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Let’s Eat, Mississippi: Setting...

Let’s Eat, Mississippi: Setting the perfect Southern Easter table

By: Laura Lee Leathers - March 28, 2024

  • As your perfect Southern Easter table takes shape, remember it should reflect your preferences, style, and what you and your family enjoy and treasure.

Standing on the step stool, I slowly take down my Noritake fine china, made in occupied Japan, from the top cabinet shelf. I found this set of dishes at an antique store on the Mississippi Gulf Coast about twenty years ago.

I love the soft pattern with small garden flowers on the white and cream background, outlined with a gold trim. The flowers in pink, green, yellow, blue, and light orange hues make it the perfect china for my Easter gathering.

And with Easter only days away, it’s time to pull out the fine table linens, serviettes, stemmed glassware, silverware, and decorations and create a beautiful and inviting table for your guests.

What are brides-to-be wanting today? Do they want the heritage of receiving their mother’s or grandmother’s fine china? Do they still desire beautiful place settings? Do they prefer formal or Informal?

It’s time to seek an expert for advice and answers to some of my questions. I visited The Finery Jackson, located in Highland Village. The business, founded by Abby James and Betsey Mosby, has been operating for over four years. Their store provides many gift items: fine china, linens, stemware, flatware, bedding, baby, children’s apparel, and more.

My gracious hostesses were Elly Lamb, social media director, and Carol Craig, who has worked for The Finery Jackson since it opened. Elly and Carol shared that the number of brides-to-be selecting china patterns has increased over the past several years. Why? Because they still love beautiful and treasured items.

Elly is planning her June wedding and stated she has her grandmother’s china. However, she has a Herend pattern on her bridal registry to compliment these pieces. She took me to the wall cabinet that holds the Herend porcelain patterns. Herend is their number one selling china company.

Elly removed the Herend Queen Victoria plate from the display rack and placed it in my hands. Oh, my word, exquisite! Every piece is entirely hand-painted. Herend has been in business since 1826. The following is the company’s description of their products:

Brush your fingers along Herend’s smooth white porcelain body and hand painted designs, and sense the passion of great sculptors, master painters, and visionary designers imbued in every piece they lovingly craft. Intended for use and enjoyment as well as artistic appreciation, Herend’s durability and ease of care ensure it fits perfectly with your lifestyle.

Elly and I spent much time in this display area mixing and matching the various delicate china patterns, which was so much fun. It would be challenging to choose a pattern from this company.

However, my interest in tea would put the patterns of Queen Victoria and Princess Victoria in my top five choices.

The following are three additional companies that complete their customer’s top four selections: Royal Crown Derby has been designing porcelain china patterns and giftware since 1750. It is also a popular choice of fine restaurants and tearooms. Take a moment to view their “Royal Antoinette” pattern, which has been famous since 1959.

Mottahedeh’s tagline is, “Each Piece a Masterpiece.” It is a 90-year-old company that “licenses authentic fine china reproductions from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Historical Charleston Foundation, and Mount Vernon . . . and have been commissioned by the White House, the U.S. State Department, and the Diplomatic Corps to production collections used in official state capacity.”

Ginori 1735 is a company that uses vibrant colors in their china patterns. If you are looking for porcelain decorative eggs and eclectic tableware, this company is for you. Other patterns available: Anna Weatherley, Royal Limoges, Haviland, Robert Haviland, C. Parlon, Pickard, Philippe Deshoulieres.

Table Appointments

There are additional items to include when setting a welcoming and beautiful table. Begin with a fine linen tablecloth, table runner, or placemats. The Finery Jackson has a lovely selection of Le Jacquard Francais. Add the napkins and maybe place cardholders for each setting (optional).

Regarding glassware and crystal, there are Simon Pearce, William Yeoward Crystal, Waterford, and Varga. However, The Finery Jackson’s customers’ top choice is the Estelle colored glass: beautiful colors, glasses for every type of drink, and more.

The flatware and silverware selections are endless. Don’t forget the salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowl, cream pitcher, vases, and pitchers.

People with inquiring minds want to know – what are the decorating trends for Easter 2024? First, I consulted Google’s reference guide. 

Studying a variety of websites, including Pinterest, I learned that this year’s theme is “a return to nature.” A drive along the gravel country roads will provide all kinds of natural materials to gather. Ferns, wildflowers, and branches of wild wisteria are only a few of the items currently available.

Create floral centerpieces by starting tulips, hyacinths, or daffodils in clay pots, painted or unpainted. At the top, use preserved moss to hide the bulbs and dirt. Use colorful ribbon or burlap with or without lace.

Glass, chocolate, or wooden eggs can be placed in an old egg crate or cups. Purchase egg candles or cracked egg candles in the nest. These can be placed in mini tart tins lined with moss.

Many people choose an overall theme for their tablescape. Here are some ideas for your Easter Theme: For a He is Risen tablescape, make or purchase a live resurrection garden for your centerpiece. You can buy cut-out words with “blessed,” “rejoice,” “forgiven,” and “risen” to place at each place setting.

A Peter Rabbit tablescape would be an extra-special treat for the younger children with your family and friends. There are Peter Rabbit dinner plates and garden flatware. Select a Beatrix Potter book to put at each place setting and use a blue and white gingham for a tablecloth. Serve miniature carrot cakes. 

To keep with the garden theme, give each child a garden planting kit, which includes a packet of carrot seeds.

An Old-Fashioned table theme could include Mississippi-made Peter’s Pottery plates, vintage lace doilies, and antique egg cups.

Check out Pinterest or sites like The Curated Farmhouse, Artera Home, or The Copper Goose.

A Heart for Hospitality

(Easter table by Lynn Tate Hathcock, West, Mississippi using her mother’s Noritake china made in Japan.)

Whether your choice is formal or informal, fine porcelain china or everyday dishes, baskets or crystal serving pieces, delicate stemware or Mason jars, silver or plastic, the essential part is making your guests feel “welcome and at home.”

A hostess’s heart is about serving others. The more you have planned, prepared, and organized, the more time you will have to visit with your guests. If someone offers to help you in the kitchen, accept and put them to work. Great conversations can occur.

As your perfect Southern Easter table takes shape, remember it should reflect your preferences, style, and what you and your family enjoy and treasure.

Have a Blessed Easter!

About the Author(s)
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Laura Lee Leathers

Laura Lee Leathers is a writer and speaker. Imagine Lois Lane, over sixty-five, and living on a farm. Her metropolis is the area of freelance writing. Her primary love interest is the Word of God. She digs for information, interviews fascinating people, offers a cup of biblical hospitalit-tea, encourages, and helps others with the ‘how-to’s’ of life.
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