How to Set Up a Gorgeous Buffet Table for Your Holiday Party
Sure, holiday decorations are nice (and so pretty), but let’s be real: It’s not a party without festive food and drink. A buffet table allows guests to flow through the food line — perfect for a casual gathering. Want to create your own? Follow these tips for success.
Find the Right Spot to Set Up Your Table
Food tables are kinda like real estate: that is, all about location, location, location. You want an out-of-the-way spot that still allows for an entry and exit point. Skip spots like a kitchen island that create a bottleneck for a large group.
Dress Up a Temporary Table
You don’t need a dining room or even a buffet table to make this party setup work. We used a fold-up party table topped with a covering made from a dropcloth (!!!) and a small, hemmed piece of gorgeous marbled fabric.
Create a Starting Spot
Placing the plates and napkins at one end of the table creates a clear entry point. Copper string lights inside a footed cloche draw attention to the beginning of the line.
Since plates of food tend to be, well, flat, we placed food atop pieces with varying heights. Here, wooden chargers prop up potted plants and succulents, which are more affordable and longer-lasting than cut flowers. Footed pedestal servers are a great option, too. If your serving dish supply is low, use cardboard boxes or overturned pots covered with wrapping paper or fabric as a base for dishes of food.
Label Your Wares
Quiet cries of “What is this?” with custom-made food labels. Keep it super-simple with pieces of card stock or stick-on labels, or make these adorable twig place card holders with paint and a little copper wire.
Pick a Color Palette
Pick a palette that corresponds with the hues you’re showcasing at your party. Since we used a lot of plum, turquoise and metallics at our party, we added bright accents — like these rustic potted celosia from the HGTV HOME plant collection — in those same hues.
Even the food matches! Here, we used red and golden beets in this rustic, savory galette.
Mix Store-Bought and Homemade Items
We mixed homemade galettes and a handmade cheese plate with store-bought cheese, crackers and garnishes. Consider how much you can realistically cook beforehand: If you’re strapped for time, consider equally-delicious ready-made options.