We love everything about holiday dinners, the food, the company, and especially the festive decor. Creating dreamy tablescapes is a true art, and no one does it better than our friends at Social Studies, the rentable tablescapes company. Founders Jess and Amy answered some of our top questions for creating lovely, sustainable, and fun tablescapes all party season long.
Q&A With Social Studies founders, Jess & Amy
Brightland: How can I make my holiday tablescape sustainable? [i.e., reusable straws, places to donate food-based centerpieces]
Jess and Amy: One of the most overlooked contributors to climate change is food waste. So buy only what you need, make only what you can eat, and if you have leftovers, eat them! Parties can use up a lot of plastic if you go that route for cups, plates, flatware, etc. At Social Studies, we use zero single-use plastic from packaging to tabletop. For something like a holiday tablescape, which you use infrequently, it's better to rent.
Brightland: What are some unique elements you’ve seen incorporated into tablescapes? How do you achieve balance between florals and other elements in your tablescape?
Jess and Amy: We love incorporating things like quartz crystals, sage bundles, palo santo, and baskets with fresh fruit as a substitute or supplement to florals. Pull from your environment. If you’re hosting an autumnal dinner upstate, decorate with wildflowers or dry tumbleweeds. If you’re throwing a brunch in Palm Springs, gather fresh grapefruits from the garden. Get creative with what you already have in your environs.
"We grew up together in Texas, where Jess was Amy’s sister’s best friend. (While Amy says that Jess was generally a bad influence, Jess points out that her fearlessness and sense of adventure are what shaped her into the entrepreneur she is today.) We reunited in New York City over a decade ago and began collaborating on professional events, combining our expertise in production, marketing, and branding, and putting every last original and stylish detail in place to create unforgettable experiences."
Brightland: Is there a non-kitschy way to add holiday elements such as a wreath, ribbon, acorns, etc?
Jess and Amy: The more you can stick to natural elements, the better. Opt for acorns and pinecones instead of plastic Santa Clauses. Lean into the natural elements of the season. And get festive!
Brightland: Chic or cheap -- where do you think it’s worth investing, and when can you be more creative/budget-conscious?
Jess and Amy: A mix is always good. If you’re going to invest in florals, you can get away with a simpler place setting. If you’re going big on dinnerware, a handful of blooms from the farmer’s market is all you need. Mixing high and low is a really good thing in tablescapes. We love to mix high-end brands with lesser-known ones. The mixture helps keep the tablescape from looking too uniform or fussy.
Brightland: What are some simple ways to add texture and depth to a tablescape?
Jess and Amy: Layer fabrics. In our Gossamer tablescape, we layer a crisp white linen with a gauzy blue linen on top. You can layer table runners or placemats to create asymmetry. Mixing and matching textures and fabrics also make a really nice statement.
Brightland: Extending the life of a tablescape - how can I make mine last throughout holiday season?
Jess and Amy: You don't need to with Social Studies, you can order a new look for every party! And you get to keep the florals, which you can repurpose after the party.