The Art of Intimate Tabletop Settings

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Photo by Savor + Fete

Honoring Moments with Savor + Fete:
The Art of Intimate Tabletop Settings


In the heart of every memorable gathering is a table—a silent witness to laughter, stories, confessions and toasts. At the dining table, bread is broken, wine is poured and the essence of connection is savored. That is why one of the Triangle’s newest hospitality businesses, Savor + Fete, has dedicated itself to transforming dining experiences into intimate celebrations of togetherness.

Founded by Nannette Collier, Savor + Fete is not just a tabletop setting service; it’s a conduit for honoring life’s special moments. “It is about bringing people together at the table,” says Collier, who finds her joy in curating settings for occasions on a smaller, more intimate scale, ideally catering to gatherings of 25 or less.

A well-set table respects tradition and etiquette. While these elements vary from culture to culture, the goal is to offer a sense of belonging and comfort. When a table is set with care—whether for a formal dinner, a family holiday or a casual brunch—the occasion for which people gather becomes the focal point. It’s a signal to the guests that their presence is significant, their enjoyment paramount.

The aesthetics of a table setting can influence the mood and tone of the meal. Warm tones and soft textures can create a comforting, cozy atmosphere, while bold colors and sleek lines can make for an invigorating and lively environment. A rustic table set with earthenware and wildflowers can transport guests to the countryside, while fine china and crystal can evoke the grandeur of a gala.

In the context of Savor + Fete, Nannette Collier’s approach takes these principles and personalizes them. She understands that the beauty of a tabletop setting lies in its ability to tell a story—the story of the people for which the setting is designed. By considering the guests’ personalities, the occasion and even the menu, she curates a tabletop that’s not only visually stunning but also emotionally resonant for any thoughtfully planned celebration such as anniversary parties, milestone birthdays, holidays and more.

TOP LEFT: A place setting from an alfresco afternoon meal marking a couple's twentieth anniversary. TOP RIGHT: The table from the same anniversary meal. BOTTOM LEFT: A Paris-themed 60th birthday party with miniature Eiffel Towers, cafe lights and a touch of pink. BOTTOM RIGHT: A place setting from a July 4 neighborhood cookout.

“The table should reflect the person being honored or the occasion being celebrated,” Collier asserts. Her approach is bespoke, taking the time to listen to the purpose of the party and individualizing the table to reflect the celebration’s spirit.

The art of table setting is often perceived as daunting. Many hosts feel the pressure of creating a picturesque dining environment. Savor + Fete aims to dismantle this intimidation. “I don’t want it to be intimidating. I take the burden off of the host,” Collier reassures. Savor + Fete offers not only rentals of plates, linens and matching silverware, but also the invaluable service of Nannette Collier herself, who will adorn a table, ensuring every detail is perfect, so that hosts do not have to stress about having matching sets or that misplaced spoon.

The secret to her curated tables lies in the details. Collier delves into the client’s world, learning about everything from their interests and favorite colors to the type of food being served and the desired atmosphere for an occasion. For example, for a poolside five-course Asian dinner to celebrate a car and watch enthusiast’s birthday, design decisions such as silver dollar eucalyptus, square plating, and bold black and white visual anchors helped keep things fresh and inviting while honoring the celebration.

Collier’s tips for a stunning table are humble yet profound. “Keep it simple,” she advises, especially if the meal spans multiple courses. An overcrowded table can be overwhelming, so it’s crucial to first determine the place settings needed. “Clean is inviting,” she adds, emphasizing the importance of a welcoming space. The centerpieces should enhance, not distract from, the main features of the meal, “which are the people eating at the table.”

For a festive holiday table that embodies intimacy and celebration, Collier suggests starting with a central theme that captures the spirit of the occasion. For a Fourth of July table, Collier might use a rustic wooden box filled with vibrant red gerbera daisies and white blooms, punctuated with small American flags for a patriotic touch. For Thanksgiving, simpler plate settings of magnolia leaves and dried orange slices and cinnamon tied together with twine can lend a rustic, homey charm to the table.

The ultimate testimony to Collier’s success is the evidence of time well spent. On the morning after one of her first parties, Nannette Collier recalls how all of the candles had burned down and pooled atop the linens. “That meant the dinner lingered into the night,” reflects Collier with satisfaction. “That means a good time was had and that food and friendship were savored.” This is the essence of Savor + Fete: crafting tabletops that allow time for people to pause and connect.

TOP LEFT: A car enthusiast's poolside birthday party. To celebrate his affection for cars, leather placemats were chosen. TOP RIGHT: Pine and holly centerpiece from a winter tablescape. BOTTOM: Family Thanksgiving gathering using magnolia leaves, dehydrated orange slices and handmade placecards.

Savor + Fete is more than a business; it’s a mission with a heart to foster connection, sharing and, ultimately, intimacy. “When you sit at the table with someone, you are saying, ‘I’m letting you in,’” Collier reveals. In today’s fast-paced world, creating a table where time stands still and guests feel included and loved is a gift of immeasurable value.
The company’s mission is embedded in its name. ‘Savor’ represents the act of cherishing food and time together, while ‘Fete,’ a French word, invites one to entertain lavishly. Savor + Fete is a promise of indulgence in the riches of companionship and the luxury of time—an opportunity to linger and connect lavishly, surrounded by beauty and care.
Savor + Fete isn’t merely about setting tables. The company desires to craft experiences, foster connections and celebrate life’s moments, one intimate gathering at a time. With Nannette Collier at the helm, Savor + Fete stands as a bastion of shared joy, proving that the best things in life are not just the moments we live but also the company we cherish and the tables around which we gather.
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