How To Arrange a Tablescape

Lottie Fowler, owner of the local wedding planning and design boutique Grit + Gold, designed a rustic holiday tablescape for party-planning inspiration and shared her top tips for creating a flawless table at home.

Are flowers a must for every tablescape? I really don’t think you necessarily have to have floral if it’s a holiday party. I personally like tons of candles to make a bold statement, so it’s kind of either/or. You can also nix candles for lots of flowers.

How formal should you go with flatware? I think the flatware depends on family and tradition. We are really traditional in our family, so we do a full setting. Bread and butter plate, bread knife. I love a full setting.

If you plan on assigned seating, where should you place guests? If you’re hosting a party where people don’t know each other, it’s nice to purposely intermingle them so that they have forced conversation and create new relationships.

Where do you shop for decor for your tablescapes? I love World Market for dinnerware, and now Fort Worth has a West Elm. That’s awesome. I kind of pick and choose what I want from each place so that I have a really unique table


Step 1. Start with fabric. Make that decision upfront. Steam it if necessary and then lay it out on the table.
Step 2. Next, start on the outside and work toward the center to allow for space. Choose plates. This will help you judge how big floral needs to be. 
Step 3. Set napkins on top of plates.
Step 4. Set flatware.
Step 5. Now, it’s time for candles.
Step 6. Place floral.
Step 7. Place glassware. If you’re forgoing flowers, that allows enough space for a full glassware setting.
Step 8. Place escort cards.

“I always pair expensive items with inexpensive items to give it a more organic look. On top is a really expensive silk and willow runner, but underneath is a cheap muslin material from Hobby Lobby. Take a really expensive salad plate on top of a basic dinner plate.”

“Napkins can look a variety of ways. You can do a waterfall that goes over the edge of the table. This one I call a ‘modern fold.’ ”

“I like natural elements. I’m never going to be designing with everything that’s over the top. Just add touches of high-end products.”

“I’m a huge fan of escort cards even if it’s just family. Everybody likes to have their place. It makes them feel special.”

“I love tapers. They’re really popular right now, and it’s kind of a throwback look that a lot of people used to use back in the day.”