Decorating the table, cooking supper, hosting my friends: I love all the parts of entertaining at home and, when the event is something special, I plan the tabletop in advance to make sure everything is how I want it.
For my dinner for Dodo, makers of beautiful Italian charms, I used vintage silver plated cutlery, plain white Rosenthal porcelain, and vintage cut crystal Waterford water glasses, cutlery rests, and salts, along with plain glass water bottles. The napkins are simple white linen.
I wanted to keep it simple because Dodo have beautiful hand made felt presentation hoops to hold their charms, and matching felt tablemats, in bright colours, and anything too fussy would have detracted from the fabulous Dodo styling.
For the flowers, I went to New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall, south of the river, a couple of days beforehand. That’s because when you buy very fresh flowers you need to give them some time to open up properly, otherwise there would just be vases of tightly furled buds. (It’s important too to cut the ends, strip the leaves and give the blooms a good drink before you start arranging them.)
Because Dodo is all about finding the perfect charm with the perfect message for the recipient, I wanted to use flowers that had the perfect message too, according to the Victorian language of flowers.
I particularly wanted to use Ranunculus,because it means ‘I am dazzled by your charms’. I also used roses for beauty, rosemary for remembrance and veronica for fidelity, all of which seemed appropriate for a group of girlfriends.
When you have a large group of people around a rectangular table, I think it’s better to have a group of little vases running down the table, instead of one large centrepieces, as this makes more of an impact, and means no one has to peer around a too tall arrangement.
That being said, I did make one central arrangement, using a vintage storage jar, about the size of a large jam jar. You’d be surprised how many flowers you need to fill one! Here I used three types of roses, along with veronica and rosemary for accents.
For the smaller groupings of flowers I collect glass vessels of all types. These here are the glass holders that scented incense sticks, but they make wonderful flower vases, because you only need a few stems in each to make an impact, and because they are wide based and very steady they won’t fall over. (Small flower vases have an annoying tendency to topple over if you put tall blooms in them.)
I have a wide collection of candle holders, including glass candlesticks, white candle holders from Anthropologie, and pretty Perspex and metal tea lightholders from The White Company, which I place between the flowers at random spots down the table.