Where I live, Memorial Day weekend is the start of Summer. It’s the perfect reason to celebrate and have friends and family over. We will be outside, so a Memorial Day buffet table is the best option to serve the food.
I want my gathering to be fun and really make the theme obvious. It needs to “be in your face” that this is a Memorial Day gathering. That means everything needs to be red, white, and blue.
When I was planning the decorations for my Memorial Day buffet table, I quickly decided that I wanted them to have a worn and weathered look. I didn’t want the decor to look brand new.
If you have read my How to Create a Professional Looking Buffet Table post, you know that having height on a buffet table is key to it being attractive and creating visual interest. But instead of hiding boxes and books under tablecloths, I decided that using wooden crates from my local craft store would work great.
The neat thing about wooden crates is you can use them as part of the tablescape decoration and to transport the party stuff. A total win-win!!
I found my wooden crates at Michaels and bought them in a few different sizes. (I also used their weekly coupon to save money – wink, wink) Using the varying heights will add visual interest to the buffet table.
For a fun and easy DIY Memorial Day project, I painted the crates, giving them a weathered look. Check out my Transform Craft Store Crate – DIY Painted Wooden Crate to see how I did it. Didn’t they turn out great!
When I was thinking about ideas for the Memorial Day buffet table decorations, I considered using the U.S. flag, but quickly decided against it, as it would then feel more like the 4th of July. Instead, I decided to make these adorable, ripped fabric flags using three different fabrics. They are SO easy, I absolutely loved making them! It’s such an easy DIY craft for Memorial Day to do yourself or with your kiddos. Check out how simple they are to make.
Since my painted wooden crates were going to dominate the look of the buffet table, I decided that I wouldn’t need any more decorations.
Setting Up Your Memorial Day Buffet Table
Once you have your table decorations done, you needed to set up the buffet table. I set mine up inside and took pictures of each step so you can see how simple it is to do it yourself.
First, set up a long folding table. If you are having a gathering at a local park, you can probably use their picnic tables. For the base layer, use a flat white sheet. Since it is the first layer covering the table, it is being used to hide the ugly folding table. Consider using a sheet instead of those disposable vinyl tablecloths. You can wash and reuse it over and over. This means it costs less in the long run and you’re not adding to the landfill. A win for you and for Mother Earth!
Next, add a red scarf that you never wear, or find a cheap one at the local thrift store. Using scarves in place of tablecloths is a great way to incorporate your theme color or pattern. The red from the scarf helps to anchor the table and tie everything together. Plus, the scarf covered a few small holes that were in my sheet. (Pretty sneaky, huh!)
Adding the wooden DIY crates to the table is next. Arrange them so the larger crates are in the back and shorter ones in front. It’s all about adding visual interest and varying the height. So much more appealing than everything being flat on the table!
Once the Memorial Day inspired wooden crates are arranged, add your plates to the start of the buffet line, and the utensils to the end of the line. *Tip: put the utensils at the end of the table, so your guests won’t need to try and hold them while dishing up their food. Or if they forget their utensils, they won’t need to go in front of others when they go back to get them. That’s really annoying for everyone – grr!
Note what I did with the utensils … I used pieces of the ripped fabric from my flag DIY project and tied them together. SO much easier for guests to pick them up already bundled, instead of grabbing them separately! Plus, they look so cute with the torn fabric.
The last step is to add the ripped fabric flags to the Memorial Day buffet tablescape. Since there is a little empty space on the back corners, those are ideal places for them. I placed them in white painted mason jars and let them hang over the table.
Finally, add a pennant flag to the front of the table to really pull it all together. Dang! Doesn’t it look too cute!!
I hope this will inspire you to set up an attractive buffet table for your Memorial Day party!
PS ~ To give you an idea of what the Memorial Day buffet table would look like with food dishes, I placed empty containers on the wooden crates and around the table. You can see how much you can fit on the table using the crates as risers, and how attractive it looks. Your friends will be SO impressed at your buffet. It’s all they will be talking about. Yay for you!!