The holiday season is upon us, so naturally, you’re feeling pressure from your overprotective mother to throw the most fabulous party.
And if you didn’t Instagram your picture-perfect tablescape, did it even really happen?
Lucky for you, we connected with Sports Illustrated model turned health and fitness coach, Nina Agdal, who knows a thing or two about hosting dinner parties.
Below are Nina’s expert tips and tricks for curating a stunning tablescape that will definitely make it to the gram.
The first step of any tablescape is deciding on an overall color scheme for the event and table. The apartment where I hosted my Belvedere Friendsgiving this year had deep navy blue walls, romantic overhead lighting, and a beautiful farmhouse-style wooden table where we would be eating, so we chose to lean into that with added fall colors to match the room as well as the Belvedere Organic Infusions bottles we’d be serving.
Next up is choosing the food options, since that will inform what flatware you choose, as well as how much room you’ll have on the table for other decor. I wanted a slightly healthier take on Thanksgiving food for my Friendsgiving dinner, so we worked with Little Gem catering to make an elevated family-style buffet, which left more room on the table to build out the florals and decor.
There are so many options when it comes to the linens and flatware for a tablescape, so I always like to try different options and then pull back and edit. We chose navy blue dinner napkins to match the space as well as brushed gold flatware to go with the rustic farmhouse vibe of the table. We initially considered a white tablecloth as well, but the table in the space was just too pretty to be covered. Often less is more when creating your tablescape, so I always look at how we can refine different aspects once I set the table.
The floral design is always one of the most exciting parts of creating a tablescape because there are so many different options of flowers and designs to choose from. We worked with Popup Florist for my Friendsgiving dinner and chose from a selection of flowers with deep reds and burgundies as well as mismatched vases in different colors and sizes to add pops of color to the space without feeling too serious or overly styled.
Another aspect I love about hosting is creating the cocktail menu - both making sure it pairs well with the food menu and tastes great and that it visually is appealing to the overall tablescape as well. I loved working with Belvedere Vodka and their mixologist team for my Friendsgiving dinner to create my own signature cocktail - The Holiday Honey - which was light and refreshing but also festive with the sprig of rosemary that looked really great among the greenery on the tables as well.
Once the table is set and florals are out, the final touches of accessorizing can happen. The lighting in the space was really soft and moody, so we ended up adding a top of different sized candles around the room, which made the space so much cozier, and the lighting for photos ended up looking great too. Candles are always a really great addition for dinner tablescapes, but you can also work with other greenery, ribbons, confetti, or even candy as table decor for daytime events.
I also always choose to put out name cards at larger group dinners because I like to bring together friends from different groups who may not know each other. Place cards ensure everyone mingles and meets new people, and make for an even more fun dinner for everyone since you leave having met someone new!
Don’t forget that the sign of a great night means your table will be full of plates, glassware, and more by the time your dinner is over. While the preparation makes for a gorgeous moment for your guests, don’t stress over the setup too much, and enjoy the tablescape and friends you’ve brought around it!
Photography by: Madison McGaw