Five Tips to Create an Inviting At-Home Dinner Setting
Humans are designed to live in community and we naturally yearn for connection. I grew up in a humble, suburban three bedroom house with my parents, two grandparents, and the occasional uncle, aunt, and cousins. All to say, there were many people coming and going through the house my entire childhood. My mother and grandmother would cook large Chinese feasts every night, and we would have even bigger feasts for holidays and weekend gatherings, sometimes up to 16+ people around the table.
I thrive being with people and enjoy engaging in honest conversations. However, people sometimes need the right environment, an inviting table setting, and a perfect glass of wine to encourage their vulnerability.
Here are some tips for how to create the ‘perfect’ at-home dinner setting, may it be for just two, a family of six, a birthday party, or a post-quarantine celebration! I hope this helps spark intimate conversations which foster stronger relationships and community.
Comfort first, always
Have you ever wiped your mouth with a rough dinner napkin or silk cloth? From experience, neither are pleasant. The same applies to ornate glassware- keep it simple and guests will feel at ease to kick-off their shoes and relax. Choose pieces that are refined and cohesive with the overall setting design but harken to home. We suggest cloth napkins and Stolzle Lausitz or Riedel glasses for a comfortable, at-home dinner party paired with china and cutlery of your choice.
Organics & produce
Humans have an innate connection with Mother Earth- we are drawn to nature’s beauty, open fields, towering mountains, and the ocean’s expanse- because it gives us space to be attune with ourselves. Spruce up your table with foraged flowers or a bouquet from the local farmer’s market as well as seasonal vegetables and fruits to bring nature right to your table.
Music has the ability to transport us anywhere in the world. Music makes you feel something, which is why having the perfect playlist buzzing in the background while you cook, set the table, or welcome guests is critical to a good time (in our opinion!). Depending on the vibe you want to create, artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Cubanismo, and Dean Martin speak volumes to the evening ahead. Equally as important is volume- never have your music too loud to where guests can’t easily converse or hear.
Fire, fire, and more fire
We are obsessed with candles. And dim lighting.
People are drawn to fire and something about a candlelit table pulls us closer together, to be nearer to the light. Pick a variety of candle shapes, colors, and heights- small votives for low light and taper candles to add some height and effervescent glow. There is something truly magical when a table of friends lean in together, share struggles and joys, and be honest with one another.
*I suggest veering from scented candles- the scent(s) may be irritating for some guests or clash with aromas from the food being served.
Set the tone
As the host/hostess, your intentions and energy set the tone for the entire evening. If you are stressed about everything looking perfect, your guests will see it. If you are unhappy with how a dish turned out, your guests will taste it. If you are tense and anxious, your guests will feel it.
Set the tone for how you want the evening to go- if you want the evening to be filled with laughs and friendship bonding experiences, remember this throughout the preparation process because your energy seeps into everything you create.
We hope you found these tips helpful and would love to hear any feedback or questions you have!