Food & Entertaining - Tabletop Ideas

How to: Set a stunning table in 10 minutes flat

Entertaining expert Sebastien Centner shares his tips for setting a gorgeous table when you're short on time.

As one of Canada's top event planners, Sebastien Centner knows how to throw a successful and stunning dinner party. Through his event planning company Eatertainment he's been throwing fabulous parties for crowds, both big and small since 1996. His company has even won the award for ‘Best Caterer in Canada' at the Canadian Event Industry Awards two years in a row. That's why he was first on our list when we wanted to find out how to set a stunning table in 10 minutes flat. Here, he spills some of his table setting secrets to help you save time, especially when you have none to spare.

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.
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