Dress Up a Summer Table
Designer Tobi Fairley shows you how to create a light and airy table setting inspired by a classic Southern icon—seersucker
Focus on the Table Setting Details
Dressmaker details such as a box-pleat skirt on the tablecloth give a nod to seersucker's traditional use in fashion. We love the layered toppers with scalloped edges that add pops of color.
Mix Posh with Plain
Footed sherbet dishes and sterling flatware pair with more casual pieces such as simple white dinner plates and cotton napkins trimmed with grosgrain. The menus are printed on card stock using an ink-jet printer—high style and low cost.
Go All Out with Fresh Flowers
Showcase the bounty of the season with a lush arrangement of pink peonies, white hydrangeas, and green viburnums. Presenting them in a silver punch bowl lends just the right level of refinement to the table.
Carry Out Your Theme
Encourage guests to dress the part in seersucker. Offer cheery drinks in green bottles that match the tablecloth. (Tobi used Sprite bottles accented with striped straws and monogrammed labels.)
Set Up a Bar Tray Outdoors
Create a seating area/serve-yourself bar on a porch or patio; include punch, pimiento cheese, and other nibbles. It'll be an inviting space for socializing before and after dinner.
Meet the Hostess
Hometown: Little Rock
Company: Tobi Fairley Interior Design
What makes a party Southern? Definitely the hospitality and tradition of gathering friends and filling their tummies.
Dream dinner-party guest? Oprah—she's a Southern gal. I think she would love my cooking, and I know I would love her company.
Mailed invitations: Yes or no? Absolutely, yes! You can set the party's tone with a great invitation. If it's fabulous enough, no one will want to miss your event.
How do you like to make guests feel welcome? Use place cards at seated dinners. Everyone loves to feel like they have a "place" at your party.
Easiest way to add style to a tabletop? Paint your charger plates to match your linens or decor. It's a simple, inexpensive touch that adds a dose of color.
Can you share a time-saving secret? Pick up food from local restaurants. Just serve it in your prettiest dishes, and no guest will be the wiser.
Favorite hostess gift? I like to give personalized cocktail napkins. You know how we Southerners love a monogram.