It’s easy to obsess over the menu when you’re preparing to host a small army of family and friends for a holiday like Thanksgiving. From making endless side dishes and desserts to timing the brining and roasting of the bird, finding the bandwidth to stage an impressive table setting might seem like a feat best left to the pros. Thankfully, a few small details can go a long way when it comes to your tablescape. From creative wine pairings to museum-worthy accents, here’s how to set your Thanksgiving table in style with the help of Yorkville Village’s entertaining experts.
While you can never go wrong with classic white dishes, consider mixing things up with multi-patterned plates. “We carry collections featuring multiple patterns that work together,” says Mojgan Kamali, owner of Valency. “You can start with a base pattern and bring in complementary dishes, say, by serving your appetizer on a dish that’s related to your base.” Another unexpected way to incorporate colour is with cutlery. “We carry a line of flatware from France called Sabre,” says Kamali. “There are about 20 different options from which to choose if you’re looking for something other than a white or neutral-coloured handle.” As for setting your table in a more creative way, consider arranging your dishes on an angle, suggests Kamali. “Placing things on an angle offers a different way to break up the space, instead of lining them up like soldiers,” she says.
ED Ellen Degeneres crafted by Royal Doulton plates, available at Valency.
“Since Thanksgiving is all about family, I like to keep things more casual,” says Shawn Gibson, owner of Teatro Verde. Also a fan of mix-and-match dishware, Gibson even recommends switching up your chairs for an eclectic, non-formal feel. For a seasonal selection of flowers and plants, he suggests looking to celosia, dahlias, fall mums and decorative cabbage. “Get creative,” he says. “Carve out a gourd or pumpkin and use it as your vase.” Just be sure to keep your flowers under one foot in height so you can see your guests, he adds. Whether you make a statement with one long and low display or with a series of smaller arrangements running serpentine across the table depends on your preference—and how much room you need to leave for food, of course.
Floral arrangements, available at Teatro Verde.
When it comes to wine, turkey tends to pair best with a light red, like pinot noir, or a dry white, such as Riesling, says Andrew Gee, manager at The Wine Shop. But that doesn’t mean you can’t serve your guests something a little more surprising. “Late-harvest and ice wines also go great with turkey,” says Gee, pointing to how the sweet and spicy notes bring out the flavours of the stuffing. “They’re also nice to enjoy both with your meal and with dessert,” he adds. While you can pour a late-harvest wine into a regular wine glass (all the better for picking up the aromas, says Gee), ice wines are best served in a dessert wine glass, which prevent the sweetness from overwhelming your palate by sending the wine directly to the back of your mouth.
Thirty Bench Late Harvest Vidal, available at The Wine Shop.
“Simple is beautiful,” says Tina Dennis, manager at Bois et Cuir. This holiday season, she recommends taking a natural approach with a blend of wooden furniture, metallic light fixtures and earthenware-inspired accents, like Bois et Cuir’s Terracotta vase. For a touch of warmth, Dennis recommends arranging candles in various sizes down the centre of your table in place of a table runner. Layer the candles on top of each other, she adds, to create visual interest with added dimension.
Terracotta vase, available at Bois et Cuir.