How to set a table with dahlias?

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I love setting tables and I love dahlias. It did not take me long to figure out I wanted to start the Autumn season by celebrating it at home with these beautiful flowers. To be honest, I was not always fond of dahlias but there seems to be a worldwide interest in them and you can easily find them in garden centers or online. Although I prefer to see what I buy beforehand and choose the bulbs myself in order to be sure I do not receive dried ones (that has happened to me in the past).

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I still wanted this tablescape to be as colorful as the flowers themselves and it was not easy at first to find a tablecloth that would match these colors together. But after looking in every drawer of the house, I finally found one in bleu canard (duck blue) as it’s known in France. The result was pretty striking! The contrast between these colors enhanced not only the tableware but also every bouquet on the table. 

I wanted to play with accumulation here – having many small bouquets on the table and mixing them with candleholders of slightly different heights and holding candles of different colors. I illustrated the placeholders too because I wanted them to look rustic and fun at the same time. Just before dinner I also quickly drew little menus that guests could bring back home. This is something I love doing as it reminds them of the nice soirée we had and most importantly, what we ate. 

Since it is the beginning of autumn, I wanted to add a few hints of the season with gingham napkins in brown and plates with deer antler patterns. 

But let’s get back to the bouquets. If you want a very fun and lively and colorful table, then do not hesitate to add the various vases you have at home. The shape, the color, the material does not have to be the same. Quite the contrary – it must look authentic and rustic. These were either found in garden centers (some have a lovely selection) or in antique shops. An alternative would also be to use jam jars instead of traditional vases. Guests tend to find it charming and it will add a country feel to your table – just in case they did not already realize it was the theme of your party! 

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With small vases such as the ones I’ve used here, you cannot put too many dahlias in them – maybe three at the most. But, it does not matter. And if you are lucky enough to have the beautiful variety called Café au Lait in the garden then you know how big one head can be. In that case, just put one flower in a vase, it will be enough and will still look very nice. Another reason why I opted for small vases too (well apart from the fact that it is best if you want to see the person in front of you) is that the stems are quite short depending on the variety of dahlia. 

I’ve tried to use color as much as I could here and picked green glassware that also matches the vase and the flowers.  

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I hope this tablescape inspired you and as always, remember that more is better for a table setting even if it does not look structured or nicely put together. Accumulation is key and you can often see some tables that look empty and dull whereas it would have been really easy to add a nice touch of personality to them. In France, we spend quite some time at the table so it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to spend those moments in a beautiful setting, don’t you think?  

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If you want to learn how to make a dahlia wreath, follow this link.

You can see my other tablescapes here.

To learn how to grow dahlias with the RHS, follow this link.

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