Table-Setting Tips to Keep in Mind this Thanksgiving
It's almost time for Thanksgiving, and you know what that means - gluttonous portions of comfort food, a palatable dose of family drama and an excuse to dust off the fine china. I have very few regrets from my wedding. (You've already heard the one about the pedicab no one saw and the horror-filled tales of an underfed bride.) There is one thing, however, that I look back on and say "Really?!" And that, my friends, is adding a bunch of nonsense to my registry, mainly the fine china.
In my defense, that registry gun feels a little like the plastic orange rifle from Duck Hunt and is incredibly exhilarating to wield around the store, but if I could go back in time, I'd advise my bridal self to buy a vintage Super Nintendo instead. Don't get me wrong, my Vera Wang for Wedgwood Gilded Weave is insanely beautiful, and I cannot believe someone was kind enough to think I deserved such extravagance on my dining room table. (Shout out to Marla Nagel!) But as I entertain more and more, I realize that I prefer to activate my creative glands with a unique tablescape for each occasion, rather than repeat the same look over and over.
Thanks to companies like Little House Originals, tabletop styling is not only a thing, but a business. Owned and operated by mother/daughter duo, Gabriela, and Karen, creating one-of-a-kind schematics for your table is made easy with beautifully curated pieces, available for rent. I asked Karen for a few table-setting tips to keep in mind for Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Here's what she said.
Your Table is your Thanksgiving
"The table is where everything happens. It's where we laugh, we cry, we eat, and we toast. It's where the awkward moments, uncomfortable questions and the most exciting announcements all happen. Your Thanksgiving table is the center of this moment of gratitude, and it's always important to make this area beautiful and inspiring for your family and friends."
Keep it Simple
"Make sure that your centerpieces don't block your vision. There's nothing more uncomfortable than having to look around a floral arrangement to see who you're talking to.
Keep only what you need on the table. People want to feel like there's room to breathe (especially when they ask you questions like... “when are you getting married?” or “when are you having a baby?”) Make sure to avoid adding extra glasses or decorations... just because.
Real cloth napkins are awesome, but just make sure they're made from a material that actually cleans. Your guests might feel bad about using this beautiful napkin that you chose, but it's your duty to make sure that it will actually wipe off that excess gravy off your uncle's beard."
SET your own Rules
"Table-setting goes back as far as the Ancient Greeks, and over time, many different cultures have incorporated their own norms for what is acceptable. Today, the rules have become a lot more flexible, and table-setting has evolved into an art form and a way to express creativity during everyone's favorite pastime... eating!
A good rule of thumb is to make sure your guests have everything they need for the meal. Review the list of items you'll be serving and think about the flatware needed and whether or not each item requires its own dish. Once you have that list of items, stick to it. Extra forks or spoons may look nice as decoration, but they'll probably just get in the way."
The Details Matter
"When hosting for the holidays, I think about how each detail of the décor and menu all go together. It's important to have a common thread with all the details of the night. For example: if your menu is French-inspired, consider playing subtle French music in the background, or choosing traditional French staples for floral pieces."
Make it Personal
"Personalization brings organization! The seating arrangement can make or break the flow of your dinner. Think about this as you organize your dinner. Try to find a nice place for each person so that conversations flow as naturally as possible. Sitting next to someone you don't really get along with is a major mood and vibe killer. You can make your guests feel really special by adding a simple place card."
It's Always about You
"My personal style always has trendy touches infused with classic pieces. It's my go-to look, and I do my best to translate this into table styling. On the other hand, my mom's style is very romantic and classic. As the story of my life goes, my mom and I always do things together; either she adds finishing touches to my project, or vice-versa. With that said, my table settings always have pieces of my mom in them, while being totally Instagram-worthy, because if not, did it really happen?"
Keep it in Perspective
"I've been hosting Thanksgiving for about eight years now; it's my absolute favorite (and most exhausting) holiday. There's always a moment on Thanksgiving night, right about halfway through the evening, when I look around at my VERY full house and just take it all in. It's usually really loud, and some details more than likely didn't pan out as I planned, but everyone is generally eating or drinking and having a good time. This is my favorite thing. At that moment of the night, it doesn't matter if my turkey was slightly burned, or if my slow-cooker is taking too long, the feeling of love filling my house overpowers everything."