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Scenes from a New England Thanksgiving | Table Style Tips

Thanksgiving may be a national holiday, but it’s especially dear to those of us who live in New England, given our proximity to the earliest Pilgrim settlements and our rich culinary traditions. To kick off this year’s holiday season, we welcomed a group of special guests from the New England Instagram community to a Friendsgiving Feast, held in partnership with Bell’s Seasoning and hosted by the Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, Massachusetts.

In addition to Yankee senior food editor Amy Traverso, we were delighted to have Yankee contributing editor and stylist Krissy O’Shea on hand to make our Thanksgiving table look its best, with a little help from the great outdoors and the folks at PEAK Event Services. Here, we’ve asked Krissy to share some of her favorite Thanksgiving table style tips and entertaining advice alongside images from the Friendsgiving Feast that feature her work.

Thanksgiving Table Style Tips From Krissy O’Shea

1. Choose a Color Palette

When putting together a tablescape for any meal or holiday, I find it helpful to start by picking a color palette. Three colors is a great starting point, and will help give depth and layers to the table. I choose complimentary colors in a light and middle color shade. Then I layer on a darker grounding color to accentuate the others. I also love to add a bit of sparkle with metallic flatware, or candle holders .

All good tablescapes start by assessing the room and choosing a color palette. The existing classic-meets-modern decor at the Inn at Hastings Park provided easy inspiration.

Mark Fleming

When putting together a tablescape for any meal or holiday, I find it helpful to start by picking a color palette. Three colors is a great starting point and will help give depth and layers to the table. I choose complimentary colors in a light and middle color shade. Then I layer on a darker, grounding color to accentuate the others. I also love to add a bit of sparkle with metallic flatware or candle holders.

2. Keep the Menu Simple

i try to keep the menu simple- it lets me enjoy the day with friends and family even more. I try to prepare as many things in advance as possible. Having the soup on the menu is always a great idea - it can be made a day or two ahead (it usually tastes better that way anyway) so all you need to do is reheat it just before serving and add a few pretty garnishes. It easily fills hungry bellies

Keep the menu simple so you’ll have time to enjoy visiting with your guests. Soup (like this Butternut Squash Bisque with Garlic Marshmallows and Spiced Pepitas) is a great choice because it can be made in advance.

Mark Fleming

I try to keep the menu simple, because it lets me enjoy the day with friends and family even more. It helps to prepare as many things in advance as possible. Having soup on the menu is always a great idea: Since it can be made a day or two ahead (it usually tastes better that way, too), all you need to do is reheat just before serving and add a few pretty garnishes.

3. Accent with Nature

think a little outside the box when it comes to table decor. With so many beautiful textures and colors in the autumn and winter palettes there are infinite sources for inspiration. Humble materials right from the back yard or produce section of the market can come together as a remarkable center piece. Celebrate the season with gourds, grapes, apples, pears, leaves and nuts. I try to choose materials with interesting textures but stay within the color pallet I started with at the outset. Arm yourself with a good pair of scissors and walk around the yard. There are lots of pretty seed pods, nuts and grasses this time of year that make great accents on the table. I especially love using eggs on the table . Don’t be afraid to have fun! Its doesn’t always have to be flowers taking centerstage. And the table decor can be incorporated into pies or breakfasts later in the week with the edible elements.

Think outside the box for your table decor and choose materials from nature: seasonal fruits and vegetables, seed pods, nuts, grasses, eggs, and so on. Here, we also featured the colorful little boxes of our star Friendsgiving ingredient, Bell’s Seasoning.

Mark Fleming

I like to think a little outside the box when it comes to table decor. It doesn’t always have to be flowers taking center stage. With so many beautiful textures and colors in the autumn and winter palettes, there are infinite sources for inspiration. Humble materials right from the back yard or produce section of the market can come together as a remarkable centerpiece. Celebrate the season with fresh gourds, grapes, apples, pears, leaves, and nuts. Arm yourself with a good pair of scissors and walk around the yard. There are lots of pretty seed pods, nuts, and grasses this time of year that make great accents on the table. I especially love using eggs, such as quail eggs. Don’t be afraid to have fun! 

4. Add Candlelight

Use lots and lots of candlelight especially now when the days are shorter and shorter. Natural candle light adds layers to the table and an intimate warmth to the setting. Pillars, tapers or tea lights (or a mixture of different shapes and types) are all great on the table and each flame makes for a lovely little point of interest for the eye. I recommend keeping the color palette uniform staying away from scented candles at the table as they can overpower the flavors of a meal.

Candles add visual layers to the table, and their light gives a sense of warmth and intimacy.

Mark Fleming

Use lots and lots of candlelight, especially during the fall and winter, when the days are shorter. Natural candlelight adds layers to the table and an intimate warmth to the setting. Pillars, tapers, or tea lights (or a mixture of different shapes and types) are all great on the table, and each flame makes for a lovely little point of interest for the eye. I recommend keeping the color palette uniform and staying away from scented candles, as they can overpower the flavors of the meal.

5. Insert Personal Touches

personalize your table - make guests feel special with a little handwritten place card or their own salt dish (also a great place to incorporate family heirlooms) small accents make the meal feel intimate and considered.

Things like handwritten place cards and individual salt dishes can help make the meal feel more personal for guests.

Mark Fleming

Personalizing your table makes the meal more intimate and can make guests feel special. Add a little handwritten place card or menu, or supply guests with their own salt dish or small gravy boat. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate a family heirloom.

6. Consider Renting

holiday tables often adhere to the old adage “ the more the merrier! “ But that can also mean loads of dishes and glassware. Using a party rental company can be a helpful option - just rinse and pack used dishes, glasses and linens and schedule their pickup with the rental company for the following day. It can also be an exercise in creativity - think about using space in your home in a different way to accommodate everyone or have dessert in a separate room - letting people stretch their legs and chat with those seated at the far end of the table

A party rental company can help you create the perfect holiday table by supplying dishes, cutlery, glassware, and more. For our Friendsgiving Feast, we turned to the Boston-area company PEAK Event Services.

Mark Fleming

Holiday tables often adhere to the old adage “the more the merrier,” but that can also mean loads of dishes and glassware. Using a party rental company can be a helpful option. Just rinse and pack used dishes, glasses, and linens, and schedule their pickup with the rental company for the following day. It can also be an exercise in creativity, because the endless options available with renting lets you think about using space in your home in a different way.

7. Don’t Forget the Napkins!

When it comes to linens for the table, It's all about the napkins. Napkins are the one thing your guests interact with the most over the course of the meal - it's an opportunity to add a little elegance and luxury to your table with a beautiful natural textile napkin.

As the things that dinner guests interact with the most, napkins are worthy of a little extra elegance. Also, a printed menu, like this one from Maine-based designer Sara Fitz, offers another opportunity for a personalized touch.

Mark Fleming

When it comes to linens for the table, it’s all about the napkins. Napkins are the things your guests interact with the most over the course of the meal, so don’t overlook them in your planning. Add a little elegance and luxury to your table with a beautiful natural-textile napkin.

Ready to host your own Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving? We encourage you to add your favorite Thanksgiving table style tips or advice in the comments below.

And happy Thanksgiving!

This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated. 

FEATURED RECIPES:
Butternut Squash Bisque with Garlic Marshmallows and Spiced Pepitas
Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots
Bell’s Stuffing Rhode Island Stuffies

SEE MORE:
Fall Centerpiece & Tabletop Inspiration from Table & Tulip
Turkey FAQ | A Thanksgiving Turkey Cheat Sheet
Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

The post Scenes from a New England Thanksgiving | Table Style Tips appeared first on New England Today.



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