I really love to set a pretty table, but you know me, I try to use what I have, tying in a theme and the season!

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A large group of ladies were coming for our girlfriend’s surprise 50h birthday!

The first thing I did was look through my paper napkins to see what I already had. My goal was to be frugal and smart.

The next thing I did was buy a flat of primroses from Costco for $10. And then the inspiration came together quite nicely. I did splurge and buy 1 tablecloth from Target. I needed a new fresh one and the price was right!

Some people get all uptight about their table, thinking it has to be perfect and maybe even a little “over-the-top.” I worry more about who’s coming, the conversation, the flow and flavor of the evening … the warmth of gathering.

Because to be honest, my friends are not going to remember what my table looked like!

But they will walk away and remember the reason we all came together. A beautiful birthday celebration for our friend.

How to set a table and not get stressed out:

1. Think about the tablecloths and dishes that you already have.

2. Look through your napkins for “possibilities.”

3. Go to the store or florist (or your yard) and find something that will tie together with your linens and dishes.

4. If you buy potted plants, keep it simple and wrap/tie ribbon around the actual pot.

5. Set two place settings and see if you like the look. If not, change things around – maybe a different table cloth or napkins.

6. Cloth or paper napkins? As much as I wanted to use cloth napkins, I had a stack of these flowered paper napkins that totally matched the theme. Done deal!

7. Set the table one day early. It will grow on you, and gives you time to change things around if you need to.

8. Once the table is set, check it off your list. Move on to the next part of party-planning.

And learn to enjoy. Entertaining for me is about enjoying the people who are coming to my home. What’s done is done. What’s cleaned is clean. And I know that my friends are not coming to inspect my table, home, or entertaining style.

They’re coming for connection. To expand relationships. Not to critique my table or notice if I used cloth napkins or not.

Do you struggle with setting a pretty table? What tips can you share for overcoming “not caring” if things are perfect?

(Stay tuned for an EXCITING MacKenzie-Child’s giveaway coming soon on RE!)