Sunday, March 2

Dinner Parties by DOTS!

My husband has officially nicknamed this blog DOTS (Designing On The Side).  LOVE it!

In addition to my home decorating obsession, I am also an event planner by profession and a lover of all things pretty - especially dinner tables. I started my career planning events for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was lucky enough to put together amazing events like the Opera Ball. I loved the way a table could be layered with linens, flowers, candles and sparkling serving ware to seem magical.  To this day, seeing the finished product is my favorite part of my job.

Over the years, I've learned some tricks of the great event designers and one of them is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to make a table amazing.  Take this picture from our family's New Year's Eve dinner this year. I created it for less than $100 and it took me about 30 minutes to put together.

Not going to lie…one of my favorite places on earth is Hobby Lobby. It is filled with affordable goodness and I could spend hours wandering the aisles.  Most of the elements on our NYE table came from there including the pretty crystal votive holders, the hanging glittery gold star and the ribbon and ornaments in the bowl. The black table cloth is from Target and everything else on the table I had in our house.

The best part about this look is that I can reuse a lot of these elements. Let's say for Oscar party! Check out this look. My glittery gold pieces would be perfect to repurpose if I were organized enough to throw such a party tonight.

I've learned that the way to achieve a great look for a table is to keep layering. More is more!  I even scattered glitter on our table - which was not so fun to clean up but sure looked pretty.

I think next year I am going to add a few other elements I have seen online.  Like  creating a bubbly bar like this one or adding a print. So cute!

From haute 

From Lindsay Letters

Leading up to NYE, I was obsessed with these Pottery Barn clock plates I saw on Pinterest but I couldn't find them. Luckily my china was gold so it worked just fine instead. But I haven't given up hope on finding them. Or maybe I'll try making them myself…stay tuned for that future debacle!


Over the next few weeks, I will post pictures from other dinner parties I have hosted or planned. Can't wait for Easter! But even more important than the table itself is the atmosphere at any party. Candlelight, music, good food, great wine.  You just can't underestimate the importance of setting the mood. How many times have you walked into a party and it just feels flat and awkward? Being a good hostess means making people feel really comfortable and that starts with what they see, hear and feel when they walk in the door. 

So take a little extra time and effort when you are setting the table. It will make a great memory!