Home Tips Hop to It: Set the Perfect Easter Table with Annette Joseph

Hop to It: Set the Perfect Easter Table with Annette Joseph


The spring holiday season kicks off in just a couple of weeks with one of the prettiest of all celebrations, Easter. For advice on decorating a memorable holiday table, we turned to chef, stylist, and planner extraordinaire Annette Joseph, whose Picture Perfect Parties has become an instant classic on our bookshelf.

Annette gave us the lowdown on creating a simple, beautiful, and family-friendly Easter table and party that will leave guests smitten—and that can mostly be pulled together from items you already have. Scroll down for even more product picks from Annette, sourced especially for us, plus a Pine Cone Hill table linens giveaway!

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of  Picture Perfect Parties to get all the details on creating this look—and some incredibly tasty recipes—for your Easter table. Better yet, check out Annette’s class schedule, and learn how to style your party-food photos like a pro. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway for two sets of Pine Cone Hill napkins, hand-picked for spring by Annette! (Scroll to the bottom to enter.)

Fresh American: What are the basic elements of setting a great party table?

Annette Joseph: Really nice linens are important. I like to start with a good white tablecloth—it always makes for a crisp, fresh table. And fresh flowers are lovely. I keep all the centerpieces low so people can talk over them. My pet peeve is a big, over-the-top centerpiece on a dining table. Save it for the buffet table!


FA: What’s the best way to edit the selection of what you already have for a party, so you’re not always buying a lot of new things?

AJ: As a stylist, I’m a hunter and a creative repuposer. I’ve been known to pull artwork off the wall to use it in a shoot! I recommend you walk around your house and try looking at things in a different light. You might find a cool basket in the guest bath, or a great tray you’re using to hold books on the coffee table. Once we have things in our house in a particular way, we tend to forget they can be used in different ways. But take those books out of the tray, put some parchment paper on it, and place an appetizer on it. Your guests will love it.



FA: What are the secrets to setting a great Easter or spring table?

AJ: Go for something fun and bright—it’s the first sign of spring! I stick to pink, pale blue, and yellow for a palette. Sometimes I put the appetizer right in the middle of the table on a lovely gardening tray—this way, the food becomes the centerpiece, and it’s a great way to wrangle everyone to the table.


FA: What was your inspiration for the Easter table in your book?

AJ: I wanted to get kids involved in the setup, and splatter paint is easy—you can do it outside, so there’s no mess. I covered table with white tablecloth and then a roll of splatter-painted white craft paper. We also splatter-painted some hard-boiled eggs and white napkins. I really like to make things look pretty, but I love a casual table.


FA: This table doesn’t rely on a splashy centerpiece to make a statement.

AJ: You don’t always have to do the classic flowers. It’s really fun to use several different objects that are a nod to the holiday or theme. Try placing objects on different levels, like cake stands. Put attractive water bottles on decorative plates. Design your table in an unconventional way.


FA: Should you ask your guests about dietary preferences in advance, or just plan to make at least one recipe each that can appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters?

AJ: In this day and age, it’s very important to be tuned in to lifestyle choices and food sensitivities. Definitely ask about intolerances and allergies, especially if it’s a small party. And I always go heavy on the vegetables, anyway.


FA: What’s your philosophy on using new or complex recipes for parties?

AJ: I’m a no guts, no glory girl, so I just go for it! But it depends on how comfortable a cook you are. If you’re a tentative entertainer, I would not try out any new recipes. If you’re an accomplished cook, you should try something new. It’s always a fun conversation, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you planned. It’s about being super sweet and a real person to your guests—warm and welcoming and funny, not “perfect.”


FA: How much of the prep for this Easter party can you realistically do in advance?

AJ: You can do the decorations weeks in advance—plan it as a Sunday activity with your kids. I pull out each platter and piece and figure out what’s going to go on what, and even set the table to see how it works. The day before, make the hard-boiled eggs, the faro salad, the grilled vegetables, and the stuffing for the lamb. The morning of, wash and prep the ingredients for the lamb and kale salad, and make the sauce for the trifles. Then make the lamb and kale salad just before service, and assemble the trifles while the lamb is cooking.


FA: Do you have any tried-and-true good cleanup tips?

AJ: I’m a clean-as-you-go person. Whether I work in a photo studio or in someone’s home, I have to keep things tidy. That said, guests love to help, especially if you’re like me and hate potluck and asking people to bring food to the party, so this is a great way to involve them.

Get set for Easter because Annie’s giving away two sets of spring-ready Encaustic Fuchsia/Orange napkins from Pine Cone Hill! Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below for 4 easy ways to enter! Contest ends on Monday, April 14 at 11:59 p.m. EST. View the full details.

Congratulations to our winner, Catherine from Virginia! 

Annette Joseph Table Top Pine Cone Hill Chevron Napkins West Elm Serving dishes Antropologie Dishware Dwell Bowl Bird Nest Egg Crates Fuchsia Yarn

Annette’s Easter Table Picks

  1. Pine Cone Hill Chevron Fucshia napkins
  2. Pine Cone Hill Encaustic Fuchsia/Orange napkins
  3. dBO Pomegranate Ceramic Serving Bowls
  4.  Anthropologie Half-Dozen Egg Crate
  5. Anthropologie Point Duchesse Platter
  6. Dwell Studio Wooster Street Bowl
  7. Anthropologie Fleur-De-Lys Tumbler
  8. Ballard Designs Eliza Small Serving Bowl
  9. Horne Hungry Casserole Dish Small
  10. Horne Capacious Hungry Bowl
  11. Horne Mud Nest Bowls
  12. Decorative Bird Nests
  13. Ballard Designs Vivian Two-Piece Serveware Set
  14. Jimmy Beans Wool Fibra Natura Sensational Yarn

giveaway pine cone hill encaustic fuchsia napkins

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Candi G April 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm

We don’t really have a tradition per se. I just like getting together with our family enjoying good food and time with one another.

Alina April 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

We get together with the family every year (no matter what age) and hide and search for eggs and treats!

Sean C April 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Eater Brunch with friends and family.

Dorothy Collier April 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Love me some Fresh American! I’d love to don my Easter table with this cute print!

Jennifer Essad April 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

It’s going to be a quiet Easter around our home, I decorated w/ornaments I’ve collected for many years along w/figurines and knick knacks from antique stores I love the chalkware from chocolate candy molds that are rabbits and chicks

Judith Bergson April 7, 2014 at 6:21 pm

These Easter table settings are inspiring.

Catherine April 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

When I was younger (though this went on until I was in my mid-20’s at least), my parents always put together a Easter egg scavenger hunt for my brother and me. Instead of the traditional egg hunt, they’d leave a plastic egg somewhere where one of us would find it when we woke up. Inside there’d be a riddle leading us to the next egg, and then one to the next egg, and so on, until we found our baskets. They got more complicated as we got older, but highlights included: an egg that was frozen in a 1’x1′ block of ice, a clue with a math problem that led to a phone number that led to a recording with the next clue, an egg buried in my aunt’s garden, eggs that we had to drive to, etc. It was awesome–my favorite holiday tradition, and one I definitely want to start with my own children.

Love these cheerful napkins!

Teresa Sullivan April 7, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Our favorite Easter tradition is admiring all the darling children dressed in their Easter finest!

sydney85 April 7, 2014 at 11:14 pm

I buy a wooden egg from the White House Easter Egg roll each year. They are so colorful and signed by the President and the First Lady.

judeamorris April 8, 2014 at 5:23 pm

We celebrate spring with fresh foods and flowers and imitate its bright colors in our home.

Tisha April 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Cadbury mini eggs

Cheri Oggy April 8, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Sharing the day with all of my family.

Cindi April 9, 2014 at 12:09 pm

My favorite Easter tradition is going to an outdoor, early
church service!
Thanks, Cindi

JC April 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Love these napkins! I’ve got a lot of fuchsia and orange going on in my living room (adjacent to the dining room). These would definitely fit the theme!

My favorite Easter tradition has become the multiple egg hunts that my little ones participate in. We have to do one at our house, of course. Then there’s another at my in-laws’ and yet another at my mom’s house. The kids are totally sick of egg hunts by the end of the day…until next year!

Setting the easter table + a giveaway | Annette Joseph April 10, 2014 at 3:03 am

[…] week I am over on Annie Selke’s (a lovely sponsor of our Atlanta Workshop) Fresh American talking about setting the Easter table as well as sharing some of my favorite picks! It’s a […]

Carol Yemola April 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I love having an Easter Egg hunt for my grandchildren.

Ann Baker April 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Pink Chevron!

Lori in Indiana April 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

We are entertaining my daughter in-law for the first time ever. I want it to be special.

Lori L. April 14, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Getting together with family!

Mary April 14, 2014 at 8:49 pm

My favorite tradition is wearing a new hat to church. 🙂


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