Randall Felkel of The RSVP Shoppe and Mitchell Crosby of JMC Charleston have been entertaining together in sophisticated style for over 20 years and make it look easy.
1. Your setting should evoke the feeling of the season. For this Thanksgiving setting, we selected a "hunt theme" with Pheasant plates as the grounding pieces.
2. Use small accent pieces like these silver pine cones on the table, as you will have plates, flatware and glasses taking up real estate. "Thank you to The RSVP Shoppe for the "wheat" taper candles, which are my favorite for this autumn season of 2014. I really love the tiny terra cotta pots which Rose OHara hand-carried back from her last trip to Sienna, used for salt and pepper," says Crosby.1. Your setting should evoke the feeling of the season. For this Thanksgiving setting, we selected a "hunt theme" with Pheasant plates as the grounding pieces. We layered each setting with pheasant feather placemats from The RSVP Shoppe and a burnt umber napkin placed over them with the plate on top. This gives visual interest and is also a great way to present a utility item like a napkin in an interesting, decorative way.
3. Flowers add the pop of color and this beautiful arrangement (including hydrangea, roses, Hypericum berry) by Mary Silsby and Kit Bennett at Lotus Flower was created using our own vases for the flowers to be arranged in.
The Place Setting
1. Determine how many people can sit comfortably at your table. We set this table for 6, but our table can comfortably seat 8. We can also add a piece of wood we had cut to fit the table on the top, secured using fasteners, to accommodate 10.
2. When setting the table, start outside and work your way inside. It obviously depends on the menu as to what flatware you will use. We set a salad fork, fish fork, a place fork and a cocktail or oyster fork, which goes on the righthand side of the plate, the only fork that is placed there.
3. If you don't have enough silver for every setting, mix and match patterns.
4. Set the glasses in the order that you enjoy them. In this case, from closest
to the plate outwards, we set the champagne glass, red wine, white wine and water glass. Our glassware is a collection of things we have found
over the years in different places and reflects different styles.
1. We have a completely separate area set up for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres prior to the meal using different glassware and flatware.
2. How we serve the meal depends on the number of guests, but typically, we seat guests, then plate the food ourselves then bring it to the table. For larger gatherings, a buffet style service is more efficient.
3. When clearing plates, we always wait to make sure everyone is finished. "Mitchell and I will both get up and clear guests' plates first and then take our own plates," explains Felkel.
4. After dinner, we always serve a Madeira and really like the Rare Wine Company Historic Series Madeira Charleston Sercial. We preset it on a tray near the dining table so that guests may enjoy their desert wine in another room or on the terrace.
Black Book Tip: For assistance in setting the table, there is a laminated foldout
"A Silver Spoon Guide to Easy Entertaining, A Proper Place Setting" ($7) at The RSVP Shoppe.