Lush sprigs of evergreen, pyramids built of sugar cubes, gold bordered menu cards, tabletop statuettes modeled after your host… such are the dinner party decorations that George Carroll illustrated in The Art of Dinner Giving. This little booklet, published in 1880, showcases some of the most elaborate and festive dinners held up until that point. Carroll also gives clever tips on hosting a successful dinner, such as placing the most “gifted conversationalists” at the center of the table to optimize entertainment!
While your holiday dinner party might not be as extravagant as a 19th century banquet, there are certainly ways create a special experience for your guests. One way to elevate a dinner party is to incorporate engraved menu cards to highlight the cuisine; this simple and personalized addition enhances the elegance of each table setting. Similarly, place cards with guests’ names either professionally calligraphed or handwritten by the host adds a personal and refined touch.