Have the kids go outside and find the flattest, most colorful leaves. Bring them inside and using a special marker and nice handwriting, write the name of each guest on a different leaf. Set in the middle of the plates and voilà: you've got an instant, easy, and seasonal placecard. Do you make placecards?
For our vegetarian Thanksgiving last week, we chose a forest-inspired table with a botanical motif, but since this menu is inspired by California’s unseasonally sunny weather, we’ll stick with a warm Autumnal palette of oranges and reds.
Each guest will have shellfish picks ($11) and crab crackers ($16 for two) for digging into the appetizer, and mini porcelain bowls ($24 for four) for dipping into the horseradish mayo. A cheery Le Creuset baking dish ($25) will serve double duty as a serving dish for the sourdough stuffing — we're all about minimizing cleanup! Fall-themed votives ($15 for three) will be scattered around the table to create a warm, inviting glow, and fun metallic placemats ($72) will liven up each place setting. Click on the items above to shop the rest of the look, and tell us if there’s anything you’d add!
Inspiration for a beautiful table setting can be found anywhere! This look was inspired by the forests of Southern California's Sierra Nevada. Shades of green are layered with browns and accented with wood and leaf motifs. Since the vegetarian meal features an edible cornucopia, I thought it would be fun to incorporate cornucopias into the decor. Aren't these woven ones ($50-$90) from Pottery Barn filled with pumpkins and squash delightful? Small details like Crate & Barrel's leaf napkin rings ($2) and World Market's birch pillar candles ($8-$11) provide an earthy rustic quality to the tablescape, while velvet ribbon and stemless glasses add a sophisticated lushness. Candles and a seasonal bouquet of flowers are a must.
How are you decorating your table this Thanksgiving?
The colors gold and white come together splendidly on a Thanksgiving table. Set the table with a gorgeous brocade cloth, I love this one with matching place mats and napkins from Waterford Table Linens ($42-$80), and place a gold charger (at $10, Charter Club's set of four is affordable) in front of each chair. Top with a white plate and elegant flatware. Serve the meal on large white platters and pour the cocktail in goblet-shaped wine glasses like these ones from Cooking ($31). Don't forget a pretty pie dish, mood-enhancing candles, and a bouquet of seasonal flowers.
How do you plan on decorating for Thanksgiving? Share with us below!
When hosting a dinner party with a holiday theme, like Halloween, it's very easy to come up with a decorating plan. Simply use the colors (orange and black) and symbols (jack-o'-lanterns, witches, ghosts, etc.) that are normally associated with the holiday. Plug in festive orange and black lights, and set out glittery silver skulls. Mix cocktails in a black cocktail shaker like this one from Pottery Barn ($15) and pour into snake-wrapped martini glasses. Serve the bats and cobwebs straight from the gratin dish and plate the scream cheese brownies on a ghost-shaped platter such as this one ($2) by Crate & Barrel. For a colorful spooktacular table, set with black plates and orange napkins. Glowing carved pumpkins complete the eerie look.
How have you decorated for Halloween?
With a few simple additions, one can transform an everyday dining room into a harvest-themed haven. Start by putting a festive wreath on the front door, guests will be in the spirit from the moment they arrive. Cover the table in a luxurious army green cloth and set with cream-colored plates. Bake the potpies in individual vessels like these Le Crueset ramekins (which are on sale for $10). Pumpkins and gourds double as decorations when arranged with pretty votives on the table. Place a punch bowl on a nearby banquet table and have everyone help themselves to a glass of kumquat-pomegranate punch. Serve the pumpkin rice pudding in clear glass bowls — I love this set of 12 from Crate & Barrel ($19). Don't forget mood lighting and a bouquet of fresh seasonal flowers!
Have you hosted a dinner party recently? How did you decorate the table?
One will hold the food, plates, and napkins. Another will house the mocktail in a pretty drink dispenser, ice buckets, sparkling wine, and Champagne flutes. A third table is where I'll set up the dessert and candy bar. Finally, a fourth table is where I'll ask guests to place gifts.
All of the tables will be covered in simple, but elegant white cloths. An assortment of flowers in purple tones will look great on the cloths. I'll hang pretty tissue paper garlands from the trees. I hope it will be beautiful and that the bride will love it! Have you hosted a bridal shower? Please share your tips with me below.
After a bike ride with friends, everyone is coming back to my place for a delicious Indian-inspired dinner in the patio. I'll turn on the fountain, light some candles, and play festive music. Before the ride, I'll set the table; that way I won't have to worry about it when my friends are over. White plates and white cloth napkins, like the ones seen here from Williams-Sonoma ($42) and Dansk ($12), are ideal for showcasing the meal. A colorfully printed table runner looks chic down the middle of the table. I'll serve the food on large platters — I love this gold rectangular one by Mamma Ro ($35) — and the mojitos in a clear pitcher. A vase with flowers finishes the look.
When hosting a canning and pickling event, be sure your kitchen is spotless! Most of the action will take place there, and if you plan on having a large crowd, don't be afraid to use a folding table for more counter space. Set up stations around the room: one for snacking, one for jamming, one for pickling, and one for the cocktail. Then, add everything you need to accomplish each task in the designated area: serving platters and chip and dip bowls in the snacking zone; pots, jars, and bowls in the canning and pickling area; cocktail shaker, glasses, and measuring glass in the drink station, etc. When guests arrive, assign everyone a task and let the fun begin!
Have you hosted a preserving party or are you familiar with canning? Share your suggestions below!