Inspiration For Dinner Party Planning

With the party season approaching, we met with Blue Ribbon founder Esther Rulli, an expert on all things tabletop, and asked her for her top tips for the most fabulous party ever!

What is the secret ingredient for hosting the most fabulous party ever?

A great dinner needs many ingredients to come together – a great group of guests, fantastic food, beautiful table settings; but the key ingredient is an element of surprise: perhaps you are using beautiful mismatched teacups to serve champagne; perhaps you can move a very formally set table outside, to dine under the stars (British weather permitting); or perhaps something as simple as arranging your flowers not in vases but in glasses or even in a soup tureen!

What are key trends in tableware for Autumn / Winter 2017?

The key current trend is to really express yourself, make creative and bold choices that are very personal, and to infuse your settings with your personality. We see our clients picking beautifully bold patterns in dinnerware and flatware. Ca’ d’Oro by Sieger by Fuerstenberg is definitely one of the favourites, and its monochrome palette with just touches of gold works on any occasion, from relaxed dinner with friends to the most formal of settings.

The metallic trend is one of our current favourites. We are seeing a lot of gold-toned accents, both on the fashion runway, and in interiors. You can mix gold both monochrome or with bold, bright colours. For example, green and gold are key to the huge trend of all things exotic, Cuban and jungle-inspired, and we saw these themes playing out across major fashion collections. In homewares, they translate into green coloured glass, exotic animal tabletop accessories, and the use of foliage as a tabletop accent.

How would you advise a dinner host to introduce colour into a table setting if they haven’t done so before?

There are lots of fun, un-intimidating ways to introduce colour. One interesting way, and less expensive than changing your entire dinner set, is to introduce accents: you can add elegant yet colourful flatware, or glasses, or perhaps a centrepiece or a vase. If you’d like to take it a step further, I would suggest adding colourful side or presentation plates, to give that pop of colour to an otherwise plain, simple setting.

How else can you evoke that luxurious, elegant vibe in your home?

Smell is a subtle yet powerful way to add a chic touch. It is an incredible medium: your guests will feel luxury yet they won’t be able to quite put their finger on how it is achieved. It is all part of creating an overall mood, orchestrating a range of subtle notes. We love these Bernardaud candles: they smell incredible and are just the epitome of all things festive: warm, inviting, chic and cosy!

Another secret to an inviting and welcoming decor is introducing interesting textures which invite touch. Whether it is a metallic, uneven rim on your serving platter, or the interplay between smooth, cool marble and warm wood in a tray, or the relief pattern on your cushions, touch is what ultimately connects us to that object, and what makes us want to hold it and to have in our homes.

And finally what are your top three tips for ensuring that your guests feel welcome and relaxed?

Prepare food that can be ready for a while before your guests arrive so you can focus on greeting, drinks and conversation once your guests are arriving rather than rushing around in the kitchen. Clear your schedule the afternoon of the dinner party so you can have an enjoyable few hours  preparing with great music and your favourite drink in a beautiful glass to get you in the mood for the evening.   Create a nice personal touch for your guests, you can even do something as simple as placing a different flower on each table setting; stay relaxed and enjoy – as the host, you set the mood for the party!