I am a strong believer that "it is all in the details". I L-O-V-E details, and when done tastefully, and not excessively, can make a table look marvelous.
Of course, a gorgeous centerpiece will definitely be splendid; however, not everyone has the budget for a super "wow" arrangement. Keeping this in mind, I have been thinking of how to create impact without, breaking the bank.
Here are a few things you can use:
First, fabric napkins give you an "oh-la-la" feeling vs. a paper napkin. They instantly add color to your table, they come in an incredible array of colors, and you can go nuts on how to fold them! Think about it, here in Montreal, if you pick-up and return, it will cost about $0.50 to $0.75 each to rent, AND you don't have to wash. Music to my ears!!
Here is a link to pretty ways of folding your napkins.
YES!! Love it, use it, and get creative. SO many types, textures, widths, colors and shimmers to choose from! Make a bow around your napkin, or tie your utensils with it for a more casual look! You can also use it to adorn your stationery on the table (if you have any), and it is perfect to add an accent and/or complimentary color to your table.
What is that?! Well, pretty much anything you find in nature. You could integrate branches, wood logs, leafs, rocks, corals, shells, fruits and vegetables (think mini pumpkins, cauliflower heads, pine cones, etc.). Depending on your theme, you can easily pick up some of these items as far as your backyard.
There is nothing like the brilliance and warmth that candle light gives out. There's a "je ne said quoi" in candles that makes people feel warm and fuzzy. Try getting the ones that are 6-8hrs, they are a little more expensive; but it avoids you changing candles in the middle of the event, and they are usually better quality (i.e. won't turn off half way, and won't give out black smoke). Thinking scented candles? I would only do it around the room if you want to create a feeling, but not on the tables. You want guests to smell and appreciate the aroma of your delicious food rather than the candle.
I have a few friends that are loving me right now. Place a small chocolate square on each guest's place. At first, it will be as a "hey, welcome, sit down". Then, it will be a "yes, eat me, while you wait for the food"; and lastly, it will be a "wasn't that chocolate great? Imagine what's coming". In reality, it can be any type of treat, use whatever you like most!
No, it isn't cheesy. It is a fresh little gift to your guests, and it says "I was thinking of you". Of course, go with not so pricey flowers, and pick the kind that come in a bunch (i.e. Not roses), and that can resist a few hours without water. Ask your local florist for suggestions, and usually in-season flowers are more economical. Some of my favorite: Dendroubiums, Orchids (for a classical look), Hydrangea, Hypericum berries (for a clean-cut look) & Calla lilies.
Budget friendly doesn't mean it has to be bland. So, choose your theme and/or colors, and go nuts!
Be creative, and may the all-mighty be with you and your eventful endeavors!
Yours truly, Chris.