You can make the gathering as casual or as elegant as you like, there are no set rules you have to follow. The only rule I enforce is that you have a good time!
To begin your tablescape design, think about the number of guests you will have attending and how formal the meal will be. Is it a laid-back crowd that would prefer something simple? Are the guests more of a fine-dining group who are comfortable with a formal place setting? Think about these things as you decide how ornate, or simple, to decorate your table.
For a casual thanksgiving gathering, you could place a table runner down the center of the table with a few candles, mini pumpkins and nuts as decoration. You could use placemats at each place setting.
Your everyday dishes can be made to look special when you layer them and add some fun accents to the table. Think about placing a large pinecone at each place setting and fastening a piece of thin wire around the top. Bend the wire to hold a small place card. This is a fun way to create a seating arrangement while adding a little pop of fun to each place setting.
For a more formal gathering, use a tablecloth. If you are worried about Uncle Fred spilling on your fine linen, use a washable and easy care table covering.
Haul out your good china or a more formal pattern if you have one. Create a beautiful centerpiece or arrangement. Make sure it is low to the table and not obstructing the view or put it up high enough that guests can see under it. You can do this by using a plant stand or small side table. It adds quite a bit of drama to your table. Make sure you have candles for added warmth. If you have cloth napkins, use them! If you are using fresh flowers, make sure the smell is not overly strong. It will compete with the smells of your food and can even inhibit the taste. It is also a good idea to steer away from strong floral aromas in case some of your guests have allergies or may be sensitive to the odors.
If you want a table that is more formal than casual, but less stuffy than elegant, set your table with a cloth, add in a nice centerpiece, but make the place settings a bit more fun. If you have two or three dish patterns that go together (like a cream set and a brown set) mix and match the pieces. This works especially well if you don’t have enough of any one pattern to make it around the table.
However you decide to entertain this Thanksgiving, remember a little preparation goes a long way and that the most important thing is to connect with those who have gathered in your home. And don’t forget to be thankful for each face seated around the table!
For more autumn entertaining ideas, download your free copy of Savvy Entertaining. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and from ShannaHatfield.com
She Who Can’t Wait to Eat Pumpkin Pie