How to Set a Thanksgiving Table That's Both Classic and Modern
There's nothing better than a Thanksgiving dinner done right. The mashed potatoes are the right amount of creamy, the turkey is juicy, even the Brussels sprouts taste good! But what complements a Thanksgiving dinner is the table setting. Finding the right table setting for your Thanksgiving meal is very similar to finding your dream wedding tablescape: Both can elevate your event and make your guests feel at home. And isn't that the goal of Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is all about tradition and giving thanks for your loved ones and the food in front of you. So when it comes to setting your table, you want to incorporate this into each place setting. We know—that can be a bit of a challenge. So we've asked wedding designers to share their tips on how to make your Thanksgiving Day table feel classic and fresh by blending old traditions with new modern aesthetics.
Get Creative with Place Cards
"To create a thoughtful gathering, we always suggest customizing each place setting with your guest's name. If you're hosting a larger group, this will also make everyone feel more comfortable."
—Sierra Steifman, Creative Director & Owner, Poppies & Posies
DIY Your Party Favors
"Incorporate some DIY elements that can double as favors, from pashminas to custom napkins. Head to your local craft or fabric store and pick up a few yards of flannel fabric and cut into 1-yard sections. Hang them on the back of the ladies' chairs and tie with a pretty name card to double as a place card and pashmina, or find some pretty chambray or plaid fabric and cut into 20"x 20" squares which can act as custom napkins. The hems don't need to be perfect, especially if you're going for a rustic table."
—Jacin Fitzgerald, Owner & Creative Director, Jacin Fitzgerald Events
Forage Rather Than Buy
"Forage: Rather than run to the closest Trader Joes to pick up the mini pumpkins and orange dahlias, look outside your window. Leaves are changing colors, branches are laden with late season berries and nuts, pods of all sorts are falling to the ground. Cut a few branches from some trees and bushes that are changing color and pick some wild grasses from the side of the road—throw these in an aged copper vessel or pewter pitcher and you have a wild, natural, foraged arrangement."
—Anna Le Pley Taylor, Lead Floral Design, Anna Le Pley Taylor
Use the Details to Make Guests Feel Welcome
"Thanksgiving, sticking true to its name, is about gathering with those you love to express thanks and gratitude. Your dining table should reflect those feelings. Consider this table your time to show your guests that you appreciate their individuality by creating personalized seating arrangements and comfortable chairs or benches to invite guests to linger a bit longer around the table."
—Elizabeth McKellar, Owner & Creative Director, The Nouveau Romantics
Keep Florals Long & Low
Add Fresh Fruit to Your Décor
"Use fresh fruit to add life and color to your centerpiece. Whole pears, cut in half pomegranates, acorns, and of course mini pumpkins are all perfect Fall choices to decorate your table with something more than flowers."
—Michelle Edgemont, Owner & Creative Director, Michelle Edgemont
Make it Original with Personal Accessories
"Often times, we rely on floral, fabric, and accessories to make an impressive table. Yet, the most memorable tables are the ones with the most personality. By adorning your table with treasures from your home, you can easily add a sense of originality that will really impress your guests."
—Bridget Frizzie, Creative Director, Kehoe Designs
Make It Inviting
"Thanksgiving is all about gathering together with friends and family and eating delicious food. With that in mind, stick with a comfortable table design, focused on warm, homey elements and clean lines."
—Diana Venditto, Lead Planner & Designer, Eventi Floral & Events
Consider Your Container Selection
"Be aware of how your container selection will affect your overall look. Collective, low centerpieces in varied vessels can feel more modern than one large arrangement. Mixing traditional ceramic containers with an unusual material, such as reclaimed metal, can take your look to the next level."
—Brooke Osborn, Wedding Director, The Hidden Garden Floral Design
Think about More than Just Flowers
"Instead of a traditional centerpiece, source some vintage bottles and run them down the table. Add beautiful individual dahlias or garden roses to make them the star of the show. By spreading them down the middle, it pulls together the whole table."
—Carrie Wilcox, Owner, Carrie Wilcox Floral Design
Go Beyond Traditionally Fall Colors
"Go for gorgeous jewel tones like sapphire and amethyst, which, although perfect for an autumn color palette, aren't top of mind when we think of traditional fall colors. I love the punch of sophisticated color they give the table."
—Robyn Rissman, Owner & Principal Stylist, Bare Root Flora
Nothing Beats Winter White
"We don't typically think of whites or greens as colors of the season, but a bundle of antique hydrangea, anemone, or magnolia leaves are wonderfully fresh and festive."
—Rishi Patel, VP of Sales & Design, HMR Designs
Combine the Old and the New!
"Each year I incorporate different elements of my grandmother's china to blend the old and new. Think about how you can bring in some history whether it's a pop of color with the a passed down water glass or some heritage with a family linen. That way, the table is built around tradition but also brings in newer elements."
—Kelly McLeskey-Dolata, Owner & Creative Director, A Savvy Event
Make Your Décor Last
"Because decorating for the holidays requires a lot of time and money, we like to pick a color combination that can transcend through the holidays. This warm rich color palette can easily be used for the Thanksgiving table or the winter holidays. While the gold is very autumnal it also speaks of Christmas or the coming New Year. The deep burgundy/pomegranate most certainly can provide the perfect holiday vibe, while the touch of purple adds a royal jewel tone touch to the festivities. We also suggest choosing a china and silverware that can be used for all of your holiday place settings."
—Holly Heider Chapple, Owner & President, Holly Heider Chapple Flowers
Styled by Pam Barefoot from Atrendy Wedding