Tablescape: Family Reunion Tablesetting

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If your extended family is planning a get-together this summer, a meal will surely be part of the gathering, If you all are meeting in a venue where family members will be setting and decorating the dining tables, check out this simple family reunion tablesetting for ideas you might adapt.

We often have family reunions at our river cottage since water activities like swimming, boating and fishing are available. Since we have a large family, our reunions are frequently of just two immediate families, so we number about 30-40 people with children and grandchildren. When meal time rolls around, we usually have fried chicken purchased in quantity from a local restaurant and all the other dishes have been brought by family members.

Since summer and family reunions have an all-American feel, I chose to use red, white and blue as my color scheme. The wide kitchen counter serves as a great buffet table and I covered it with a navy vinyl tablecloth with tiny white stars on it.  The basket of flatware rolled up in red and navy bandanas sports a metal Family Reunion sign I found years ago and knew I had to have.

We have a round table in the corner of the kitchen which we usually use as a drink station. I covered with a matching navy vinyl tablecloth with tiny white stars. I bought a number of these years ago at Walmart knowing that they would be useful in many situations and they have been. I used a centerpiece on this drink table like the ones I used on the dining tables.

The two rectangular dining tables seat six and are usually used by the adult members of the family. The children usually choose to eat outdoors on the deck at the tables out there or on the steps facing the water. I covered the tables with two navy vinyl tablecloths that have traditional paisley bandana borders. Remember that I used red and navy bandanas as napkins–they were chosen to tie in with these tablecloths.

I added placemats to jazz up the plain navy tabletops, because family members would be getting their plates, flatware and napkins at the buffet counter. I used red copy paper and a red, white and blue starred bordered specialty paper to make two-tiered placemats for color.

We are a casual family, so I knew we didn’t need fancy centerpieces. Thus, I went with another
all-American icon for a simple centerpiece–apples! I used chipwood farm baskets full of red apples, each with a sign attached to a bbq skewer. The message on thecardstock sign, which I created and printed using my home computer
and printer, said, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the family tree.”

I  bought a bag of brown paper shreds from a discount store’s party department to use in the chipwood  baskets for filler and interest, and made sure to put a few of the apples on the table beside the baskets to play on the “falling from the family tree” idea.

When your family gathers this summer, consider an all-American color scheme and a simple centerpiece. The most important thing is to have fun together and to enjoy!

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