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Classy Dinner Presentations

Updated on February 10, 2019
PaulaK profile image

Paula was a Navy brat. She grew up in an environment where elegant dinner parties were the norm.

Dress Up Your Table

A Special Meal?

Christmas and Thanksgiving are important days. Family members gather to sit down for a special meal! Are you hosting a boss for a special meal or entertaining old friends? Whatever the occasion, when serving a special dinner, put your best foot forward! It is important to have great food. The presentation is as important as the food. A meal presented well is a great meal.

There are many companies that produce fine china. Gorham's china has been around for years and has a wonderful reputation with consumers. Yes, the tablecloth, the centerpiece, and the napkins are important additions to your table. The serving pieces can add elegance.. The shapes and styles of bowls, platters, plates, and silverware are varied and can be chosen to express your taste.

A set of china makes a wonderful wedding gift. It can also be a special Christmas gift for someone collecting their china by the setting. Most china can be purchased by the piece, by the place setting with one of each type of plate and cup, or an entire set. Merchants and distributors provide a broad selection of appealing china and serving pieces for your special meals.

Tablecloth, Place Mats, or Plain surface? Napkins?

What will you cover your table with for your special meal? Linen tablecloths make a more formal presentation but elegant place mats do too. Coordinate the centerpiece with your chosen table covering. I generally use a tablecovering that reflects the season or time of year. Green tablecloths are perfect for the Christmas season. I might choose an earthier tone and texture for a Thanksgiving get-together. A summer meal would invite a softer, pastel color and texture. Remember to coordinate your table covering with your dishes and accent pieces.

Will you use cloth or paper napkins? Cloth napkins are relatively inexpensive for more formal meals. Paper napkins can be purchased for the season or occasion. You can find some excellent paper themes in your local stores. Gift stores, department stores, party stores and even grocery stores provide an excellent selection for your special gathering.

Choose Your Centerpiece

It is good planning to select a centerpiece for your table before actually setting the table. Set the table around the centerpiece. A centerpiece can include a variety of items including a candle with greenery wrapped around it, fresh flowers in a vase, or an appropriate decorative item. I have used numerous items from around my house that fit the season and occasion. I have also purchased fresh flowers and used silk flower arrangements as centerpieces. The main thing to remember is that your centerpiece should not overpower the table.The size of your table can limit the size of the centerpiece.


Years ago, many brides received silver flatware as wedding gifts. These gifts were often one place settings because silver flatware is costly and an investment. These beautiful implements can be collected over time as gifts or purchased as an entire set.

For my wedding, I received four silver flatware place settings with some serving pieces. In hindsight, I wish I had purchased more flatware over the years. Four settings is not sufficient for a dinner party of any size. Silver flatware is a wonderful heirloom that can be passed down in the family and used for generations. For fancy dinners, I use less expensive flatware that I purposely purchased for special meals. We don't use these implements on a daily basis.

Silver flatware adds a sparkle to your table setting. These wonderful additions to your table send a message that you know how to entertain well.

Trends have changed a lot over the years and many brides now choose more casual entertaining. For your special meal, you can choose to use plastic forks and knives. There are some fancy designs available for purchase. Keep the casual plastic silverware for casual gatherings.


Any cold beverage can be served in Crystal glassware. A quality glass will have a ring to it when you tap it with your fingernail. Cut glass comes in many sizes and shapes. Some are manufactured for specific beverages, but there are multi-purpose glasses available. Whatever you use, make sure that it compliments your table and your dishes. Plastic cups and fine china do not go together. Save the plastic for casual dining.

Serving Bowls

Serve your salad and vegetables in a beautiful glass bowl. Your meal will have added appeal because of your beautiful glass bowl. Glass is easy to care for and will hold an array of menu items. Serving bowls can be purchased with beautiful designs. Exquisite cut glass bowls can be a worthwhile investment! The more elaborate they are, the heavier they can be. A crystal bowl can be passed down through the generations as an heirloom.

Crystal Serving Bowl For Special Dinners

Silver Platters and Wooden Trays

Serve meats, crackers, individual desserts on a silver platter. Spread them elegantly on your shiny surface. It is possible to purchase silver platters that never need polishing or extra care. Your table will have added elegance. You can also use wooden trays or platters for serving. There are very popular for casual or more formal dining.

Dessert Dishes

Dessert is an important part of your dinner. Whether eaten in the dining room after your meal, or later in another location, your serving piece is important. Cobblers, cakes, puddings, or individual desserts can be presented on a special dish to make an impression.

For fun, I collect dessert dishes. If I find a pattern I like, I purchase several dessert plates in that design. When dessert time comes, it is fun to choose your favorite dish for the evening!

Miscellaneous Items

Salt and pepper shakers are an important addition to your table. Yes, you should provide these items for your guest. My husband uses pepper on most of his food. Provide a beautiful salt and pepper shaker set for your table.

Place condiments in appropriate containers. These too should compliment the appearance of your table. Leave the jars and bottles in the refrigerator. Transfer a reasonable amount of your condiment to your selected container for your meal.

Don't forget the sugar and creamer for coffee and tea. Again, don't let the little items destroy the beautiful appearance of your table. Invest in a set you can enjoy for years.

Entertaining At Its Best

A beautiful table makes a lasting impression. Whether you are entertaining business associates or family, take the time to enhance your memories with serving pieces that you treasure. We live in a casual society today. Formal has become casual. Let your table tell your visitors that you think they are important. The time, the energy, the investment will speak that message for you. Have fun!


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