thanksgiving...harvest inspired table

I was very honoured to be asked to style the table at my first ever thanksgiving celebration this year.  Hosted by friends for 45 people, I was tasked with styling a giant outdoor table.  I was a little nervous about the responsibility, thanksgiving is an important day, and the table was huge!  6 trestles in 3 pairs stacked end to end, super long and wide.  Thanks to Laura and Brad for the opportunity and an amazing evening.  I love thanksgiving (and pumpkin pie)!

I loved the look we achieved in the end.  The gorgeous wax lanterns (from Stacks of Wax) brought fabulous colour during the later afternoon, and as evening fell they really came into their own, glowing the length of the table like a river of fire.  
While this was a thanksgiving table, it would be just as lovely for a non traditional christmas celebration.  You know how I like to do something a little different for christmas: gold polka dots and pomegranates and sunshine and eucalyptus are two from the past.

The greenery came from my garden, I delayed pruning a few weeks and was able to cut armfuls of bay tree, pear tree, wisteria and rosemary.  All those scented leaves added a spiced fragrance which was just heavenly.  A few stems of yellow pincushion flowers pick up on the candles and add a little variation to all the greenery.

Assembling the arrangement:
Once the planning and cutting was done the table didn't really take to long to assemble, this is how we did it.  

  • Lay branches of bay and pear down the centre of the table, make sure the branches run in the same direction as if they are growing up the table.  
  • Place the lanterns in amongst the greenery.  Don't place them in a straight line, a looser serpentine arrangement will create a wilder more natural look.
  • Using the bay and pear as support fill in gaps and add some height with the rosemary and wisteria.  Try not to lay this textural layer flat on top of the base greenery, you want the arrangement to look as if it had just grown naturally.
  • The pincushions were the final touch, single stems nestled into the arrangement to add a little extra colour.

Thanks to the lovely Bina from By Sabine Interior Design for helping me pull it all together on the night.

Laura had hired white table cloths and crockery, we didn't need to do much with the settings because the centrepiece was so dramatic.  Simply layering the side plate on the dinner plate with a cloth napkin in between was elegant, and left ample space for each setting.

This is not a hard look for you to create in your own home.  For a single table you will need:
  • 5 wax lanterns of varying height, width and colour. I chose shades of orange and red. 
  • 4-5 bunches of greenery, viburnum is readily available but whatever you can cut from your own garden is best
  • 1-2 bunches of pincushion flowers.  Warratahs would work beautifully too in an autumnal theme.
The wax lanterns were bought several years ago for a party and are always a sensation, we bring them out every few years and they were worth the initial investment.  They come in every possible colour and range from $17 -$24 which is a total bargain for props that can be reused often.  

Can I just say that I love thanksgiving.  I love that it is about being grateful, with the emphasis on family, friends and food.  It was a privilege to share a meal with such a large group of friends old and new, and an honour to have the opportunity to decorate the table for the occasion.

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