Use Disposable Items to Create an Elegant Passover Table for Large Groups
By Gabriela Apeloig, Co-founder of Apeloig Collection
Passover’s around the corner and you love hosting it at your place. So you invite your family and friends...and the families of your friends...and everyone else who doesn’t have anywhere to go. The tradition of “Jewish guilt” has been passed down to you and is now permanently engraved in your brain; you simply can’t leave anyone behind when it comes time for this special occasion.
If you happen to identity with this common Passover story, it means that in the end, your dinner involves 40+ guests. So the question facing you at this moment is, “how do I prepare for an army who all need to settle in to celebrate a special night?”
The first step of course is figuring out how to arrange the seating after you’ve gathered all possible folding chairs and tables that you’ve gotten from here and there. And then comes the question of how to set the table. Chances are you want to dress your Passover table beautifully, using the fine china from your wedding registry—didn’t you get specifically for this occasion?
But, it is at this point that you encounter at least one of these problems:
- You don’t have plates, silverware, cups nor napkin rings for that many guests.
- You don't have much help to clean all the dishes.
Don’t worry! You can still keep tradition in style by using ALL DISPOSABLE items. Nowadays, there are a variety of disposable dishes and more that look so amazing your guests will have to look twice to realize they’re not real.
Here’s how to impress your guests with a traditional and elegant, yet convenient table:
Use individual placemats made out of paper. There are a plethora of beautiful options out there. I bought these at Michael’s in the individual paper section, using a combination of two different papers for each place setting. I wanted my placemats to be both beautiful and festive, so I used shiny silver as a base, placing it horizontally, with a gold one placed diagonally on top.
Of course, you can be a bit more economical by using only one color. Michael’s paper selection can range significantly in price, so consider shopping the sale section to satisfy a budget. Or, check out larger blocks of paper designed for scrapbooking. They’re cost-effective and come in colors that are just as beautiful as these are.
Plates & Seder Plate
I found these plates at a local kosher store that sells the most beautiful disposable wares. You can find them online or you can choose from infinite options that are out there; Party City has a great selection in their Premium Tableware section.
I chose a 10” plate as the dinner plate and a 7” plate as individual Seder plates for all of the blessings and rituals. Personally, I like each person at the Passover table to have their own Seder plate, in addition to the principal Seder plate. I believe this a very practical way to help the ceremony run more efficiently and avoid all the messy spills that come along with passing the food around to your honored army of guests.
Our motto at the Apeloig Collection is #traditionmeetsdesign. So, to honor the memory of my grandmother, I made one important exception to my disposable Passover table and brought out her Seder plate. In the center of the table, I displayed the main Seder plate with all the components.
Because the shankbone is a symbol not to be eaten and does not require any ritual, it serves as a visual reminder of the Pesach sacrifice. We display this on the main keara in the center of the table.
Each plate will have 5 out of the 6 components of the Seder plate.
To present the traditional Seder items both beautifully and practically on each guest’s plate, I used disposable miniware.
To serve the Passover items to each guest, I used the following:
Charoset (mixture of apple, wine and nuts):
To serve the charoset, I used Mini CLEAR Plastic Curved Spoons.
Maror (bitter herbs):
I shredded the horseradish root and placed it in Mini CLEAR Plastic Spoons that hold the perfect amount necessary to make the maror-matzah sandwich.
I placed the egg in this fancy clear cup with a stand that makes it look just as inviting as if it were served in a restaurant. Not to mention, the cup conveniently holds the salt water, so when the time comes to dip the egg in salt water to remember the tears of our ancestors, you can just give the cup a little shake.
Karpas (vegetable) potato, celery or parsley
Chazeret (a second bitter herb such as Romaine Lettuce)
I simply arranged these these two items nicely on the plate. No disposable wares required!
I used a plain burgundy napkin to coordinate the flowers with the rest of the table.
The variety of disposable napkins is so extensive, it can be overwhelming to choose just one. Here are some of my favorites.
I used leftover paper from the placemats as napkin holders, cutting them into strips of about 1” in width, and wrapping them around the silverware on the napkins.
To add an important final touch, I went online and I found disposable plastic silverware with a hammered effect that gives the appearance of polished silver.
Although it’s plastic, this wine glass’ metallic silver rim makes it elegant enough for this special event.
This choice of heavy weight clear plastic brings a modern touch to the disposable place settings.
I fell in love with these 10 plagues coasters, a great bonus feature for the table if you ask me! What a fun way to perform the mandatory spilling of drops of wine as you recite the ten plagues during the Seder. Each coaster features the plagues in both Hebrew and English, paired with images, so no drop is missed. The coaster comes with either black or gold text to match your specific table decor.
I typically love to fill the table with elaborate flower arrangements, but this time I went for the “keep it simple, less is more” philosophy. Because there’s already so much going on at the table and because it’s a special night in which everyone participates, I chose to keep the distractions to a minimum.
Place them at the entrance or on a corner of the table to let each guest choose their favorite style—assuming you’re like me and don’t own 40 identical hagadot. If you do, kudos to you! Place one on each seat.
After reading this post, I hope you’re no longer in a Passover panic about the army of loved ones you’ve invited over. Get ready to impress with some elegant disposable place settings.