Monday, May 21, 2012

What Size Centerpiece?

Ever been to dinner and the centerpiece was so high you couldn’t see across the table? Or it was so large there were leaves in your soup?  Even if your centerpiece is stunning, if it isn’t functional --- which means it fits into the plan of the table, it can ruin the whole mood of the table, and the harmony of the tablescape is out the window. So, here is  a bit about centerpieces.
Mimic the shape of the table.  A round table, is well suited to a round arrangement,a  rectangular table is best with an oval or rectangular arrangement.
Clarify the type of food service to determine the space available for the arrangement on dining tables. Family service will necessitate room for serving bowls, for example, plate service will not.
Choose the style of table setting before finalizing the arrangement size. Formal style requires several glasses and side plates per person and may leave little room for a  centerpiece.
Select the height of the arrangement as below the sight line of guests on opposite sides of the table if the table is narrow enough for them to talk to each other, or above the sight line if the table is too wide for conversation.
Set the table with all the required plates, bowls, glasses and stem-ware and test the size of various vessels in the available space. Stand back and look at the table and possible arrangement size and if it is pleasing to your eye, it is probably the right size.
Rule of thumb is to start with a 12-inch vessel  for a table 54 inches wide and let the arrangement extend 2 to 4 inches past the vessel.
Dave Barritt, master florist at Salmon Arm Florist, shares that eye level is approximately the distance from the elbow to the tip of the fingers. If preparing an arrangement away from the table where it will be used, set your elbow on the work surface, extend your fingers, and use this span as an approximation of the sight line level.

A tall arrangement will be less likely to tip over if the height of the arrangement is less than the circumference at its thickest part. This last bit of information comes from my days as a bartender. If the glass is taller than it is around, it will fall over easily. Remember Singapore Slings? Like that.
I recently received some new foam for outdoor cushions. Visit the Archives at my website for more information.

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