Sitting down at their table is often the first chance that guests have to relax and take stock of everything. Make sure they're suitably impressed with a pretty place setting - the perfectly chosen one can make all the difference to how your table looks and you can have a little fun with them too.

MORE TABLE PLAN TIPS

Instead of going overboard with elaborate menus and place card designs, use coloured or preppy patterned ribbons to add decoration. A folded napkin is a quick and easy way to make sure your place settings look neat and tidy, and it gives the table a stylish, finished-off feel. We love!

UNUSUAL STATIONARY IDEAS

Menu; from £1.45, by www.dottiecreations.com; striped ribbon, £5.75 per metre, www.vvrouleaux.com; place name, £1 each, by www.dottiecreations.com; napkin; £2.50 each; cutlery, 50p per piece; dinner plate, 19p each; gold-rimmed wine glass, 91p each; Stemless sommelier glass, 57p each; champagne flute, 82p each, to hire, www.joneshire.co.uk; votive, from £3 each, to hire, www.paularooney.co.uk; succulent, £3 each, www.paularooney.co.uk; striped table runner, £6 per metre, www.ikea.com; tablecloth, £7.90, to hire, www.co-ordination.net and small arrangement in urns, (Princess Charlene, Caramel Antike, Cream Piaget, Sweet Perfumella, Irish Hope, Chandos Beauty, Margaret Merril David Austin and Edith David Austin roses), from £75, supplied by www.realflowers.co.uk and designed by www.paularooney.co.uk