The art of making a guest list through the eyes of English-style tea service sets

english-style tea set - Mottahedeh and chinoiserie plates

This post started strangely. I browsed in the May 2007 Domino and recalled this lovely tin plate set for picnic by Mottahedeh. Traditional floral patterns are not my things but once in a while one caught my eyes. I bookmarked the Lowestoft Rose Tin Plate Set for my next Friday’s night notebook post.

Then, on my morning visit to Facebook, I saw this question by Sean Moffitt.

You’re hosting a dinner party and you can invite any 5 famous/notorious/interesting people – who are they going to be?

I would invite ex Formula 1 driver and playboy Eddie Irvine for his look and humor, the French philosopher Elisabeth Badinter for her intelligence, Erja Häkkinen, the wife of Mika because I like her personality, the actor Johnny Depp because he is an intriguing man and the amazing French designer Philippe Starck because he is an icon and I admire his work.

I was torn apart for not inviting Karim Rashid and Sir Terrance Conran. But I did not the event to turn into a design guru party.

Making a guest list

There are many theories on how to create the prefect guest lists. I am talking here about hosting a dinner event as a purely social event or to expand your network. The rules are different when you are throwing a party for a birthday or a family affair.

I think that you need several people with strong characters mixed with people that have interesting stories to tell. Add to the pack people that are simply good at conservations: listeners and talkers.

The first impulse is to think about common interests. It is often best to weigh up your guest list in terms of lifestyle. Do not be afraid to mix people from different circles. With time, you can integrate one odd player to your guest list.

Be careful to select for the outsider, someone that you are almost certain will enjoy your dinner party. In my case, the philosopher Elisabeth Badinter appears a like an odd choice at first when you examine the other guests but she is also the daughter of the founder of Publicis where she sits on a board of the company.

But there is no guarantee, one night it can feel magical and another time the event is not as great. This is art so it comes with experience. After your event, analyze what works and what can be improved. And if things were not as great as you wish for, know that some things are not meant to be. And sometimes you need the right alignment of planets to make it works – by that, I mean pure luck.

The English way to serve tea

Because the social, conversational dinner parties are best with 10 to 20 persons on your table to stay warm but formal, I taught you should serve tea and coffee the formal way. To remove my sorrow for not inviting Sir Terrance Conran, I went through the catalogue of The Conran Shop in the USA.

I selected the new Chinoiserie collection for plates. Each piece in the collection displays a slightly different drawing. The stunning Chinoiserie White Side Plate is sold at $52 USD. I am still in love with the Missoni Margherita Tea Cup & Saucer; it is on sale right now at $97.50 USD (reg. $150).

For the tea service set, the choice was easy. Paola Navone designed a wonderful collection called Silver Shiny New Baroque by Reichenbach. It is going straight to my wish list for Christmas. The fine porcelain is decorated with high-grade platinum applied by hand, a process requiring the highest level of precision and craftsmanship. The Paola Navone Teapot is $195 USD and the 7.5 inch plate is $45 each.

The Zanzi Coffee Cup & Saucer is a pretty coffee cup and saucer has a pearlescent hand painted finish. Each set is handmade so no two coffee cup and saucers are alike. Available in raspberry and bluebell, a cup and saucer set is on sale at $12 USD (reg. $16) right now. The raspberry Zanzi cup looks great with the Lowestoft Rose plates.

Coming back to my inspiration piece by Mottohedeh, the Lowestoft Rose Tin Plate Set in Decorative Box is sold for $45 USD for a set of 4 plates.

To my friends in Facebook: I asked a question on Facebook about your food habit for a dinner party; I invite you to answer it.

Buy online: Lowestoft Rose Tin Plate Set in Decorative Box by Mottahedeh
Buy online: Chinoiserie plates, cup, saucer and mug at The Conran Shop
Buy online: Missoni Margherita Tea Cup & Saucer at The Conran Shop
Buy online: Zanzi Coffee Cup & Saucer at The Conran Shop
Buy online: Silver Shiny New Baroque Tea collection designed by Paola Navone at The Conran Shop 
Discover: Buzz Canada – the blog of Sean Moffitt