During the holidays we tend to entertain a larger crowd. Whether 20, 50 or more, we're often scrambling around looking for additional pieces of stemware, cutlery, serving dishes, plates, bowls, etcetera... In some cases, and for a much larger crowd you may be better off calling your local party rental store, unless you plan on entertaining a larger crowd often. Then you may welcome the idea of buying some pieces inexpensively, in bulk. For this you may want to visit a local restaurant equipment warehouse, even - dare I say - a big box store like Ikea. I happen, actually, to adore Ikea for certain things - extra wine glasses, salad bowls (the one picture above is from Ikea) glass bowls, white plates... This is a perfect solution for those who entertain a larger group often, or who plan to this is much more economical than renting items every time you need them. The only downside? You have to do your own dishes!
For the midsize crowd I prefer to use my own place settings, whether I am serving a more formal sit down meal or a more casual buffet-style. When I need to fill in a few pieces I love to head to my local Goodwill and consignment stores. Have you ever been to yours and really looked around? It's quite the experience and there are quite an assortment of goods. If you look closely, you'll find a few gems - some even worth a pretty penny. I happen to prefer pieces that have a vintage feel, and tell a story. Since my everyday pieces are ivory, basically anything goes - I can mix and match them with whatever I'm in the mood to. I happen to love to mix colors and patterns. There's really so much that can be done with minimal effort. If you don't have enough place settings you can mix and match - You can do this with plates, silverware and napkins. You'll find pieces with character and charm. Layer on patterns and colors to create depth, or go simply with an all white or ivory table.
I fell in love with the Depression ware above. At $1.00 a piece I had to snatch a few of them up. They're quite small and don't hold a lot but are perfect for holding smaller items like nuts and olives. They're also perfect for individual desserts, like ice cream, crumbles, trifles and puddings
There's no reason why your glasses all have to match up. There's something fun and festive about all the different widths and sizes. The different colored stickers reflect the different prices. On certain days the red stickers are half off, on others the blue or the yellow ones...
I fell in love with these plates. There were three - one in black, red and the blue above. I wanted all three but the red one had a pretty significant chip on it. Even though the pattern was the same on all of them, it doesn't need to be. I plan to head back soon to see if I can find some similar pieces. These plates, by the way, were marked at $5 a piece but ended up costing me just $2.50 a piece.
Above the Depression ware glass was the perfect vehicle for the spreadable herbed cheese.
And the olives....
Above, my Goodwill finds with my Williams-Sonoma platter, Crate & Barrel Portsmouth plates, antique silverware
Add some heirloom plates to the mix and you've created a very interesting table.
I didn't buy these but they were remarkable. Heavy wrought iron and gorgeous. At $175 what a bargain for the table and 4 chairs. Oh I wish I had had a car that was big enough to transport these back to my home!