Preparing casual, make-ahead foods for a holiday buffet certainly makes entertaining easier on the cook. But serving a large group can pose another problem when you realize you don’t have enough matching tableware!
Don’t panic. You can create a wonderfully festive look by blending the colors and styles of dinner plates, silverware and napkins you do have.
1. Present your festive holiday pattern with some solid-colored dishes (as shown at top). Or dust off your formal china and use it alongside your everyday dishes. Give guests the impression that you planned this eclectic look and alternate the patterns when stacking the plates on the buffet table.
2. Tie the look together with coordinating colored cloth napkins. By making Cutlery Napkin Bundles (at right), you can also disguise mismatched silverware. For a more finished look, consider arranging the cutlery napkin bundles in a pretty basket or box (see top photo) instead of just laying them out on the table.
3. If you do a lot of group entertaining, you may want to pick up extra plates, silverware and napkins throughout the year. You can find some real bargains at end-of-season sales and on the clearance tables. Play it safe and select items within the same color schemes. That way, you can mix and match things in a variety of ways. Be creative and don’t worry if the tableware doesn’t match exactly!