With the festive season nearly upon us, and holiday events in our diaries, preparations are underway at Cabana HQ. Editor-in-Chief, Martina Mondadori, shares her hosting essentials and styling tips to inspire your festive entertaining.




Holiday entertaining is one of my most cherished parts of the festive season, gathering around the table with family and friends. The key to a successful occasion, whether large or small, formal or informal, is creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere so your guests feel instantly comfortable, relaxed and at home.

When it comes to setting the table, I like to 'layer it', adding different decorative elements but never making things too predictable - so my napkins rarely match the tablecloth nor the placemat, for example. Another important ingredient for me is anything vintage, which adds patina and charm to the whole scheme.

Add some good Tuscan red wine, and a mix of guests of all ages and backgrounds, and the flow of conversation is guaranteed! As we look forward to the festive season ahead, here are five tips that, for me, guarantee great entertaining.


Venetian 19th Century glassware, Cabana Vintage © Kensington Leverne 


A Striking Tablecloth & Placemats

A striking tablecloth provides a gorgeous backdrop to your table setting. I think of it like the floor in a room: it sets the whole mood. When working with a busy pattern, choose a placemat that features one single color so there is a contrasting effect. The scallop shaped border and textured embroidery of the D’Ascoli Rubino Placemat allows it to stand out, while still blending harmoniously with the overall setting.


D'Ascoli Rubino Placemat and Ioannina tablecloth © Kensington Leverne


Statement Dinnerware

Make a statement with your dinnerware. In this case I picked out one color in the tablecloth and used plates in that hue. Our Ginori Floral collection is sophisticated with a modern twist. Hand-painted florals inspired by the soft transparency of watercolors adorn these porcelain plates in a variety of beautiful colors.


Ginori plate, D'Ascoli Rubino placemat, Ioannina tablecloth © Kensington Leverne


Mix, Match and Layer

Don’t be afraid to layer different styles. Pairing traditional pieces with more rustic motifs creates a delightful setting. Same with cutlery; I often use sets of my Sabre flatware with vintage hand-carved cutlery.


Maya dinner plate, D'Ascoli Rubino placemat, Ioannina tablecloth © Kensington Leverne


Talking-point Textiles

Sometimes I like to place the napkins on top of the plates so there is some excitement when you reveal the rest of the setting. These are our most precious napkins that I constantly get compliments on. They are made from the finest Khadi cotton and heavily hand-embroidered with French knots, so they are a real conversation starter!


A layered table, topped with D'Ascoli Layla embroidered napkins © Kensington Leverne 


Planning and Preparation

Organization and preparation are equally key when it comes to well-planned events, allowing you as the host to feel relaxed and on top of everything. From guest lists to menus and music, I prefer to plan my entertaining the old fashioned way, on paper, which then also becomes a lasting record of memorable events. A guest book is always a lovely touch too, to capture memories and thoughts from your guests.


The Party Planning Gift Set is an essential for the holidays, and a great gift during the festive season © Ari Kellerman


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