Simple Thanksgiving Table Setting
Recreate this look for your table with a complete list of sources.
The holidays can be extra stressful, and all Southern hosts are familiar with the stress of creating a jaw dropping Thanksgiving table setting. The trying part can be the expense of over the top florals, polishing the silver, and creating an elegant setting that is comfortable and elegant for all ages. Maria Cooke does just this with her tips to execute a Thanksgiving table that embodies modern simplicity. She shares how incorporating both modern store bought items with vintage family heirlooms make for the perfect Thanksgiving mix. Forget the expensive tureen and no need to polish all silver just perfectly. She suggests mixing your inexpensive glass containers with the silver goblet you received from your grandmother for flower centerpieces. The secret key is to using the same floral execution in each. Again, this too can be super simple and inexpensive. Snip greenery from the garden and incorporate cotton bolls instead of overpriced flowers. The bolls will last the entire month of November and you can easily freshen up the greenery. Hopefully this Thanksgiving table setting inspires you to create a table of modern simplicity in your own home.
Meet Maria Cooke of Ritzy Bee Events in Washington, D.C. She’s done parties big and small, but for her inviting holiday table, she mixes humble cotton, linen, and twine with some simple ideas for a surprisingly elegant look. “I really love the aesthetic that using something organic can bring to the table—literally,” Maria says. “I always want the table and the experience a guest has to reflect my personal style.” That means incorporating both modern and vintage touches with attention to detail. She selects a soothing color palette and carries it through. Maria says setting the table the night before is a must. “The focus of Thanksgiving should be on the food preparation and spending time with your guests.” See our Editor's Picks from Maria's Table.Table: Custom farm table by Phil Crisman; 540/933-6833. Chairs: Crate & Barrel; crateandbarrel.com. Chair: Chocolate zebra-striped chair from The Design Group; jannielsen.com or 770/830-6097.
Mix Modern and Traditional
A graphic white dinner plate looks just right paired with embellished heirloom silver. The menu card is actually fabric. Maria cut pieces of thin linen and ran them through an inkjet printer for menu cards. Do this a day or more ahead of time to allow the ink to dry properly.Paper goods: by SIMPLESONG Design; simplesongdesign.com. Plates: Paper Pretender stoneware plates from Anthropologie; anthropologie.com.
Choose Natural, Long-Lasting Materials
Create a centerpiece with a twist by using cotton bolls instead of flowers. Add fig and bay branches (or evergreens from your yard) to give your arrangement a touch of green. Cotton bolls can be displayed outside of water for months if they’re not handled too much.
Arrangements: by Sidra Forman Flowers; sidraforman.com.
Simple boxes with letterpress cutlery on the lids allow guests to take home leftovers or sweet treats. Tie them with long strips of linen (cut using pinking shears), and finish with a cute tag that reads “I’m thankful for leftovers.
Use Inexpensive Place Cards
Maria chose a letterpress cutlery motif as her theme. For the place cards, she simply folded over the card stock and wrote each guest’s name in an elegant hand.
Arrange the Bar
Create a help-yourself bar on a side table. Stack wooden crates to display glassware and ingredients for featured drinks. List seasonal specialty drinks on a simple card held in a place card holder.Champagne flutes: NapaStyle; napastyle.com. Mini cake pedestal: Target; target.com. Twig pencils: also from Anthropologie. Italian wedding document wall prints and scale: vintage from Scott Antique Markets; scottantiquemarket.com. Bar: Console table by IKEA; ikea.com. Glassware: also from Crate & Barrel.
Set a Special Place for Kids
Cover a small table with butcher paper. Draw a circle where each plate will go. Write a “to-do” list next to each spot, and provide crayons or colored pencils so pint-size diners can mark off items as they eat.Kid’s table: IKEA. Confetti fabric flower pins on menu: EmersonMade; emersonmade.com. Wooden flatware: Paper + Cup Design; papercupdesign.com. Plastic wishbones: Something’s Hiding in Here; etsy.com/shop/somethingshidinghere. Glasses: Red Barn Mercantile; redbarnmercantile.com.
Provide cards for guests to write their own lists of things they are grateful for. Share, start a conversation, and have fun with it.
String Together a List of Blessings
Print out individual words on tabs, and fold them around twine. Weave the twine along the center of the table.