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Devora Millman, Director of Sales at BG Events & Catering
Devora Millman
Nov 5, 2013

20 of Our Favorite Thanksgiving Tablescape and Decorating Ideas

Thanksgiving décor and tablescapes are a big part of many Thanksgiving dinners.  Most families spend the afternoon or evening seated at the table, making it a key focal point.  As a result, much of the autumn décor effort should be directed here, on the feasting place.

Tablescapes are one of our most popular event design elements.  With all of the autumn-inspired possibilities, needless to say, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays for which to decorate.

Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving tablescape and décor ideas perfect for this holiday season.

Personalized Pumpkins.  Mini pumpkins can be used as place setting identifiers.  Paint the initials of each guest on a very small pumpkin and place one by each place setting.

Painted Pumpkins for Thanksgiving

Thankful Tree.  This centerpiece really gets dinner guests into the Thanksgiving spirit.  Have guests write one thing for which they are thankful for on a precut paper leaf.  Attached a ribbon and ask each guest to hang his or her leaf on the tree.  The tree can then be placed in the center of the table or as a part of the buffet table décor.

Thankful Tree

Hues of Brown and Champagne.  These two colors are very complementary and work especially well when put together to create a tablescape.  Choose one of them to be your dominating color, probably the champagne, and accent the table with a few brown elements, such as the napkins and the candle holders.  Be careful not to go overboard with the accent color, though.

Decorate with hues of brown and champagne for Thanksgiving

Apples and Pears.  Use these two fall fruits as your place setting name tags.  Choose one or both and place one on top of each butter plate at the table setting.  Write each guest’s name on a leaf cutout and tie it around the stem with a small ribbon.

Use apples or pears for place settings

Gourd Vases.  Carve out a gourd or pumpkin, cutting off the tops to make each one into a vase or bowl.  Then fill with fall flowers, grasses and other decorative elements, placing the filled vases along the center of the table.

Use a pumpkin or gourd for a vase

Tree Branches.  Tree branches are wonderful accents to any fall tablescape.  Collect several leafless branches and bunch them together in sets of tall, clear or colored vases.  Place the vases in a line along the center of the table.  Also, consider using a single tree branch to grace the tops of each place setting with a name tag tied to each one.

Add tree branches to any fall centerpiece

Colored Goblets.  Instead of traditional, clear wine glasses, use colored wine goblets tinted with autumn shades or the hues of your color scheme to add useful color to the table.

Colored Goblets

Fall Foliage.  Some of the best elements of fall décor can be found just outside your home.  Collect brightly colored dried leaves to surround your centerpieces.  The more vibrant the colors, the more vibrant the tablescape.

Fall Foliage

At the Lodge.  Incorporate an outdoorsy-feeling to the tablescape with a lodge theme.  Use plaid tablecloths, lots of reds and browns and faux deer antlers as décor when creating the centerpiece.  Wooden candle holders would also go well with this design.

Decorate for an at the lodge feel

Bold Chargers.  Use boldly-colored chargers to give your table an upscale and elegant look.  Just be sure to stick with the tablescape color scheme when doing so.

Use Bold Chargers

Pinecone Trays.  A pinecone is another elegant element of nature that makes for perfect décor and centerpiece elements.  Fill vases or bowls or varying sizes with pinecones.  These are especially versatile elements because they go with light or dark color schemes and can be used as a centerpiece or as accents to other bolder centerpieces.

Pinecones are the perfect element for a centerpiece

Napkin Placements.  There are so many creative ways to place napkins at each table setting.  Roll the napkin up and place in a napkin ring; fold it lengthwise into a long rectangle and let it hang off the table underneath the plate; fold it into a long, skinny stripe and wrap it horizontally around the top plate in the place setting; fold into a 3-D triangle and prop it on top of the place setting…the list goes on and on!

creative napkin placements

Cranberries and Cinnamon.  These elements go hand-in-hand—both the colors and the items themselves.  Fill vases or centerpieces with cranberries and add tied cinnamon sticks for accents.  These two things also make great toppers for place settings, used separately and together.

Cranberries and cinnamon

Acorn Décor.  Fill vases and small glass jars in varying heights with acorns.  Top with mums or other fall-colored flowers and place throughout the table.

Acorn decor

White Thanksgiving.  Create an all-white tablescape, utilizing white in every element from the tablecloth to the plates to the napkins and the candles.  If the influx of white is too much, add a pinecone to each place setting with a nametag on it for a single pop of fall color.

Have a white Thanksgiving

Picture Frames.  Small picture frames can be used as place setting identifiers.  Create simple nametags—using your party’s color scheme, of course—to be framed and set in front of each place setting. Use these creative markers to identify where each guest is to sit at dinner.

Picture frames can be used as place setting identifiers

Personalized Cookies.  Make or purchase elegant cookies in a variety of fall designs—utilizing shapes such as leaves, acorns, pumpkins, etc.—and stencil the name of each guest onto the cookie in frosting.  Put one cookie on each place setting as place markers, and also give them to guests to take home as a Thanksgiving party favor.

Make personalized cookies for place settings

Caramel Apples.  Much like the personalized cookies, individually-wrapped caramel apples can serve as both party favors and place setting tags.  Tie a nametag around each elegantly-wrapped caramel apple with a theme-following, color-coordinated ribbon.

Caramel Apples are a great party favor

Pheasant Feathers.  Pheasant feathers can offer a fun, elegant twist to traditional Thanksgiving tablescapes and centerpieces.  Add the feathers—fake ones are available at many craft stores—to your bouquets of flowers and vases.

Decorate with pheasant feathers

Mini Menus.  One thing that is common throughout many holidays and celebrations is printing out small menus and placing them on each place setting to make guests aware of what’s to come in each course.  The mini menus can be designed to fit every theme and centerpiece idea, tying all elements of your Thanksgiving celebration together flawlessly.

Mini Menus


Devora Millman, Director of Sales at BG Events & Catering
Devora Millman

Devora is the Director of Sales at BG Events & Catering.

Brought to you by BG Events & Catering, Boston area catering and event producers.

About Us

It all started as most events do—with a vision. From the very beginning, we’ve challenged ourselves to go bigger, do better, and create more from less. Every day for us is a new chance to blow your mind with a spectacular new visual setting, a wildly outstanding venue, and a uniquely flavorful and inventive menu. This is the BG Way—working with you, calling on your imagination, and making every event magical. The next great event idea starts here.

We believe there is magic in every event, and there are no limits to where it can be found.

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