Have you ever noticed that merely taking the time to set the table for dinner elevates the entire evening? Family and friends come to the table feeling exactly the way you want them to feel – special! With just a few added details, your table can become the backdrop for your meal, your music, and your conversation. 

It’s all just so simple, or elegant, or charming, or fun – play with it! Setting the table is one of my favorite parts of planning a dinner for guests and family. I start by thinking about how I want the evening to feel, who I might want to celebrate, and, most obviously at Crosswinds, what ginormous amounts of food will make my crew happy, full, and content. Massive quantities are involved, of course, but I also want it to all look pretty on the table and on their plates! 

Just lately, I had the privilege and fun of planning a surprise birthday dinner for my eldest daughter. The siblings and their others, as well as guests from out of town, were all pretty much “in” on the surprise, and we took the “it takes a village” mentality to pull the dinner off far beyond my highest expectations. Besides the obvious planning, it started with setting the table………

I have always thought that it’s much more fun when everyone pitches in to make the goodness happen, and I think all 11 of the friends and family (including 5 first-timers to the group) joined in the fun. My special girls Callie and Brianna set the table. Yep! They took over after I gave them the linens and the candlesticks. They set the most beautiful table! It was charming, but rustic – VERY Door County! 

My very awesome “mixologist” put together amazing cocktails – concocted especially for the evening to toast the birthday girl. They were amazingly gorgeous in the glasses and on the tray, and gave us all one last taste of summer with cucumber and basil. While he was mixing, my son was taking over as grillmaster while I worked with the girls in the kitchen. One of our newbies got serious about building the bonfire to end all birthday bonfires, and it was literally a work of art! The other friends? They kept the birthday girl at the Stabbur Bar in Sister Bay before it was time for the “SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

The rest of the story? It was magical! It was everything I hoped for when it comes to celebrating someone who you love so very much! The music was Motown, the wine was poured, the toasts were made, the food was AMAZING, the cake was brilliant, the conversation never stopped, and the newbies became treasured friends in the matter of a few heartbeats. I, for one, was filled with gratitude and love for this fabulous group of people who came many miles and hours to celebrate my daughter. 

I know what you’re thinking……………. WHO DID THE DISHES? My son lead the charge in the kitchen where the tunes kept coming, and the wine kept flowing. The unbelievable part about all of that is that I don’t have a dishwasher………. I learned years ago that great conversations abound while washing dishes with friends and children. When we moved in, I took the dishwasher out! Since the party was now inside, the dishes were done quickly, and then off we all went to the birthday bonfire – more music, more conversation and laughs, and plenty of hugs before we all toddled off to our respective beds for the evening. 

So……………….. Tell the truth…………….. How often do you set the table……. Every day?…….. Once a week?…………….. For special guests or occasions?……………………. Never??

Go ahead…………….. Set the table! See what kind of magic and memories it will put in your life! I promise you will be so happy that you did!