Formal Dinner Table Decorations

Formal Dinner Table Decorations – I have previously written a post on how to set a formal dining table. I love the look of an elegantly set formal dining table! Traditional white tablecloths and matching cloth napkins, china bowls, crystal water glasses and wine glasses, silver cutlery, fresh floral decorations and crystal candlesticks and white candles will never go out of style. They will always be a traditional and very elegant first choice for very formal settings.

But sometimes you might want to go a little less formal, but still make your sit-down dinner really enjoyable. You may not have room on the table for all the extras, like bread plates and red and white wine glasses, so you don’t have everything ready. This is the case with most of my formal dinners. I have a tiny little Queen Anne style dining room table and my table is limited so unfortunately I have to limit the items I put on each tablecloth.

Formal Dinner Table Decorations

Formal Dinner Table Decorations

Instead of using my more traditional teal and gold Royal Doulton bone china (which I still really like) for this dinner, I wanted deep purple and gold for the tables. I wanted something different from my usual formal dinner look and I wanted to see some new, vibrant colors and lots of visual appeal on the table, but I still wanted the tables to be on the “formal” side. An all-white formal dining table can seem a little dull and boring if that’s all you ever do. Sometimes you might want something a little more festive or livelier.

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In today’s post, I thought I would share some pictures of my table settings for this dinner party. I actually set up three tables, all with a deep purple and gold theme. This might give you some ideas of what to do for your next formal dinner.

Formal Dinner Table Decorations

I went with a traditional white lace tablecloth. I didn’t want to go overboard with purple or gold on the table, so white was the obvious choice for the linens. [However, in the past I have set some very nice formal (or at least semi-formal) tables with a plain table cloth and white china. You can also use a white base cloth and place a printed or solid color cover sheet on top. The napkins could match the color of the top sheet. The boards should be white or a lighter shade of the color of the cloth. It can all be very elegant yet formal, and it can also be a fun set of colors. The use of a solid color runner on a white canvas can also be very striking.]

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I used my white and gold strip plates from Ten Strawberry Street for the plates. There are many manufacturers that make a similar design plate – plain white with a gold, silver or platinum edge. What I really like about pure bone china is that it is so versatile. With these plates, you can create any color scheme for the table because you are not limited to the colors found on porcelain with decorative patterns. The Ten Strawberry Chinese gold band also has the advantage of being very cheap.

Formal Dinner Table Decorations

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I don’t always use charging pads, but I did this time. The chargers are placed under the plates. They are purely decorative – not meant to be eaten – and they enhance the color scheme of the table and provide some textural variety. In my case, they brought a lot of “gold” to the table. I got these charging pads at Hobby Lobby for about $2 each. It was a small investment for how much they added to the table. Hobby Lobby also has silver charging plates. Many other charger colors and designs can be found at other retailers such as World Market.

I shopped and shopped for purple napkin rings. I looked at what online retailers and local stores had to offer. I couldn’t find anything close to what I had in mind. So I decided to make my own. I used about 10 packs of crystal beads I found at Hobby Lobby and made my own napkin rings. It was just a matter of stringing the beads onto 20 gauge wire (the same wire used in many jewelry and craft projects) and tying them into 2 inch circles. The color of the beads matched my color scheme perfectly, and I probably spent a lot less making my own than if I had been able to find similar napkin rings at a retailer somewhere (but of course I couldn’t!). And that’s how I got exactly what I wanted on the table. In addition to Hobby Lobby, Michael’s also has a large selection of beads for jewelry making. They are perfect to turn into napkin rings.

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Formal Dinner Table Decorations

You can also easily make very creative napkin rings out of silk flowers, again Hobby Lobby has tons of them. This is another way to really bring some vibrant colors to your table. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s and sometimes even Super WalMart often have a large selection of silk flowers. Choose one with a flower that is 2 to 4 inches in diameter, and make sure there is at least a 12-inch stem attached to the flower. The trunk should be made of flexible wire. Using pliers, bend the flower stem to make a circle about 2 inches wide (just enough to thread the cloth napkins through). Wrap the stem several times in a circle. It’s a nice napkin ring. If necessary, you can wrap the shaft of the wire with a fabric band and glue it with a glue gun.

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You can save a lot of money by making your own napkin rings, and again, you can create unique table accents this way. Department stores and home stores usually sell more traditional napkin rings made of plastic, ceramic, metal, or wood—and they’re often expensive and may not have the color you’re looking for.

Formal Dinner Table Decorations

You should have at least one large centerpiece on the table. Or you could use several smaller centerpieces at each table and these would be set for every other placemat. I went with hanging candles to dinner last weekend. I managed to find dark purple floating rose candles that went well with the other purple decorations I had already chosen for my table. I really like using a floating candle centerpiece for a change of pace from the more usual fresh floral decoration. Some people associate hanging candles with weddings and they certainly go well with weddings, but they also add a special touch to the evening. There is something very special about a candle that floats on water.

Around the base of the floating candle and along the center of each of the tables, I placed purple silk rose petals on the petals and scattered purple acrylic “confetti” crystals. I found these items at Hobby Lobby, the bridal party, and crystals from a few online retailers (many of whom sell their products on You can also sprinkle glitter, flowery glass gems, reed stones or small rolled pieces of ribbon on the table. Finding these items in the right colors can really add to your color scheme.

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Formal Dinner Table Decorations

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For the card holders I used small vases filled with the deep purple carnations I wrote about in my last post. To add a little more “gold” to the table, I used a calligraphy pen in gold ink and wrote the names of all my guests on small cards.

I found the card holders in the bridal aisle at Hobby Lobby. Similar vase holders along with a large selection of other styles of card holders can be found online. Card holders are one of those things that are hard to find in homes and department stores. I think they are a staple on a formal dining table, especially if you have a large number of dinner guests. However, it is difficult to find them for “home use”. If a store has them, they usually only have one or two styles, if that. However, there are hundreds and hundreds of styles of card holders available from wedding suppliers online. I actually found some of my best table decorations from wedding vendors and craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

Formal Dinner Table Decorations

These are some of my ideas for adding some style to the dining table. If any of you reading this have any ideas of your own, please share. I’d love to hear from you! How many people know how to cook dinner, set the table properly and serve food and wine as it should be served, in an orderly and tasty way? In 1891, the famous New York restaurant Delmonico’s declared that one must first learn to set the table. Epicureans can distinguish what constitutes a perfect dinner,

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