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  • Writer's pictureSusanna Fraser

Styling a Christmas Table



I guess now we are in November it is OK to talk Christmas? A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of planning a collaboration for a Christmas Table styled shoot with fellow small business owners Tanya from Aldcroft Photography and Lizzie from Feast Cookery. Here is how we did it …


Where to Start

When planning any table styling you need somewhere to start to decide on your colour scheme, in the spring and summer months I would probably start with flowers and everything else would follow but in the winter months when the flowers in the garden have pretty much finished, I may use a tablecloth, runner or napkin to start me off.


For this Christmas Table I wanted to avoid traditional green and red but still wanted to give a festive vibe. My starting point was a lovely dusky pink tablecloth with a rustic washed linen feel kindly lent to me by

The Market House, Tring. I decided to bring in deeper pinks, purples and plum for the table centrepiece and accessories. Everything really started coming together when I came across some beautiful plates that reminded me of snowflakes and gorgeous glassware etched with stars kindly lent to me by Cook & Butler, Berkhamsted.


Floral Centrepiece

I used a low plastic tray (H5cm W10cm L42cm), scrunched some chicken wire into a roll, placed it inside the tray and secured it with clear pot tape. This is a sustainable alternative to using floral foam / oasis – please try, it is so easy, can be re-used and won’t harm the environment!


Next add water, please note if you are not preparing this in situ and will need to move it don’t add too much water as it will all spill out when you carry it into position (you can top the water up once you have moved it).

Now for the foliage, I headed to the garden and cut back lots of sprigs of Ivy that still had the pretty seed heads attached, some Eryngium (blue thistle) Conifer for that Christmas smell and I bought a bunch of Eucalyptus and cut it into sprigs.


Simply poke the sprigs of greenery into the chicken wire in the tray and continue until you have covered the base and can’t see any of the plastic tray (remember you will be sitting down looking at this so check what it looks like sitting rather than standing over it). I also foraged some “Old Man’s Beard” from the hedgerows and poked that into either end of the tray to trail onto the table, if you spray this with hairspray it stops it from dropping seeds everywhere. (You can used whatever foliage you have available; other ideas that would work; spruce, pine, pittosporum, hydrangea leaves).


Next for the flowers, from May to October I have a plentiful supply of flowers that I grow, but when it comes to winter, I must rely on flowers from Berkhamsted Market or local florists. You really don’t have to buy loads of flowers, just a few stems to add some pops of colour. I like to have a mixture of shapes so chose some spray Roses and Lisianthus in varying shades of pink, a few stems of Limonium (sea lavender) in deep pink and purple, and a couple of spires of Veronica in purple and pale pink.

Simply poke these into the base through the foliage. To achieve a natural effect, keep in mind how flowers would grow in your garden, cutting the stems to varying lengths and positioning the flowers at different angles, not all bolt upright (remember that guests will need to see each other across the table so check the height of your flowers and make sure you can see through!). Other flowers that should be available closer to Christmas that would be lovely are Anemones (one of my favourites), Ranunculus, Wax Flowers, Hellebores.

With the centrepiece complete now is the time to add candles and accessories.


Candles

I like to use a few candles in complimentary colours, for this table I chose magenta, plum and smoke and used six candlesticks of varying heights, also adding in a few tealights.


Accessories

Try adding some natural accessories to your table, I used pinecones and fresh figs dotted in groups around the centrepiece and near place settings. You could use whatever you like, satsumas as they come or studded with cloves, crab apples, pomegranates, walnuts in their shells – there are no rules just have fun with it!


I also hung a sprig of redcurrants on each champagne flute, for an alternative try floating an edible flower such as viola in the glass or add a raspberry or blackberry to your fizz?



Napkins

My own pale grey linen napkins tied simply with a plum-coloured velvet ribbon worked really well with the tablecloth and beautiful plates. The final touch was a scattering of silver chocolate coins, giving everything a bit of a sparkle (and something to nibble on when setting up)!



Food

The Chocolate Tart with Hazlenuts & Spun Sugar that looks so beautiful in these photos was made by Lizzie at Feast Cookery, it looked stunning on our Christmas Table. I was very happy to be left with an extremely large slice that got devoured a little too quickly!! Lizzie creates her own take on British, seasonal cooking. Combining her knowledge of delicious local ingredients and producers with her passion for simple cookery. Do get in touch with her to find out more.



Photography

Tanya from Aldcroft Photography is responsible for these beautiful images! The difference between the photos I take of my work with an iPhone, and these are just poles apart!!

Tanya specialises in family, wedding and branding photography, and she is SO lovely to work with!


A big thank you to Cook & Butler, Berkhamsted and The Market House, Tring for the loan of items for this shoot, do get in touch or even better pop in to buy some beautiful things for your Christmas Table!








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