I adore the gathering of friends and family around a gorgeous table with the smells and tastes of Fall- all in the name of Thankfulness. The challenge of hosting at Thanksgiving time is balancing the time between cooking, cleaning and having your home be a well dressed and comfortable setting for guests to relax. Some of my most beautiful Thanksgivings were the ones where I planned in advance and kept it simple…which is sometimes hard for a person who makes her living designing and decorating party spaces!
I’ve learned some “tricks” along the way to share with you on how to create a professionally looking, styled Thanksgiving gathering…
Tips from a Pro
1. Don’t wait! Everything takes more time than you can imagine. Clean up your space two days before, set the table the day before, and schedule time (literally on a timer!) so that YOU can get ready.
2. Let your meal style dictate the type of table decor you will use. Family-style serving? You’ll want to leave a lot of room on the table for platters of food, so just a couple of bud vases or candles will fit the bill and your food styling will shine! Setting your food up Buffet-style? A lush tablescape to fill your table will be eye-catching and create beautiful ambiance.
3. Let color guide your decor “look”. Every year, I start with a color palette- anything from jewel toned to unconventional pastels, the colors set the look. I’ll often turn to a professional event rental company for a rented velvet linen or a colored wine glass to add color to my table without having to purchase and find a “home” for these items to live for the next 12 months. This is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to create a unique and gorgeous table setting. Just keep in mind that rental companies get very busy over the holiday seasons, so either plan way in advance or ask if you can place an order for “Will Call” (you pick it up and return it.)
4. Create a tablescape you can master. If you are not a trained or intuitive floral designer, then don’t try to be one for Thanksgiving. A single bloom in a bud vase, some branches overlaid to look like a garland and candles (always!) can create a stunning display that won’t look like a Pinterest-Gone-Wrong post. If flowers are important to you, consider ordering from a professional florist. You’ll have an instant centerpiece that you’ll be able to enjoy as long as the leftovers!
5. Find one custom detail to make it special. Last year, I purchased a foil wrapped chocolate Turkey from Sees Candy for each guest. Not only were they a beautiful addition to the place setting, but everyone raved and I had mentions of the chocolate turkeys for days afterward (Text messages like, “I finally ate my chocolate turkey!”) A name card to assign seating, a printed menu or a thankful jar to collect everyone’s top notes of thankfulness are some other ways to add some attention to detail.
Happy hosting and may you create wonderful memories with those closest to you!
-Jennifer Currier, Owner & Chief Event Designer Soiree, L.A.