Roasting an 18-pound bird or massive standing rib roast, making gravy from scratch, and then getting all the sides to thetablebefore they're ice -cold—these are the magic tricks of the holiday season. But setting thetable? That's a no-brainer. In fact, it's usually a chore you assign to kids.
Still, it's notquitethe cinch it appears to be. If you're not careful, you could end up creating chaos and leaving your guests with a bad taste in their mouths—and we don't mean Aunt Edna's boiled Brussels sprouts.
So why not focus on making every little detail right? One important takeaway from entertaining and organizing pros: Tackle thetablewell ahead of time.
"Setting it at least a couple of days in advance is an easy way to check off a box on your to-do list, so you can concentrate on the task without worrying about something burning on the stove," says celebrity catererAndrea Correale, founder of Elegant Affairs.
Ready to dig in? Chew on these mistakes you should avoid at all costs when setting yourtablefor guests.
1. Enormous flower arrangements—or flowers at all
Photo by Chango & Co. "There's usually no room for flowers on the Thanksgivingtable," says Julie Corracio, the organizing pro at Reawaken Your Brilliance. Plus, an overly large arrangement blocks guests' view, causing neck strain as they try to see around the mums.
Can't live without posies? "Put them on the buffet," she says.
2. Insisting on family-style serving
As with flowers, there's really no room at thetablefor family-style serving.
"It creates too much confusion," Correale cautions.
Instead, put the dinner plates on a side buffet or the kitchen island, along with all the food, and allow guests to serve themselves.
A couple of skinny tapers? Yes, please. Fat pillarcandlesor a huge candelabra? Save these for the side board or fireplace mantel. A low row of votives or tea lights in small glass jars emit just enough light without blocking the view or cluttering yourtable.
And whatever you do, nix overly fragrantcandlesfor this occasion.
"The last thing you want is rose-scented food," points outJamie Novak, author of "Keep This Toss That."
4. Picking a very long tablecloth
Too much fabric means you could tangle guests or risk someone yanking your tablecloth, which could send the sweet potatoes flying.
A tablecloth with a 10- to 15-inch drop is ideal, and always use a pad underneath it to protect from damaging spills, Novak advises. And a word on napkins: break out the cloth ones, rather than flimsy paper—a special meal deserves the real deal.
5. Squeezing in random chairs
"Some homeowners use their dining chairs and then add folding chairs to accommodate extra guests, but often people feel squished," Correale says.
Instead, borrow smaller seats from a neighbor or friend or rent elegant Chiavari chairs to fill in.
"Thetablewill look stylish and guests will have more room, which will lead to a better experience," she says.
You never feel sillier than when you're trying to balance a full plate of food and a glass of wine while circling thetable, unsure of where to sit. The fix: Make place cards—or have the kids do it (they'll love this important job). And arrange thoughtful seating to promote new conversations, with young people mixed in with old, and married couples split up.
7. Skimping on the sauce
You can bet your guests are eyeing that gravy boat as it wends its way around thetable. The same goes for the cranberry sauce, the mustard for your holiday ham, and the butter dish. Rather than have people wait (and panic when the sauce boat runs dry), place at least two gravies, butters, and other condiment bowls on thetable.
One of the biggesttablesetting mistakes people make at the holidays is not sitting down for a preview, Novak says.
"Are the chairs too close?" she asks? "Can you see across thetable? Are items within reach?"
Try it out so you can gauge things for yourself.
RO Geddes, Jennifer. “It's Not All Gravy: 8 Surprising Mistakes You're Making When Setting Your Holiday Table.”Realtor.com®, Realtor.com, 16 Nov. 2018, www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/setting-holiday-table-mistakes/.
Michelle is a native of Southwest Missouri and has twenty-five years of experience in selling real estate in the greater Springfield area! Michelle specializes in all price points, including new const....