Set­ting the ta­ble just right is an im­por­tant vis­ual el­e­ment for a lunch or din­ner party

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QWe love en­ter­tain­ing out­doors in the sum­mer. Is there any­thing fun we can add to our usual decor?

It’s all about ca­sual, ap­proach­able ma­te­ri­als and lots of tex­ture. Linen is al­ways a great choice for a table­cloth, nap­kins or place mats. Layer on some tex­ture with rat­tan or bam­boo nap­kin rings or place mats. If you want to add some colour, go for a colour­ful water glass. Also, try in­cor­po­rat­ing metal­lic el­e­ments such as gold and brass. (SC)

AQWhat ad­vice do you have for some­one who has never de­signed a ta­ble set­ting?

No one comes out of the womb ready to host a din­ner party. We all have to start some­where. Look around your home and your cup­boards for in­spi­ra­tion. Pick colours and tex­tures that al­ready play a role in your life. For ex­am­ple, if you lean to­wards rich kid at­tire, go with a navy-and-white nau­ti­cal theme. If you’re more of a black jacket and Con­verse kind of girl, go with dark hues and un­ex­pected fab­rics such as leather run­ners and jewel-toned water glasses. (LC)

AThere’s a great way to be co­he­sive with­out be­ing matchy­matchy. For in­stance you can be co­he­sive with tonal colour com­bi­na­tions. Use shades of blue, for ex­am­ple, and then bring out the colour of your plates by adding a vase with flow­ers in that same colour some­where on your ta­ble.

Don’t be afraid to loosen up. Think of it as a per­sonal choice, rather than wor­ry­ing about “rules” to fol­low. Ex­per­i­ment. (SC)

QHow do you pre­pare for a din­ner party? Do I need to set aside a lot of time be­fore my guests ar­rive?

AThe more time you set aside to pre­pare, the bet­ter you’ll feel go­ing into the din­ner party. Set the ta­ble the night be­fore, and do as much food prep as pos­si­ble be­fore peo­ple ar­rive. And don’t be afraid to ask for help in the kitchen once your guests are there – most peo­ple love to con­trib­ute to the evening. (LC)

Q AWhat’s the best way to kick some­one out of your party?

This is an ex­cel­lent ques­tion. If it’s a week­end, I typ­i­cally plan for ev­ery­one to have an af­ter-din­ner des­ti­na­tion (karaoke is al­ways a favourite). If it’s a week night, or if your crowd isn’t up for a post-party, start do­ing the dishes. Ei­ther you’ll get help clean­ing up, or peo­ple will take the hint that the evening is over. (LC)

QI al­ways protest but end up host­ing hol­i­day din­ners at the last minute. How do you rec­om­mend putting to­gether a ta­blescape if there’s no time to pre­pare?

Hol­i­days are usu­ally over­whelm­ing for ev­ery­one, so don’t put too much pres­sure on your­self by striv­ing for per­fec­tion. For last-minute ta­ble set­ting, pick up pomegranates or ap­ples to place at each set­ting with each guest’s name writ­ten di­rectly on them to serve as place cards.

Or buy a bunch of greens for the cen­tre of the ta­ble.

Re­mem­ber, it’s the thought that counts, so skip stress and have a great time with peo­ple you love when en­ter­tain­ing. (LC)

AWarm re­gards, Vi­vian Warby and team

It’s all about roses. See page 12 Cnr Bos­worth and Diens Roads, Al­rode Al­ber­tonover the road from Al­rode Brew­ery


Ca­sual ta­ble set­tings are the way to go when din­ing out­doors.


When en­ter­tain­ing, cel­e­brate and don’t get stressed.

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