Christmas Tablescaping Tips from Stylist Extraordinaire Tara O’Connor

We were overjoyed when PR Guru and event specialist Tara O’Connor agreed to share her tablescaping tips and tricks with our readers for the festive season. Tara is a lady that oozes style and finesse in everything she turns her had to and her enviable style flows effortlessly throughout every facet of her life.

For me tablescapes are the perfect way to decorate and celebrate for memorable occasions with family and friends.

Having worked as an event planner for over 20 years which includes being a party stylist and creating beautiful tables. It is something I’ve always loved doing and I love to pull from my experience planning events to creating really special events at home. Many of us are new to tablescaping thanks to spending more time at home this year. A tablescape is simply a blanket term that combines your table’s centerpiece and place settings, or the overall decoration of your table. It should elevate your entertaining experience and doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

I start planning my Christmas table months in advance by picking up linen and accessories. This year I wanted to keep it chic and subtle and didn’t want a lot of colour – just greens, golds and white. I always start with my flowers and I’ve chosen a green garland in lieu of flowers from https://www.thefoliageflorist.com/.  I love it as it is long and low. It’s really important to make sure your guests can see each other on the table. There is nothing worse than talking to flowers for the duration of a dinner.

I normally use a tablecloth or runner on my table at Christmas but this year decided to show the glass top off. I picked up my placemats in Marrakech last year and the napkins are from Zara Home. Over the years I’ve collected a lot of linen and accessories for my tables.  Where ever we holiday you will find me searching out table décor that’s unique and linen for my tables.

Charger plates are great to use especially at Christmas.  I like to layer each place setting and start a place mat, then charger or a small placemat like I have done here and then add a starter plate.  Napkins are either in a ring or in the centre with a menu in a nice fold. Papier.com is my go to website to print menus and place name cards.  They are great quality and have a super selection. 

I like to serve a starter as a sharing plate so I call on SallyAnn.ie who makes the most divine Antipasto Platter to help me when it’s a larger number of guests. Although not sure we are allowed sharing plates anymore so this year it might have to be individual plates. 

When we got married our guests kindly gifted us beautiful Louise Kennedy crystal glasses and Marc Jacobs Waterford china which I’ve used for my table today. I always advise friends and clients to do a wedding list as now every time we entertain I know our friends and family bought us such beautiful gifts that we use time and time again. I don’t leave my crystal or silverware in the cupboard to collect dust it gets used all the time.

I love to have candles on a dinner table night or day.  I leave the scented ones to light after food is served but like to tier candles and mix between dinner and pillar candles. I got these glass candle holders in Helen Turkington as well as the tea light holders. The brass candle holders were an auction find. 

I love to add place names for guests and I bought these ones in Helen Turkington’s a few year ago. The last accessory at Christmas is always a cracker. And yes we will all end up wearing the hats!

The most important tip I can impart is to make sure the lighting is just perfect for dinner, candlelight preferable with some subtle room lighting and let’s hope the sun shine’s for Christmas lunch.

FEATURE BY: TARA O’CONNOR

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