Tablescape: MLK Day Large Group Tablesetting

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If you have received the assignment of decorating for a Martin Luther King Day meal–be it a breakfast, a luncheon or a dinner for your church or community group, you probably have a small budget and short timeline. Check out these ideas for easy decorations you could try.

Our downtown church serves lunch to the needy every Monday, so since Martin Luther King Day is always on Monday, we offer a meal and a short service to commemorate the day. For a number of years, I have provided the table decorations to brighten the hall and visually remind our guests about the strong values Dr. King embodied.

I began by covering all the tables in our chapel which we use as a fellowship hall. Then I used red construction paper as placemats at each placesetting. At each place, I put a Martin Luther King quotation printed on a flag print postcard. I found these postcards at my local office supply store. However, you can just as easily use white paper or cardstock to make cards. We used plastic flatware rolled in white napkins, but patriotic napkins and real flatware would work as well. The beverages and glasses were placed at a separate serving station for guests to pour their choice of drinks.

For centerpieces, I used white glossy cub-size shopping bags as the bases for another Martin Luther King quotation which I taped on both sides (so guests on both sides of the table can read it) and stuffed with royal blue tissue paper for color. I alternated the white bags with blue ones which held white tissue paper.

I found these Dr. King messages on the Internet as well as the clipart. The messages were printed on white cardstock on my home computer printer. Paper is too flimsy to stand up well.At the end of the meal you can save any leftover postcards and placemats, and the shopping bags and tissue paper can be folded flat to use another time. Make changes that suit your event–the color scheme, the quotations, whatever makes the event yours. Enjoy!


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