Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;... distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Romans 12:10-13
All of us have had opportunities to have guests over for dinner but, oftentimes we don't entertain or have home fellowship, even though we would like to, because our entertaining skills leave us feeling like failures in that area. Let's face it, the days of proper etiquette, formal table setting and June Cleaver are gone, so many ladies just don't know how to be the "hostess with the mostest"; however, this particular ladies meeting class and contest can cure them of that problem.
Choose a date and time to get the ladies together for a tablescape class and contest. This meeting should be held in the fellowship hall at your church where there are plenty of tables to use for demonstration and contest.
Note: If you yourself are not familiar with tablescaping, google the words "tablescapes, tablescaping" to learn more about it and to see sample photos. I also give links and information farther down in this post, so keep reading!
Ask each lady to bring her everyday dishes and perhaps "special dishes", glasses and silverware to this meeting. Also, have her bring any tableclothes, table runners, napkins and napkin rings she might have, and to bring things like candles, florals, greenery, hurricane vases and other things that can be used for centerpieces.
For the meeting, have your own items ready to demonstrate a tablescape or two. Explain as you go what tablescaping is and "how" to do it.
Then, group the ladies together in groups of two or three and assign each group a table (if your group is small, give each lady her own table). Using the skills you just taught them and the items they brought from home, have them "set" their table. They can mix, match and share dishes, centerpieces, etc. Once everyone is finished, the judging begins. You are the judge (you can choose someone else to help if you wish). You can set up different categories for the tables to be judged on, i.e., most creative, proper setting, most elegant, most rustic, best color scheme, etc.
Choose 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place winning tables, or perhaps (since you are the judge) each table can win a prize. Your choice. Give each lady at the winning tables a prize. Prizes can be anything even just a "blue" or "red" ribbon. You can buy ribbons at party supply stores, or make your own and the cost is minimal.
The most important thing is to have fun, learn something and make everyone feel like a winner!!!
TABLESCAPING, WHAT IS IT?...
Perhaps you are familiar with tablescaping, if so, you are ready to go, but if not, tablescaping is just a fancy word to say "setting a nice table". The definition of tablescape is..."an arrangement of items gathered into a grouping and placed on top of the table" http://beautyandbedlam.com/what-in-the-world-is-a-tablescape/ Now I know you might be thinking, how boring, but I can assure you that you will have the most fun you've had in a long time. Tablescaping is a way to allow your creative juices to flow and it doesn't have to cost anything.
If you are completely unfamiliar with tablescaping, just google the words "tablescape or tablescaping" to learn more and see photographs of many home and party tablescapes. (Click on the links below to see tablescapes from some of the most creative bloggers and tablescapers in the business).
The greatest thing about tablescaping is that the sky is the limit. Any type of dishes, glasses and eating utensils will work (even paper or plastic!). You don't have to have the finest china and silver to set a nice table, so anyone can do it using what they have from home. You can go as fancy or as simple as you like!
The only rule is, there are no rules. Presentation is key! You don't have to put the silverware in the "right place". Glasses don't have to be in the right position unless you want them to be. You just use your creativity and imagination to set a nice table. Anything goes!! Most tablescapes are done by theme, like the rooster theme in the table above, and the strawberry theme below.
Set your table according to the theme of your dishes. For example, the tablescape I put together below used palm tree dishes I found at a local thrift shop and things from around the house. I put together a tropical themed table and I had fun doing it. Not to mention, I was ready to have company for dinner.
White dishes go with any theme as do black dishes. Or, mix them together to get a black and white color scheme. Your centerpiece and color choices is what makes the biggest impact. Use organic materials in your centerpiece such as leaves, rocks and other outdoor materials or use faux greenery and florals, use real. Mix and match anything and everything. Again, anything goes!! The only thing you really need to do is define each place setting at your table, meaning that where there is a chair, there should be a plate, glass, silverware and napkin at that spot. Most regularly sized tables have 4 to 6 place settings.
For those who just want to know or need to know proper placement of dishes in a setting, see the chart below.
However, tablescapers seldom use proper placement of all these items. The main thing is that each place setting is defined. Napkins can be folded or put into rings. They can be placed under the silverware, to the side of the silverware, rolled up and tied with twine, folded accorion style and in half and placed inside the stemware (see photo below) or sandwiched between the dinner plate and the salad plate.
Silverware can be placed at the top of the plates, placed in a pocket that has been folded into the napkin, tied with raffia and placed on top of the plates. You can even put them inside the drinking glass. Glasses should almost always go to the top right hand side of the plate, but if you are brave, you can set them smack dab in the middle of your plate. With tablescaping you get to choose.