottle may be from the bargain basement).
When it comes to wedding receptions or dinner parties, color reigns. Provide glamour and depth to white china with a vibrant charger, the large plate that goes underneath the dinner plate. It’s a formal touch but one that’s guaranteed to make an impression. You can also give your color palette a kick with bright placemats; go ahead and use them over the tablecloth (I dare you)!
I always suggest to give traditional a twist and to have fun. Think place cards are positively passe? Think again. Place cards can make guests feel welcome and a special part of the evening at intimate and casual gatherings alike. But don’t stop there: Think about your napkins, too. I love the idea of folding napkins into squares and placing one at the center of each setting or between the salad and dinner plates. Consider using tree ornaments or even Mardi Gras beads as napkin rings. It’s the details that will keep guests gushing about your get-together all year long.