Monday, April 30, 2012

Our $20 dinner party, part 2: Making Your Table Lovely for $5

So, while I was busy cooking in the kitchen for our $20 dinner party, Lindsey arrived with her "tool-box" (that is, a giant container full of supplies--sort of like a first aid kit for her events)  She whipped out scissors, a vintage sheet, and an old, plastic hula skit and got to work.

I'll let her tell you the rest.

A Lovely $5 Table
by Lindsey Huddleston

Candelabra: $1.09 at Goodwill
Vintage Sheet: $0.70 at the Goodwill Outlet.
Yellow placemat and green hula skirt: $0.76 at The Goodwill Outlet.
Oranges: $1.99
Candles: (ok--I cheat--I already had them.  But Trader Joes, Wal Mart, and The Goodwill often have good deals on candles)

This was a unique project because the budget was so small! Of the entire $20, we allotted just $5 to decor.

It was a challenge to be aware of inventory that I have  at my house due to my line of work that others may not have lying about.  However, I am going to assume that you have plates, cups, silverware, pitchers, a music player, and lamps.
The first thing I did once I arrived at Crystal's house was prepare the table.  I cut a vintage sheet to fit the table.  The sheet was the first thing we found.  When working with a tiny budget, you must find a few things that inspire you and build around them.  In this case the inspiration was our 70's sheet.  

Whenever I dress a table I stick to 2 easy rules of design: create a focal point on the table and have clusters of odd-numbered objects.  While at the Goodwill I found a 5-point candelabra from the 70's, which met both needs.

We found a yellow placemat at the goodwill, which I placed in the middle of the table.  At first it was a bit much because there was a lot of the same color in the middle of a smallish table and the yellow looked weird with the gold candelabra, so using some spare fabric from the tablecloth I made a new middle for the placemat.  When you're on a budget you just have to go with it and keep adding and subtracting until you get it right.

We had quite a bit of extra fabric from the cutting the sheet to fit the table.  I used extra fabric to create napkins and a swag to the decanters.  I rolled the silverware inside my napkins and then tied with the green ribbon/hula skirt.

Following is the method I use to roll silverware:
1.Arrange your napkin in a diamond shape. Place your silverware in the center.
2. Lift the bottom corner to the center or as close as you can.
3. Pull the top corner down to center or as close as you can.
4. Pull the left corner all the way over to meet the right corner, hold the silverware in
place at the same time. Line up the corners as best as you can.

5. This will look like an arrow with a flat edge on the left, top and bottom with the
point on the right.
6. Hold the left flat edge and roll inwards towards the right.
7 Continue rolling until you have a tube of silverware.
8. Tie or accessorize as you please.

Instead of putting flowers on the table, I bought a bushel of oranges at Aldi for $1.99.  We used these to garnish drinks, decorate the table, and make the room smell nice.  The oranges looked lovely and also served as something our guests could munch on while waiting for dinner to be served.

The table was set and everything looked wonderful.  The next order was to set the mood.  I turned off all of Crystal's overhead lighting.  We collected lamps from the rest of her house and used those to light the room, giving it a calm and yellow glow.

I used my personal library in my ipod, pressed play, and fun was had by all.  

So, in conclusion for your $20 dinner party:
  • Buy fabric cheaply in bulk and use it for different purposes.
  • Remember, fruit is edible art.
  • Don’t be a stickler about color scheme -- use what you have.
  • Use the strengths of what you already own. Have blue vintage glassware from your grandmother, but only two pieces? Mix and match or use for flowers, candles, small fruits or plants.
  • Decide what your priorities are and put as much of your budget there as you can.
  • Lighting is just as important, if not more, as music. Choose well and intentionally.

You may or may not have met Lindsey Huddleston, but
if you live in Nashville you've probably been to one of
her events.  From her Black and White Party at Mercy Lounge,
to Geek Prom, to the most recent Nashville Burlesque show,
this little lady has really made a name for  herself among
Nashville event planners.  In addition to amazing parties,
Lindsey also plans alternative weddings with her company
DandyLion events. I guess you could say she was your
so-called wedding planner.
photography by John Yates


Kirsten said...

I can't get over how awesome this is! I wish there was a picture of the entire table. It looks just lovely (and sounds like it was delish).

Crystal said...

Kirsten! I know! We were going through photos, laughing, because we forgot to take a photo of the entire thing. Maybe next time:) Send me photos of your table if you do any of this stuff--would love to see them.

Post a Comment