Tips for Setting a Festive Thanksgiving Table
Now that it’s November, we’re excited to start talking about Thanksgiving decorating. Today we welcome guest blogger and Alexandria resident Alicia Rutherford from Untangled Events who will share some great tips for creating a simple yet festive Thanksgiving table.
More than any other holiday Thanksgiving revolves around the table. Every host wants a beautiful table that invites guests to a good time. But with cooking the turkey, cleaning the house, dressing the kids, or even running the Del Ray Turkey Trot, the table can easily become a last minute rush to get it set and not forget the spoons.
So how can you bring the table into your Thanksgiving preparation without adding more to your already bulging to do list? I’ve got some easy tips that make your table almost as memorable as your food.
Having lived and entertained in Del Ray for nearly ten years, I know our unique homes offer a variety of options, and these table ideas can fit into spaces of any size. (Our first Thanksgiving table was set for four in our classic Del Ray rowhouse, where dining tables don’t always easily fit.) You can do all of this set-up two to three days in advance so you’re not worrying about it at the last minute.
There are two points to remember during the planning of the table.
- Don’t crowd. Thanksgiving is all about the food and there will be more than usual on the table. It’s important to keep this in mind so your cranberry sauce doesn’t get knocked on the floor or someone’s lap.
- Keep all table decorations either above or below eye level. This will help with conversation and doesn’t block the view of any of your guests. In the home setting lower is better unless you want to set a ceiling fixture on fire. Fire and Thanksgiving do not mix unless you’re barbecuing a turkey!
Here is a step-by-step guide for a unique and hassle free table that will have your guests impressed almost as much as your tasty turkey.
1. Start with the largest items. This Thanksgiving I skipped orange overload and went with a modern white and green palate. The nod to traditional Thanksgiving comes with orange accents in the napkins and gourds. I started with a green tablecloth from Crate and Barrel and three white pumpkins in varying sizes to anchor the table.
2. Add the lower level items. I find it easiest to work with the larger items then moving to smaller items. That way you can adjust as you go and fill in spaces as needed. I used two gourds with orange accents to add color and interest. Opposite ends of the pumpkin line keep it balanced with out getting too formal.
3. Add the greenery. I used broccoli and brussel sprout seedlings connecting to the dinner as a whole and bringing farm to table to a whole new level. The plants, pumpkins and pots are all from Greenstreet Gardens. I like using plants so you can either hand them out as favors or plant them in your garden. Hopefully you have a better green thumb than I do. If flowers are more your style, white roses, hydrangea, mini calla lilies or even tulips are good options. Just make sure to cut the stems short enough.
4. Mix old with new. It’s wonderful to add old in with the new to give your table a unique feel. I added small cuts of the greens in vintage cordial glasses. The glasses came from my husband’s grandma. And the lower greenery gives even more dimension to the arrangement.
5. Use a Mix of Candles. Using a combination of votive and taper candles allows for maximum glow. And everyone looks best in candlelight! For this table of six, I used two tapers and six votives and I used votives in mercury glass to tie in with the cordial glasses. You could also use mini pumpkins as candle holders.
6. Pick a Placesetting. I’m a fan of using casual dinnerware, but if you love your china this is a great time to break it out. The menu fold for the napkins is my favorite but you can find all sorts online. I’m planning on serving a salad first so I included a salad plate and fork, but if you’re saving space for more stuffing remove them. For glassware a short water glass and a tall wine glass brings the whole thing together.
In the end, Thanksgiving is about food, friends and family. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be set for a wonderful dinner with them. Happy Thanksgiving!
All photos courtesy Alicia Rutherford.