A formal dinner party in 1938.

I never tire of simple white and green flowers in mint julep cups. White and green are always elegant and don't compete with the other table items. Plus, a table with huge flower arrangements is distracting for an intimate dinner at home.

This china is Bernardaud Elysee. I would love to pair this pattern with a perfectly ironed, hemstitch napkin in robin's egg blue (hopefully you can see the blue in the china) or stick with classic white.

This is Reed and Barton's Francis The First pattern. I have wanted this pattern for years!

This crystal is William Yeoward Claire. I still love classic Waterford and such but I thought I would show something I hadn't seen before.

One of my biggest cheap thrills in life is to set a pretty table for a dinner party. Sometimes, it ends up not being cheap because I rarely throw a dinner party without putting flowers all over the house! The best way to get organized is to invite people over for dinner. If you are Southern, you understand this because somewhere in our crazy brains, we get the idea that if we invite people over for a lovely dinner, there is a half percent chance they will open up the obscure closet on the other end of the house and gasp in horror that it isn't "Martha Stewart" organized and neat! What is wrong with us?

I'm completely in favor of people dressing casually while the table is fit for William and Kate! At the risk of sounding old, I hope setting a pretty table for a dinner party is not a dying art. Entertaining at home is so nice without crowds, shouting over people and getting the "stink eye" from the hostess who hopes you will soon vacate so they can turn the table. Great conversations lie amongst wrinkled napkins and half eaten desserts. It's that point in the evening when people have finished the meal but no one wants to end the experience. Yep, that's the good stuff!

Photos: Life Magazine & Neiman Marcus