A great meal—for 2 or 12—starts with the setting. When registering, load up on personality-packed items that will set the stage for festive dinner parties and lively conversations for years to come

For a modern table, mix patterns and finishes, using color as a unifying thread. The result will be harmonious—if a little bit unexpected.

Teal bowl, $95, and oval platter, $295, Elephant Ceramics; "Romano" Vivanti Collection five-piece place setting, $140, Oneida; "Folkware #6" dinner plate, $22, Paola Lavone for Richard Ginori 1735, available at Bloomingdale's; "Jardin Fleuri" cup and saucer, $175, Haviland Limoges; "Lace Delight" doily coaster, $8, Two's Company, 800-896-7266; "Cylinder" candleholder, $125 for a set of two (one shown), Ricci Argentieri, available at Bloomingdale's; "Fancy Filligree" monogram lollipops in Numbers, $9.75 for three, Vintage Confections; Turquoise "Jacaranda Baobab" bowl, $695, Michou Osterwald, available at Amaridian; "Jardin Fleuri" creamer, $195, Haviland Limoges

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