The French countryside brings to mind images of festive gatherings, delightful selections of wines and food, and decorations that are at once tasteful and infused with an Old World charm–a wonderful source of inspiration for a special gathering. Create this scene by starting with a color palette painted with the rich colors of the French countryside, such as forest green, gold, brick red, and a selection of earth tones. Upon selecting the right colors, arrange an exquisite table setting featuring decorations carefully chosen to echo the theme.
Display Provence-Inspired Centerpieces
Provence, one of the most famous locations in France, typifies the image of quaint little towns dotting sunlit fields. Centerpieces featuring Provençal elements can act as wonderful focal points for the table decorations, immediately capturing the essence of the French countryside.
Large terra cotta vases or vases handcrafted from stone can house fragrant sprigs of lavender, a bloom typically associated with Provence. Appealing combinations of olives, sunflowers, goldenrods, and apples may then be added to complete the centerpiece–with a bunch of grapes draped from the rim of each container. Painted stone bowls, French wire baskets, and woven baskets are interesting alternative containers for the table centerpieces, as these will help create the look and feel of a French cottage.
Edible centerpieces are a unique concept that may be used in place of traditional floral centerpieces. A variety of breads and cheeses in a basket decorated with twine and a handful of flowers provide a delectable centerpiece. Alternatively, French goodies such as meringue, nougat, and oreillettes can fill the basket. Two candles–one on either side of the centerpiece–amidst layers of fine linens set off the centerpiece perfectly and further enhance the French countryside theme.
“Edible centerpieces are a unique concept that may be used in place of traditional floral centerpieces. A variety of breads and cheeses in a basket decorated with twine and a handful of flowers provide a delectable centerpiece. Alternatively, French goodies such as meringue, nougat, and oreillettes can fill the basket. Two candles—one on either side of the centerpiece–amidst layers of fine linens set off the centerpiece perfectly and further enhance the French countryside theme.”
Use Linens as the Canvas for Each Table Display
Table linens with attractive patterns, designs, and colors set the stage for a warm and inviting French countryside-inspired gathering. The southern region of France is known for cotton prints in bold colors, jacquards, and toile. Thus, the most commonly found tablecloths display an array of patterns, with combinations of large stripes, florals, and other intricate designs. Choosing just one design for all the tablecloths may make the settings look too uniform. Instead, select a variety of tablecloths in a prevailing color scheme, but featuring different patterns. This will highlight the wide range of designs typical in the south of France and will also lend a whimsical flair to the party. Ideal tablecloths to be used may also feature patterns of mustard flowers. They normally come in a striking medley of colors, so be careful in selecting tablecloths that are in keeping with the theme, decorations, tableware, and the color palette of the occasion.
Set Out French-inspired Dinnerware
Far from being a mere functional element of a table, the right dinnerware can also enhance the ambiance of the event. Their color, texture, and pattern play a major part in complementing the perfect countryside table display. Dinner plates, glassware, and silverware bearing the traditional fleur-de-lis are a clever way to reflect the occasion’s French influence. These can be laid atop ivory placemats–the solid, neutral color of which will provide a calming departure from the vibrant colors of the table setting. As another option, the countryside feel of the celebration can be intentionally played up with stoneware plates glazed in vivid colors or handpainted with floral designs. After finding a stylish design for the dinnerware, adding other decorative items can bring in just the right touch of charm.
Add Elegance to Place Cards
Although place cards serve the practical function of keeping guests organized, they can be given a decorative twist as well. A gilded gold leaf frame, for example, can add an elegant surprise amidst the countryside charm. Rather than merely displaying a table number, this frame may contain French-inspired messages or romantic French poetry written in graceful script, with the English translation included. Each frame may also contain the name of each table–aptly French-inspired names of artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Matisse; French composers and writers; or even locales like Brittany, Normandy, and Burgundy. Trivia on France or photographs of famed sites can even make the frames a conversation piece for guests. As a finishing touch, the frame may be decorated with a single flower laid at its base or with a satin ribbon tied around one corner.
From eye-catching centerpieces to carefully-chosen finishing touches, arranging the right combination of table decorations sets the perfect mood for a party inspired by the warmth and charm of the French countryside.