Tip #5: Set the table 3 to 4 days ahead. Choose decorative paper plates and napkins or rediscover china, crystal, and flatware tucked in the back of cupboards. Mix and match patterns using a color theme to unite all the pieces.
Centerpieces can range from a standard floral display to a simple bowl of fruit, or an elaborate arrangement stretching down the entire length of the table. I prefer using items that last from year-to-year, such as silk autumn leaf garlands, and filling in with a mixture of fresh fruit, vegetables, small glass containers of flowers, and candles. Ultimately, this approach is visually dramatic, but easy on my budget – an ideal solution. The fresh fruit and vegetables will be used in my meals the following week, one or two sleeves of supermarket flowers are inexpensive, and the silk garland was purchased long ago.