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When the chance to hot foot it over to Italy with Cecelina Photography comes your way, you jump in with both feet. This beautiful story came to life in the Tuscan countryside at the most beautiful venue Villa Montanare in Cortona. As featured on Style Me Pretty
This story centers around our bride returning home to her parents house to marry beneath the olive grove. Their home an ancient olive oil farm filled with ancient grinders, stone floors and wooden beams. An intimate and small celebration for her to be at home and close to her childhood joy felt appropriate with elegant glassware and organic calligraphy
I’ve been wanting to share this shoot for so long, because it’s such a fond memory and also because I just ADORE the images from it.
So last year, I spent the day with Dominique Bader Photography, creating a simple dinner party set up for her guests that evening. We made mince pies, had a glorious cake from The Floury and a lot of fun. AND right now I’m here to give you a few tips on designing your winter table but if you’d like further tips on having a stress-free Christmas then head on over to Rock My Style for our feature. You’ll also read below my simple mince pie recipe which I follow yearly. It’s not only something I love to do as it gets me in the spirit but it’s also RIDICULOUSLY easy.
So when thinking about your winter tablescape you want to follow a few tips below along with some super handy shopping suggestions:
1 | When you want to put together a quick dinner party styling for winter time, foliage is your friend. Things like ivy or branches you can forage from your own garden or local forest are great options. Make sure you don’t steal from someones home if you don’t know them!! OR pop to a flower shop and pick up a few stems of something branch like to lay along the table. There’ll be a lot of twig like options right now. Try and stay away from anything glittery!
2 | Declutter. The key to a table lay is it being functional and intentional in it’s beauty. The table is set for people to sit at, drink, eat and chat at. You don’t want too many fussy items that can be knocked over or detract from the function of the dinner party. Simple is always best.
3 | Add candle light! With our shorter days you’ll most likely be dining in the darker hours. You can buy beautiful frosted pillar candles to add texture and beautiful lighting to your table. The candles sit beautifully in-between branches laid through the centre, they also take a while to burn so you won’t need to worry about them running out if dinner goes on for a bit longer as well as you can use them over and over again!
4 | A fabric runner adds movement and softness to a table design. It also gives context to the design of the centre of the table. Even if you want to have a table cloth, consider a simple piece of fabric to bring attention to the centre.
5 | Your normal crockery will be perfect, don’t worry about fancy plates. Consider laying your larger plates down to act as a charger for the rest of your meals.
6 | Simple neutral flowers in old incense bottles are great in added a little floral touch, around winter time there won’t be an abundance of locally grown florals, but you’ll be able to pick up a few beauties
I love adding coasters under water glasses, it might sound silly but I feel it gives the glass grounding and adds to a table setting. A considered thought has gone into using a beautiful marble coaster. These coasters are my favourite and always used at dinner parties. They work for any style of event and work through spring, summer right until winter.
The mother land of crockery, napkins and extra details. Remember to keep things simple but buying new addition for your dinner party will excite you about setting the table. Because sometimes, it can be a little dull can’t it!? A textured napkin against a neutral table linen or runner is a favourite choice of mine OR setting a stunning place mat can make a table even more inviting. It also gets you feeling the table is special when guests arrive rather than look like any old weekday dinner 😉
Pop on down to your local fabric shop to get a cut of around 3m of a chiffon or crepe to use for your table. It’s a quick an cheap alternative to buying a linen however it will have it’s raw cut edges, something to note! Or if you want to invest in something totally special and to be used multiple times, I recommend a gorgeous cotton runner from Kate Cullen, a stunning choice and she has hand-dyed to the most perfect shades.
This place offers up beautiful and inexpensive options for cake stands and display platters for your food.
Old incense or candle bottles |
A slightly random tip of mine is saving up old bottles from incenses you may have had. You’ll see in the photos I used old Dr Vranjee’s vases (which you can buy from Amara) for flowers. Wash them up and use them for home display of flowers or simply just to create a little additional detail to your home. Whilst you may not go through many of these beautiful scent bits, you can take the time to collect a variety of beautiful re-useable items to pick and chose from whenever someone comes to visit
BAKING MINCE PIES
I quite enjoy baking, I don’t claim to bake often nor that well, but a few recipes over the years I have used again and again and always achieved good/great results. That didn’t happen the day I made mince pies with Dominique, but that might have been because we were laughing SO much and enjoying each others company…
Either way, I thought I’d share with you my mince pie recipe which (usually) creates impeccable, delicious and scrumptious mince pies! It’s just an easy BBC one
1. You want to place the flour and butter together in a bowl and rub together to create a crumb consistency. Then add the sugar and 1 egg and mix together to make a sticky dough.
2. Tip the ingredients out onto a lightly floured surface and fold until it comes together to create a firm dough. Wrap it in cling film and pop in the fridge to cool for about 10minutes.
3. If you’d like, add the satsuma, apple and zest to your jar of mincemeat. I typically don’t do this to make it easy 😉
Pop your oven on to 220C/200C for fan assisted ovens or Gas 7.
4. Roll out your pastry to 3mm thickness and begin cutting the shapes. I use a textured round cutter to create the base, usually with a scalloped edge. You should be able to cut around 12 with left over pastry.
5. Remember to grease your cupcake tin then pop your circular pastry bases in, pressing lightly. Tablespoon your mincemeat into the base and brush the edges with your whisked egg.
6. Re-roll your left over pastry and create your star-shaped tops which you simply pop on top and glaze as well
7. Bake your mince pies for 15 to 20minutes – I usually find 15minutes is enough! then take them out to cool before picking them out of the tray.