How to Set Your Table for Thanksgiving with Paprika Southern Magazine

Thanksgiving Tabletop

Written exclusively for Inside & Out by Christy Hulsey of Colonial House of Flowers

Thanks to my mom my sister, I’ve been setting a proper table for as long as we can remember — basically since we were two. I believe a table is one of those things that we all should know — uncomplicated and effortless. So, I’ve asked Paprika Southern to help me break it down for you, with pretty pictures to look at of course!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you eat a meal starting with the utensils moving from the outside and working your way in. Here’s some more table setting tips and tricks to show you how to set your Thanksgiving table in proper style this year:


Plates. The largest chargers sit under the entree plate — choose something pretty and fun for color and texture! Top the entrée plate with an appetizer plate. The bread and butter plate rests at the top left in the 10:00 position with the butter knife on top of it at a slight angle.

Stemware. Glasses sit to the right at the 1:00 mark. Choose red, white (Or both!) or a beer glass to sit close to the plate. Pick any number of glasses up to five. The smaller glasses always go up front. Water and champagne glasses sit right above the wine glass, barely to the left.


Flatware. I always lay the silverware last, making sure they’re evenly spaced. Put the dinner knife to the right of the dinner plate. The cutting edges of knives face toward the plate. Spoons go next to the knife. The largest fork goes to the left of the plate moving out with the salad fork with the specially shaped fish fork last. Any remaining flatware, like a dessert fork or coffee spoon, should be placed horizontally above the plate at 12:00.


Napkins. Traditionally, the napkin goes on top of the dinner plate. However, depending on the aesthetic of the event, I like to mix it up to match the party. The napkin is the perfect place to add a festive touch of whimsy, like a sprig of rosemary, a mini-gourd, a feather or a dried autumn leaf.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Paprika Southern

Centerpieces. I love a party that’s full of personal touches. And it’s no surprise that I believe a properly set table is incomplete without a centerpiece. Anything will do, and the possibilities are endless — from a clever arrangement of food, fruit, pine cones, leaves, flowers, evergreen boughs or a pretty mix of it all.

These basic rules will work for almost any event, but of course, rules are made to broken! These guidelines can be paired up or down to suit the personality of the affair.

American Grown Pine Cone Lilies: Margie Tygart and Peggy Beam
California Grown Organic Lavender: FloraOrganicaDesigns
Santino Stemless Wine Glasses: Pottery Barn,
Florals: Amanda Currier, Christy Hulsey, Melissa Bottoms of Colonial House of Flowers
Produced with Camp Makery
Styling & Photography: Siobhan Egan + Bevin Valentine Jalbert of Paprika Southern
Venue: Cohen’s Retreat
Wine: Cameron Hughes Wine

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