Caribbean Queen – One Table, Three Looks

The good people at LinenTablecloth.com were so kind as to send me some great linens – including a fabulous summertime color called Caribbean – to create a tablescape. I have been an avid LinenTablecloth.com shopper since discovering them two years ago. They have a vast selection of colors and sizes that are priced just right. (Why rent when you can buy outright for about the same price or less, right?) Thanks to their generosity, here’s one table going from budget-friendly ($) to mid-priced ($$) to extravagant ($$$) using the same linens & place setting. All of these tablescapes would be great for an Asian-inspired or tropical-themed wedding reception, rehearsal dinner, birthday, bon voyage party, or any summer soirée.
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Three Table collage

Upper right: The Extravagant ($$$)
Lower right: The Budget-Friendly ($)
Left: Meeting in the Middle ($$)

The brilliant Caribbean blue tablecloth was my inspiration for this table that can boast great decor ranging from a relative little to a lot of $$$.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Budget-friendly tropical theme tablescapeLet’s start with the most modestly-priced of our three tablescapes.

Linen & placemat collageEach of the three tablescapes begin with a 48″ table (seats up to 6 depending on the chair and charger size you select), covered in a full-length white (108″) round tablecloth that is topped with an 85″ square Caribbean blue linen and fuchsia satin table runner (14″ x 108″), all from LinenTablecloth.com. I like to use white with brilliant tropical colors to offer a little balance. The deep green of the monstera leaf placemat from Z Gallerie is a neat contrast to the brighter colors, and it adds visual depth and texture. The placemat could be eliminated if you’re looking to cut your budget a little bit deeper. (TIP: Another linen look to consider is to eliminate the runner, add a 90″ round fuchsia linen on top of the white, and keep the 85″ square Caribbean top. This look is a little more pricey, but is a lush layered look as seen HERE.)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Place setting for tropical-themed tablescapeThe place setting is the same for each of our three tables. It starts with a white faux crocodile charger from Bed Bath & Beyond, topped with a bright orange dinner plate from the Dollar Tree (a.k.a. Deal$ is some areas) and a beautiful tropical print melamine salad plate from Pier 1.

Flatware & rim shot collageFaux bamboo flatware from JC Penney Outlet lends more tropical flair. In these photos you can really see the texture of the flatware and the faux crocodile charger. Bamboo trees and crocodiles are found throughout the tropics, so I thought these to be good choices for this theme. Of course, a smooth white charger and unembellished flatware would work as well. (Have you seen that reusable bamboo cutlery sold at places like Target, World Market, and on Amazon.com? Perfect for this setting!) TIP: Having trouble finding white chargers? Spray paint inexpensive acrylic chargers from places like Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

Napkin collageVivid fuchsia napkins from LinenTablecloth.com pick up colors in the salad plate and complement the table runner. The fun parrot napkin rings from Z Gallerie are a bright white which, again, adds contrast.

Mini martini glassesNever think for one moment that you have to always use the “correct” glass for casual table settings. Go for glassware that looks great and complements the overall table design. Here, a juicy orange squatty martini glass from Old Time Pottery sits alongside a mini with a clear bowl and Caribbean blue base from Pier 1.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One:Budget-friendly tropical centerpiece using white coral, dyed blue starfish with bright pink plumeria

Coral & starfish collageThe budget-friendly centerpiece is comprised of large white sea coral from Pottery Barn dotted with large and small blue-dyed starfish from Hobby Lobby. Small Caribbean blue glass vases from Hobby Lobby hold clusters of fuchsia-colored plumeria. This easy-to-make, inexpensive centerpiece offers lots of color and texture, and it sits low for easy dinner conversation among guests. (You can find large seashells of all kinds at craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels. TIP: If the color isn’t to your liking, follow instructions from my blog buddy, Babs, at Upstairs-Downstairs for painting great-looking seashells.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Medium budget tropical-themed tablescapeMoving on to our mid-priced tablescape where the linens and place settings remain the same.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Mid-priced tropical-themed centerpiece with white parrots from Z Gallerie, white coral, blue starfish and fuchsia plumeria

Fuchsia plumeria blossoms in Caribbean blue glass vase

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Tropical-themed tablescape with white Z Gallerie parrots as part of the centerpieceThe primary difference in our mid-priced tablescape is the centerpiece. The large white sea coral, starfish, and plumeria blossoms all remain, but a lofty pair of white parrots from Z Gallerie are added to the mix. The parrots (previously used HERE) bring more white into the centerpiece as well as adding height and an exquisite textural element.

IFOur third and final tablescape is a lot more dramatic. Drama, of course, often = $$$

IF

Floral collageThe nearly 5-ft. tall floral centerpiece is in a slender white bamboo vase from Z Gallerie. The vase is slender enough for guests to still carry on unencumbered conversation. The girth is dispatched to the top of the arrangement using large monstera leaves, sword fern, philodendron, spikes, orange medinilla, and fuchsia-colored plumeria.

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Tropical tablescapeThe up side to tall, top-heavy centerpieces is that they look fantastic and add more drama than an episode of “Scandal”. 😉 The down side, however, is that they can be very sensitive to motion. Wind and inadvertent bumps against the table are a tall centerpiece’s nastiest foes. Opt for a lower or more bottom-heavy centerpiece if your event is to be held outdoors where wind is always a possibility. TIP: ALWAYS weight down your vase with sand, stones, or some other medium that will help to steady it since you can’t have a cute Wind Watcher at every table like I did for this photo shoot! 🙂 (See that breeze whipping those linens around??!)

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One: Three Tropical-themed Centerpieces collageSo there you have it! One table, same linens and place settings, different centerpieces ranging from $ – $$$. If the centerpiece or place setting elements used in these tablescapes is still beyond your budget parameters, consider other wallet-friendly or DIY project alternatives.

NOTE TO BRIDES: This is a good example of how you might do 3 different designs in your reception room that all complement one another. Consider doing 1/3 high, 1/3 mid-size, and 1/3 modest. That way, your room has drama up high but doesn’t look like a forest!

Other tropical-themed tablescapes on this site:
Tropicana
Flamingos in Paradise
Hot Tropical
Summer Breeze
Surf & Turf Dinner
Love & Orchids
“Old Navy Seafood Cruise”

I am so happy to once again join The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday”, Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!”, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday”, and The Home Girl for Festive Friday Fiesta. Check them out!

Diwali My Way

The extent to which I am familiar with Indian culture is that which I’ve seen in movies like “Bend It Like Beckham”. Last year, though, I found a blog called Rainbow – The Colours of India hosted by my blogger buddy Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee (Mukherjee). Sanghamitra is an avid traveler and photographer who captures some of the most beautiful images I’ve ever seen. She has become my personal version of National Geographic. 🙂 I’m in awe of people who can just pack a suitcase and hit the road (or skies, or water) without reservation or hesitation. I’m the consummate homebody, so I live vicariously through those brave, happy-go-lucky souls.

Sanghamitra’s photos of the bright colors of India, along with her posts last Fall on Diwali (popularly known as the “festival of lights“), inspired me to try my hand at a table that celebrates the festival which generally begins in October/November. This Diwali-inspired tablescape is by no means “traditional” or “authentic”, but it is my attempt to capture the colors, smells, tastes and feel of a country I admire but will never see in person. I think it fits right in with Cuisine Kathleen’s “Destination Challenge” this week!
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An abundance of rich, bright colors starts with the hot pink overlay.

 

Each place setting begins with a gold-leafed glass charger. The amber glass dinner plates are from Pier 1, and the 222 Fifth “Ornamental Scroll” salad plates were a Home Goods find a couple of years ago.

Sheer gold napkins from Pier 1 are cinched with tiny child-size bangles purchased at a local market called Namaste India. It’s a fun place to shop with lots of different foods, clothing, jewelry and other items unique to the Indian culture.

Shiny gold flatware works well against the brilliant colors.

A combination of opulent glassware includes gold-embellished tumblers that I bought at TJ Maxx in several different base colors (purple, red, turquoise) including the green pictured here. The purple gold-rimmed wine glasses were a Pier 1 find many years ago, and the leggy amber flute is from World Market. I love every opportunity to mix and match glassware!

The centerpiece that extends the length of the table is a mix of various components. Hot pink rose balls sit center stage atop a gold vase. Flanking the vases are graceful red gem-studded gold Buddhas that I found at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft store a couple of years ago. Multi-colored glass votive holders dot the rich swath of red & gold silk fabric placed diagonally and allowed to puddle onto the floor for dramatic effect.

The buffet behind the table boasts colors that complement in the flowers, candles and other details.

Spices commonly used in Indian cooking are as beautiful as they are tasty. Coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, ginger, mustard seed, paprika and turmeric are just a few of the wonderfully fragrant spices that add zesty flavor.

Cinnamon, star anise, and fragrant bay leaf are other popular spices used in Indian cooking that produce a special flavor. Finish off the evening with a fabulous libation made with blue curacao liqueur.

I carried the hot pink color to the buffet via a small arrangement of peonies and a more imposing bouquet of calla lilies in a brass vase from India.

Other Asian-inspired posts on this site:
Mandarin Bling
Copper Zen
Peaceful Peonies
Year of the Rabbit
Zen Garden
Mikasa Daylight Giveaway

I enjoyed my week off and got a lot done, but I’m glad to be back with all of you in Blogland! Please join me at Cuisine Kathleen’s for “Let’s Dish!” and at Susan’s place for Tablescape Thursday again this week!