How to: Set a stunning table in 10 minutes flat
1 Prepare your elements the night before and put them all together
Sebastien says to stack the plates, polish the silverware and fold the napkins ahead of time. This way when it comes time to set the table you can have everything in one place instead of scattered around the kitchen.
2 Skip the tablecloth
Consider using stylish and upscale placemats instead of a traditional tablecloth. He says this gives a more modern look providing the table surface is made of high-end material such as granite, marble or glass. Sebastien's favourite placemats are by Chilewich.
3 Let flowers bloom
If you're making your own arrangements, Sebastien says to assemble them the night before and let them sit so the flowers open partially. If you're buying from a local flower shop, provide them with your own vases so you don't need to transfer them.
4 Simple centrepieces
For a simple and easy-to-create holiday centrepiece, use odd-shaped glass vases filled with holiday balls. He suggests keeping it monochromatic with up to two colours like white and silver or gold and brown.
5 Dinner party dynamics
For a larger group, Sebastien says to work on the place setting ahead of time (don't just do a random boy-girl-boy placement of guests). Sebastien says the dynamic of the dinner party relies on having the right people next to each other. For example, someone who may be a bit more shy and reserved should be placed near the host or someone who is able to strike up a conversation easily.
6 Get the lighting right
If you're using candles, Sebastien says to make sure the candleholders are cleaned and set with fresh candles the night before so all you have to do the night of the party is place and light them.
7 Employ your buffet
Sebastien says setting a side table or buffet with drinks and other dinnerware will save you from running back and forth to the kitchen during the party. For example, if you're serving a cheese course at the end of the meal, set the plates out ahead of time to avoid returning to the kitchen during the party.