The table is always at the forefront of my mind when I’m planning feast day celebrations in my family. So many liturgical living traditions center around food, and even when they don’t, pulling meal planning inspiration from the place a Saint is from is easy. The real magic, though, lies in the gathering around the table. Few things more sweetly illuminate one of my favorite aspects of my Catholic faith: the beauty of the communion of Saints.
That brings me to a new series that I am giddy with excitement to introduce to you today! I’ve shared sporadically about liturgical living over the past few years, but time and time again, I have been struck with doubt and insecurity about what I could offer. I am so new at this! Many people, who are much more experienced and knowledgable about liturgical living than I am, provide incredible resources that I turn to often myself. I truly felt I had nothing valuable to add to the conversation.
My recent realization, though, is that I know how to take traditions, little details, and stories and translate them into a tablescape. This was a big part of my job when I worked on Southern Weddings editorials back in the day, and it is something I’ve really missed over the last few years. I loved taking a story (albeit a fictional one) and dreaming up as many ways as possible to illustrate it through tangible, beautiful details. That is what I now hope to do for feast days. Each month, I’ll be choosing a different feast day from the Catholic liturgical calendar to study and style a tablescape around. Along with posting the photos, I’ll be breaking down every detail, sharing its significance and meaning. My goal is not to share something you feel you need to imitate in order to celebrate well; rather, it’s to provide plenty of inspiration that you can pull your favorite ideas from!
To debut this series, I created a tablescape for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, which is coming up on August 15. One of the nine holy days of obligation (days other than Sunday when Catholics are required to attend Mass), this is one of the most important feast days of the year–certainly one worthy of some extra celebration!
For this feast…
Herb details: This feast is traditionally the day for the “blessing of the herbs” in Germanic countries (more on that here). I was inspired to turn this into a tea party, incorporating herbal tea (and some other teas in my case, just because they had the most photogenic packaging ;)), a lavender centerpiece, and lemon thyme shortbread cookies. Any herb-heavy foods or drinks would be equally appropriate, especially if you keep up with the tradition and have them blessed by a priest beforehand!
Fleur de lis napkin folds: The fleur de lis symbol is traditionally associated with Mary, and, most specifically, with her Assumption (source). You could use any fleur de lis details you may happen to have on hand, but since I didn’t have any, I followed these simple instructions for a fleur de lis napkin fold instead.
Salve Regina scrolls: There are so many beautiful Marian hymns! I wanted to include a nod to my favorite, so I printed “Salve Regina” on cardstock and wrapped the ends around my fingers to create a scroll look. The scroll itself isn’t significant, but the style reminds me of the way the Assumption is often depicted in sacred art.
Tablecloth: I was so excited to use this tablecloth from Lovely Lady Linens, a new line of gorgeous, Marian-inspired home textiles. Like I shared in my Love List last week, it doesn’t get much easier than pulling out the same tablecloth every Marian feast day!
Crown: The week after the Solemnity of the Assumption, we celebrate the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary, so I nodded to that with a gold crown on the table. A sweet crown like this one is a great piece to have in your liturgical living toolbox, since you can pull it out for any Marian feast days, as well as the feast days of Saints who were princesses or queens :)
Friends, I hope you enjoy the first installment of this series! Please let me know any of your own ideas or traditions, as well as any feast days you’d love to see here in the future!