The Indonesian way to celebrate Eid al-Fitr is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate Lebaran than having a hearty feast with your dear ones and associates? Savour in the most appetizing fiesta of traditional ketupat rijsttafel complete with its mouthwatering condiments presented elegantly by way of a smart and captivating table setting. Here are the five basic elements, organized in a practical “starter pack” for you to prepare your charming signature table setting.
1/5 Porcelain and Crystals
There’s really no need to spend a fortune on expensive tableware and glassware to create a stylish setting. Orchestrated the right way, your setup will look like a creation from the Harrod’s collection. There’s also no need to match; feel free to go eclectic.
Some tips and pointers on how to dress up your china and glasses:
Heap up your china. Start with a dinner plate, followed with a salad plate and then top with a bowl. Use chargers to dress up your plates. A charger is a hybrid between a placemat and a plate. It frames the plate and is just large enough to create a nice frame or border around it. You can be creative with chargers; cut them out of decorative paper, or use simple flowers or leaves under your plate.
Group the drinking glasses. Having more than one glass per setting adds a stylized look to your table. Try a grouping of wine glasses and a water tumbler in each setting.
Get creative with the silverware. Tie the silverware together with twine or ribbon, or place it artfully in your napkin to add a special touch.
2/5 Table Linen
Your choice of linen will set your table apart from others. Nowadays, there is a variety of stylish and inexpensive picks of table linen. Keep a box or drawer filled with the different linens according to the colours, textures and patterns that mix and match. Some holiday-themed table linens are also worth keeping in your linen box to add some holiday fun to your table settings.
The essentials include:
Table runners. A runner is the most contemporary way to dress a table, especially if you don’t want to cover up a beautiful wood or glass tabletop with a tablecloth. Table runners are also versatile; you can layer them over a tablecloth, place them sideways to use as a shared placed setting with the person seated in front of you, or arrange a simple runner with candles.
Tablecloths. A tablecloth is optional, but it is worth counting on when you’re carrying out a specially coloured theme or want to cover your table.
Napkins. Don’t hold back on cloth napkins for a nice touch to your dining table as an important part of your table architecture. If the idea of having to wash napkins after dinner is too much, pick up some disposable, banquet-style paper napkins. They come in lots of bold colours and attractive prints.
Placemats. Placemats create a stylish space for each place setting, especially those created in woven vinyl, treated cotton or coconut twigs, types that will clean up easily with a damp rag. Do not rely on rectangular placemats—square placemats exude a contemporary look, while round or oval ones placemats break up an angular table form.
Bring out the beauty of your table settings by using a centrepiece to create a focal point. The focus will unify and pump up the volume of the table’s theme. Remember to keep it low and narrow—tall centrepieces make it hard to see people across the table and large ones can cram the setting.
A practical rule of thumb, you will need a minimum of 14 inches on each side of the centrepiece for place settings. So subtract at least 28 inches from the width of your table: that’s how much space is left for your focus area.
Some centrepiece ideas include:
- Palm leaves
- Crystals or river rocks
4/5 Decorative Elements
Decorative elements will give your table an exclusive touch. Use items that have a common theme or a personal meaning throughout the table and place settings.
Some ideas for decorative items include:
- Objects such as bird figurines or small and colourful vases
- Unusual napkin rings with a nature theme
- Holiday-related items such as dry leaves, colourful seashells, or odd-shaped rocks
- Place-setting name-holders
- Small bundles of herbs for each place setting
Candles are an easy way to make a bold table statement; that’s why this unique element is grouped into a special category. Use plenty of candles on your dining table. They’ll cast a warm glow and sparkles and twinkles if strategically placed around shiny objects.
Apply unscented candles to accompany a meal; scented candles can clash with the aroma of the food. If candles are not practical, use strings of light on your table.
Table settings aren’t the only one designed to function as a dining table. Feel free to utilize your kitchen counter or coffee table for a special meal or morning breakfast. Or take it all out to the veranda for your al fresco Lebaran brunch.