Table Settings for a Crowd

Preparing casual, make-ahead foods for a holiday buffet certainly makes entertaining easier on the cook. But serving a large group can pose another problem when you realize you don't have enough matching tableware! Don't panic. You can create a wonderfully festive look by blending the colors and styles of dinner plates, silverware and napkins you do have.

Tie the look together with coordinating colored cloth napkins. By making napkin bundles, you can also disguise mismatched silverware. For a more finished look, consider arranging the cutlery napkin bundles in a pretty basket or box instead of just laying them out on the table.

If you do a lot of group entertaining, you may want to pick up extra plates, silverware and napkins throughout the year. You can find some real bargains at end-of-season sales and on the clearance tables. Play it safe and select items within the same color schemes. That way, you can mix and match things in a variety of ways. Be creative and don't worry if the tableware doesn't match exactly!