Make your Christmas table extra special with a little inspiration from the experts.

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1. Simply romantic


While on a two-year apprenticeship in Provence, stylist Adelaine Breedt of A Little Thing Called was struck by the effortless elegance with which the French entertain. “I learnt that simplicity is often the foundation for a stylish table and this is the approach I took here.”

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The veranda at Langkloof Roses function and wedding venue in Wellington was the setting, and to add a touch of formality, Adelaine arranged traditional rattan-backed chairs around a table draped with a linen overlay. “Linen is light, natural and perfect for summer, but it’s also wonderfully luxurious. I let it puddle on the floor for a sense of extravagance that’s fitting for Christmas.” She also used linen to make napkins and tablemats with pockets for cutlery.

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As a contrast to the simplicity of the table, Adelaine massed proteas together for the centrepiece. “I love the effect of using a lot of the same flower. I used a wide classical urn that could accommodate all the stems and placed it off-centre so that it doesn’t dominate the table.”

2. Summer sparkle


Jono Lawson, manager of Embassy Hill, the Forum Company’s conference and wedding venue in Cape Town, and his team chose a palette of crisp summer greens for this Christmas table. To establish interest and height, they introduced glass cake stands arranged with frosted fruit. “It’s important for guests to be able to see each other and make conversation so we made sure the centrepieces weren’t too high.”

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Each layered place setting plays an integral part in the table decor. “We contrasted white dinnerware with a rippled glass underplate and brought in texture with woven placemats,” explains Jono. To add to the sense of abundance and subtle glamour, they added decorative glass ornaments and paperweights in-between. “We collected pine cones from the garden and painted the tips white before frosting them to add the magic of a traditional white Christmas. Not everything has to be bought.”


3. Local flavour

Cape Town floral stylist Janine Vermeulen of Foraged is known for drawing inspiration from her surroundings. So when she came across a range of Cape Delft ceramics featuring proteas and other iconic Cape flora from Liesbeek Studio, she knew she had the perfect starting point for her Christmas table.


In keeping with the country setting (the stables at Lynx Wine Farm in Franschhoek), Janine kept the look rustic. “I didn’t want to use tablemats or anything that would detract from the beautiful plates and vases. And while I wanted a lot of wood to show, the table needed softening so I dressed it with a simple linen runner.”


To offset the vivid blues of the hand-painted ceramics, Janine filled vases with proteas, peonies, tulips, irises and Cape holly. “When it comes to flower arranging, there really are no rules. Let your imagination run wild and save on the costs of store-bought flowers by using what you have on hand in your garden,” she says.