The dinner parties we throw tend to be a little more stand around and dance and a little less sit down and politic, but occasionally the mood (or the occasion strikes) to seat ten. That’s all we currently have room for.
There is something slightly old-fashioned about place-settings, but they also serve a rather well-intentioned purpose. Unless everyone at the table is in equal standing, the place setting helps facilitate interesting and at times rowdy conversation, forge friendships, and get folks just far enough out of their comfort zone that they engage in an unexpected manner.
One of the best places to look for creative place-settings is on wedding sites. They carry a lot of goods not found in your typical Pottery Born. For instance, take a peek at these bubble vase place holders that have room for blooms and a card.
However, when possible we like to take matters into our own hands. This time we took it from the clothesline to the table. The idea is really a two-in-one. A clothespin table setting will not only tell guests where to park, but will also encourage them to season their plates/drinks according to individual preference.
All you need:
A pack of Clothespins (you can pick these up from your local 99cent store)
Metallic pen (or any color that matches your setting theme)
Herbs/spices/etc. that fit with your chosen plate/drink
1. On each clothespin write your guests name. This is easier to do when the pins are flat.
2. Take the greener elements and clip them with the clothespin. Be careful not to crunch the leaves.
3. Arrange accordingly.
This craft works perfect for cocktails. If you are serving a drink that works well with mint (think strawberry smash) or rosemary (gin and grapefruit go swimmingly with a rosemary sprig and some sage), this gives guests the option to add or not a add.
Another example we can’t wait to test: Vietnamese Beef (or shrimp) Pho Herb & Spice Setting.
Guests can season their broth with:
Sprigs of spearmint (hung lui) and Asian/Thai basil (hung que)
Leaves of thorny cilantro (ngo gai)
Bean sprouts (about 1/2 pound)
Red hot chiles (such as Thai bird or dragon), thinly sliced
Not only are the settings great looking, but adding a bit of playfulness/peeking to see what your neighbor does is a great way to begin the evening with a sense of camaraderie. –Arianna Schioldager