Temper a riot of vivid patterns by using a two-toned palette. Use a solid napkin to keep it from feeling too busy.
Mix different sets of formal dinnerware to create an unexpected look that plays up tradition yet feels current. Set out platters or bowls with seasonal fruit or vegetables as table decor. Here, a plate of oranges sets off the tones in the tablecloth. Add unexpected elements, like the sardine dish and individually wrapped gifts for guests — a tiny trinket to commemorate the night. Brushed-gold utensils with teardrop-shaped handles are a formal touch that enhances the drama of the place settings.