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7 Tips For Acing Your Thanksgiving Table Decor


By Stefanie Cove

This year has been nothing short of obstacles, to say the least. It is a new normal we were not prepared for, however with the holidays around the corner– might as well end on a happier note, or at least do what we can. Being an event planner, I have seen a rapid decline in the need for celebrations this year. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I wanted to share my expertise on how to have a festive table (with tips along the way) for those that need a slight glimmer of hope. Even if your gathering may be more intimate this year due to covid laws and safety precautions… you can still use your inner decorator and exercise your creativity for your Thanksgiving table set-up.

Below I shared seven tips that will not only elevate your table decor but also make this Thanksgiving as seamless as possible.


When In Doubt, Do A “Fall Floral” Theme

Picking a color scheme and theme can be difficult, I get it. But when choosing a theme for Thanksgiving, you truly can’t go wrong with fall florals. This means mixing pastel oranges and cream florals with small and matte painted pumpkins in tones such as sage green, orange, and bone white! Adding taper candles in complementary colors will tie in the pumpkins nicely or you can keep it traditional with solid white. The best way to elevate your table decor is with beautiful gold candle holders that have a vintage-esque feel. There is nothing quite like it.


Centerpieces Should Never Go Higher Than Eye Height

Centerpieces that are too high make it extremely difficult for family and friends to converse and quite frankly, are just irritating in general. It disrupts the flow of conversation and becomes more about the piece and its distracting capabilities versus the intimate family moments meant to be shared. When choosing centerpieces, keep in mind that larger and grander is not always better. Subtle and chic is most often, if not always, the way to go.


Glassware & Flatware Method

For an at-home setting, I suggest one water glass and one wine glass per person on the table. There is no need to have two wine glasses at the table since generally, a person decides if they will be sticking to red or white wine that evening. Extra bonus: it saves room on the table too. If you are having cocktails pre-dinner, set aside a glass per person for this too. It’s nice to have an all-purpose glass for this part of the evening – unless you have an extensive collection!  For flatware, I always set two knives and two forks – even if there isn’t a first course – this gives your guests the option of clean flatware for seconds.


The Proper Way To Display Linens

Based on your color selection for the florals, select a complimentary linen and napkins for your table. If your linen is not a custom fit for your table, I suggest layering two linens so that they cover the end corners of your table and go down to the floor. This adds the perfect amount of elegance. The linens should go down first, followed by the florals and candles. It is important to set the florals before anything else (other than the linen) to make sure the spacing is correct and there is enough room for the centerpiece. Once linens and florals are in place, you can go ahead and add the place settings (chargers, flatware, glassware) and festive decor! I usually begin setting the table about 3 hours prior to guest invitation time.


Set The Scene

Ambiance is everything, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I always suggest a nice candle or two burning in the dining room area an hour before guest arrival. This creates the first impression while they walk into your home. Scents I love for the holidays are vanilla, fire scented, and pumpkin chai. Add a few floral and pumpkins around your house for cocktail hour as guests arrive and you’ve set the scene perfectly. Small bud vases and a candle in bathrooms also goes a long way.


Wait 30 Minutes Before Guest Arrive To Light The Taper Candles

I would wait right until guests arrive (or 30 minutes before you sit down) to light the taper candles, otherwise they burn too quickly and probably won’t make it through dinner.


Embrace Personal Touches

Add any special personal touches when possible! Heirloom mis-matched candy bowls on the table, velvet ribbons around napkins, and holiday crackers are all great ideas. The candy bowls should be set every two guests – they can be filled with your favorite candy – or personally, I love to have chocolate on the table from the very beginning of the meal. It’s sort of my signature staple. The velvet ribbons can be tied with a loose bow or knot on the front of the napkins for the guests to pull off when they sit down. As a sweet detail, each place setting can have a holiday cracker above their charger plate.





photo courtesy of Pinterest


Stefanie Cove produces memorable events and weddings around the world. With over 15 years of experience, she’s known for her refined taste and having total discretion. Based in Los Angeles and New York, Stefanie and her team produce singular, full-service events around the world, organized and designed from concept to completion.  Stefanie incorporates a client’s personal aesthetics while delivering seamless execution and cutting edge design, with an equally important, memorable guest experience.

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