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When hosting a dinner party, the two most important things to keep in mind are as follows: one, food is the star of the show, and two: your place settings are the supporting actors.

There’s nothing worse than spending hours perfecting your roast chicken only to realize, when the guests are minutes away, that all you have to serve your meals on are your everyday plates and placemats. Struggling as to where to start when it comes to the mise en place? Fear not: today we’re sharing our favorite tips for hosting a soiree that is both inexpensive and impeccable.

Tip #1: Rent, Don’t Buy

Dreamily browsing for homeware and feeling a bit of sticker shock? Us too. Lucky for those of us not quite ready to make the investment in a full dinnerware set, there’s Social Studies. An impeccably curated entertaining emporium, Social Studies offers a “Rent” option, which includes full table settings for the night, priced out per guest. For our fellow maximalists: LaDoubleJ is on the menu. For those favoring a sleeker look, there’s the Dark Nordic, and minimalists will rejoice at the Gossamer option. Hosting a party for little ones? They’ve got multiple themed sets available as well – starting at just $22 per guest.

Tip #2: Scent Sparingly

One expensive luxury you don’t need for your dinner party: scented candles. Ninety percent of what is perceived as taste is actually smell, which means that when your guests walk through the door to your home, you’ll want the sweet scents of the Alison Roman recipe you prepared wafting, not that of a cloying scented candle.

Instead, buy a 20-pack of votives ($7.99 to a scented candle’s $60+) and place them on top of your table runner. With twenty candles burning, it’s likely you won’t need to turn on your home’s lights, giving your table—and your guests—a beautiful glow.

Tip #3: Experiment with Flowers

Fresh flowers often feel like a necessary expense for a well-set table. And while we do agree that there’s nothing quite like a beautiful floral centerpiece, you don’t have to purchase a fresh one every single time you host. Dried floral bouquets (for LA locals, our favorites are from HERE) are often equally beautiful, and far more cost-efficient: you can reuse them time and time again.

Tip #4: Rethink the Tablecloth

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a tablecloth to set a tasteful table. In fact, you don’t even need a tablecloth to set a tasteful table. For a smaller group of guests, we love using this knit beach blanket in lieu of the traditional linens. This casual cream option, handwoven in Ethiopia, is a blank canvas without being boring. Throw a dried floral bouquet in the center of the table, pair with the Social Studies set, et voilà: the perfect table at a fraction of the price.


Show us your mise en place by tagging @casadesuna and using #casadesuna on social media.

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