Decorating your table

Getting your table decoration right can really help to enhance the mood of your party

Party favours

Favours make great mementos of a special party. You could even combine your favours and place names into one.


Try these favour ideas:

  • a packet of seeds, or the guest’s or host’s favourite plant or flower.
  • buy everyone their own wineglass and engrave their name on it.
  • decorated flower pots; write the guests’ names on the plant tags and pop them inside.
  • large stones from a garden centre. Once cleaned you can use glass paint to write the guests’ names on them. Not only do these look good but your guests can take them home and use them as paperweights.
  • if you have children, get them to make dough shapes, cook them and write everyone’s name on them in gold ink.
  • use miniature photo frames with guests’ names where the photos should be, or if you can get a small photo of them and put it inside.
  • a box of love. Wrap up a small box, filled with confetti love hearts and attach a short poem to the side. On the other side write your guest’s name and thank them for coming.


Don’t forget about the centre of the table! Flowers are traditional, but can get quite pricey. There are lots of great alternatives, many of which are more suitable for themed parties than fresh blooms.


  • floating candles in a bowl
  • balloons tied either to the back of chairs or to a weight in the centre of the table. (If in the centre make sure the ribbon tied to them is long enough not to obscure people’s faces round the table)
  • terracotta pots with plants in
  • scattered metallic confetti
  • indoor sparklers
  • big church candles


Think of your cloth as a blank canvas, to be decorated and transformed. This is the background colour that helps tie everything together, so choose wisely. Also, think about the occasion and what sort of mood you want to create at your party.

  • for a children’s party it’s daft to lay out the best linen. Invest in a brightly‐coloured plastic cloth that can cope with sticky fingers and spilt juice and that can be washed down. This won’t just save your cloth, but also your table!
  • to create a dramatic effect go for a black cloth. This will look impressive combined with white crockery and silver table wear.
  • on a summer’s evening or spring day, create a romantic mood with white or cream linen.
  • during the festive season, red and dark green either combined or alone can help bring warmth to your table.
  • if you’re feeling brave and bold, go for a bright colour to help enhance the mood and theme of the occasion.
  • for sophistication, opt for either gold or silver cutlery. Remember to follow the effect through and make sure you have complementary crockery to finish the table’s overall look.

Party place names

Making a place name can be fun! With a little creativity and imagination, even the less artistic among us can create something that’s effective and functional.

  • at a children’s party, use paper cups to write their names on. Alternatively, you could ask your child to make some fun badges ‐‐ this way the children will have a small gift and you’ll know who each one is! If your kids’ party has a theme, use this to create place settings. For example, at a fancy dress party, put a mask at each child’s setting, with their name written on the inside.
  • Write people’s names on luggage tags and tie them round the stems of the wineglasses.
  • find large leaves from your garden or local park, then wash and dry them. Write guests’ names on with gold ink, (best to do this the week before the party so they don’t dry up too much).
  • use a piece of fruit, such as an apple or pear, to make a setting. Write guests’ names on a dried leaf with coloured paint and stick it to the piece of fruit.
  • bake some biscuits, ice guests’ names on them and wrap them in cellophane.
  • if you have a theme to your party, you could incorporate this into your place settings. If, for example, you’re inviting all your football friends round, give them all miniature footballs, labelled with their names.

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