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place cards 1One current entertaining trend we LOVE is the return of the place card!

Especially if you tend to run with the same group of friends, Susie always huddles with Julie, the Murphy’s never separate, husbands Tim, Gary and Joe find a way to sit together and talk golf all night. Conversely if you are having a party where people don’t know each other and feel left out on the end or between two old friends that don’t make an effort to include them. One of the easiest ways to encourage engaging conversation and discover things your friends might not have known about each other is with place cards. Use your imagination and your printer to create innovative name cards so no one minds they aren’t sitting with their usual partners.  You also need to put some thought into who you seat with who to make sure the conversation keeps lively.

place cards 2A great addition to a place card is a lovely printed menu that also serves as a memory of a great meal.

Utilize the place card as a tag on a party favor.  Again, mix and match a unique font and various textures on both the card and the attaching element to create a mood that goes with the meal.

Cleverly incorporate the place card onto part of the actual meal. If you are serving a soup or dish where a french baguette is the perfect accompaniment, this clever wrap is sure to be a fun attention grabber.

Think about incorporating the place card into the napkin ring.  A special thought and your guests name really adds a special touch.

place card 3Attach the place card to a flower or herb sprig and place on the napkin. Create a rustic image with twine and a basic tag, or try colored cord and a white card with bold block letters.  Use supplies that you have around your home like old stamps or colored pencils. Don’t hesitate to just experiment. Have Fun.

The lowcountry is a shell collectors dream.  But what do you do when you realize you’ve acquired baskets of them? One clever use is to turn them into beach themed place cards.  If you’re more artistic you could try doing more elaborate painting on sand dollars and oyster shells to create a take home favor as well.

Who doesn’t like starting a meal of with a sweet treat? Remember as Jacques Torres famously said, “Life is short – eat desert first!” A brightly colored macaroon or tiny cupcake sets the mood for a fun meal, with surprises ahead.

There is no limit to what you can use to incorporate into a place card.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money either, look around the house, raid your sewing drawer, your wrapping box, your grown children’s small toy collections, your garden, Christmas ornaments, mini bottles – use your imagination and then put together a seating chart that ensures people will not only talk at the meal but about your meal as the fete of the year!