Event Planner Fiona Leahy – Tips for Dining Alone

Fiona Leahy—like everyone else—hasn’t had much of a chance to be social these past few weeks. But that hasn’t stopped the U.K.-based event planner, who has created parties for everyone from artist Damien Hirst to Aerin Lauder, from doing her best to keep things upbeat.

Leahy, who is isolating in her West London home, has turned to Instagram to keep her followers entertained and provide a little inspiration for how to set a cheerful table—even if it’s a table for one. For what she calls her “lockdown dinners,” Leahy places a runner across her table to make a single place setting seem a little less lonely than a wide tablecloth with empty seats. Accustomed to creating tablescapes for dozens or even hundreds of people, she has now perfected a smaller-scale “trayscape”—because, after all, why not take your dinner to bed?

“It’s a challenging time—there’s no denying that,” Leahy tells ELLE Decor, “but we’re dining one way or the other, and I would take ‘cheery’ any day.”

It should go without saying that these are not your TV dinners of yore. So here are Leahy’s tips for upping your own trayscape game.

  • “Eating in isolation can be seen as an act of self-love or self-care when it’s done with care. Take out all the glassware, china, and linens you would use when entertaining others and use it to entertain yourself.”
  • “Set the table as if you were expecting guests. Dine delightfully, even if it’s for just one or two.”
    • “Don’t be afraid to break away from the dining table. I am using trays and card tables and love how liberating it is. They become mini portable tablescapes or trayscapes.”
    • “Elevate the ordinary. Even if you are eating food that’s been delivered or picked up curbside, plate it nicely on your best china. Don’t succumb to eating from cartons.”
      • “Use flowers. All you need are a few buds and some blossoms. It’s spring, after all, so if you have a garden see what’s in there or what’s growing in the hedgerow—or a little snip from a park. Flowers are bringing me a lot of joy right now.”
      • “Candles are important. I believe candlelight can add some cheer that we need. Light candles—your soul will thank you.”