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Pretty, Painless Entertaining

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Childhood friends Lisa Spagnolo and Tricia Hyland noticed a glaring discrepancy at their friends’ dinner parties. The hosts would spend hours cooking an elaborate farm-to-table meal, but dinner was served on plastic plates with little presentation. A year and a half ago, they devised a solution.

Taking into consideration the prohibitively high price of fancy new china, Spagnolo and Hyland launched Dinner Party, a one-stop online shop that sells and rents vintage tabletop wares, bar carts, and accessories for pretty and painless entertaining.

Tricia Hyland (left) and Lisa Spagnolo

Thrifting together since getting their driver’s licenses, the women knew each other’s shopping styles. Spagnolo, who also runs a fashion line, responds immediately to aesthetics. Hyland, on the other hand, studied art history and carefully selects objects after researching their original use and provenance. Combining forces, they curate a timeless, well-balanced collection.

The creative duo kindly offered their tips for putting a vintage twist on your holiday spread and swapping snowman-covered plastic plates for reclaimed classics.

1. Use tableware you’ll be incorporating later in the meal as decor. For example, stack different teacups and saucers at least three high in the center of the table before taking them down when you’re ready to serve tea and coffee with dessert.


2. Always remember lighting. Go for vintage brass candlesticks paired with artisan taper candles to contrast delicate china, or place floating candles in vintage coupe glasses. Don’t hold back: The more candles, the merrier.

 3. Use a vintage cake stand for the cheese and nut course. For added visual interest, and surface for snacks, stack a few stands on top of each other.

4. Add color to the table by using a few shades of  glasses or tumblers as vases. You just need a few flowers per glass and you’re set.

5. Use a bar cart for serving portions of each course. You’ll save precious real estate by moving that space-hogging punch bowl off the main dining table. Plus, you can create a sweet vignette of serving pieces and edibles to add to the party vibe.

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