With indoor dining no longer an option, chances are you’ll be enjoying your holiday meals and cocktails exclusively at home this month. To create a ‘cheat sheet to chic’ for the entertaining rookies in our midst, we called upon Two Hosts; a new NYC-based venture from a duo who are combining their respective expertise in fashion design, bridal planning, interiors, and menu consulting to teach New Yorkers how to throw a boutique-style gathering like a pro. With a nod to safety and current guidelines, founders Melissa Deane and Maisie-Kate Keane styled their holiday tablescape at the beautiful Maman in Greenpoint to show us exactly how it’s done.
Bring the outdoors in
Add nature to your table with pine cones, evergreens, and even sprigs of the herbs and fruit you plan on cooking with. Those New Yorkers who are fortunate enough to have a back garden should take advantage of all those branches and greenery at their disposal, or you can check out your local farmer’s market and Christmas tree stand. Here, we’re using blackberries on the table, as well as a mix of seasonal greenery. So simple and elegant! For sourcing flora and fauna, we love to support local and visit the flower district in Manhattan. (Pro tip: if you’re in need of a professional, check out Carly at BloomBar!)
Incorporate vintage pieces
It really doesn’t have to break the bank in order to be beautiful! You’ll often be surprised at how much you already have at home. Now is the time to dig out any family heirlooms, like your grandparents’ china. Adding these sentimental pieces adds character and personality to your table and each vintage item tells a story. If you don’t already have a treasure trove of items, head to your nearest vintage or thrift store. Not only are you supporting small, independent businesses during a time of need, but you’ll find an abundance of gems that make your table unique to you and your home. In New York, we always head to Mother of Junk in Williamsburg (a mecca for affordable antiques and silverware), plus the likes of Il Buco Vita, Object Glacé, and Stylish Decor Astoria for tableware, candle holders, and more. And of course, John Derian Company for those extra little special pieces.
Use place cards
Even if it’s only one or two people attending, setting place cards at each plate makes your holiday dinner instantly feel less like any other meal and more like a fancy feast. Place cards are also cute gifts for guests to take away. One way to do this is to place a present on each setting and let the calligraphy gift tag double as the place card (these ones are by Penned by Alice.)
Get creative with your holiday tablecloth
Around the holidays, most home stores tend to have only typical tablecloth options in colors such as green, white, and red. So for a more creative approach, we prefer to go to a fabric store where we can make use of the amazing and unique textile choices. At Two Hosts, we make all of our own custom napkins, tablecloths, and place mats for our clients’ gatherings. Here, we chose this beautiful Alice & Olivia brocade that gives a very elegant and festive feel without being overly over the top. The beauty of buying fabric instead of a tablecloth is that the tablecloth can then become the focal point of your table, rather than just blending into the background.
Use unique ribbons for glass identification
This is something we recently came up with to ensure small dinners are extra COVID-cautious: use different color ribbons to tie at the end of your wine glass as identifiers. You know how it is—it happens all the time when you set your wine glass down next to someone else’s and then you can’t remember which was yours! This small detail makes it foolproof to remember where you left your glass of bubbles.
All photos by Darren Ornitz