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Caterer Mary Giuliani Shares Tips For Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Mary Giuliani's Top Tips For Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Mary Giuliani is a caterer with clout: her clients include J. Crew, The Rolling Stones, Bradley Cooper, Christie's, and many, many more. When she's not whipping up delicious meals for the jet set, she's brainstorming ways to present her creations in the most beautiful and guest-friendly ways possible. Let's check out her top five tips for setting the Thanksgiving table.


  • Less Is More. "Keep your Thanksgiving table simple. With so much beautiful food, there is no need for an elaborate tablescape or to go overboard with holiday decor. I even like to simplify my holiday menu by serving a 'mini Thanksgiving' so my guests can indulge in all their favorite holiday dishes without all the waste and leftovers."
  • Embrace the Season. "Let the colors of the Fall set the stage for your holiday table. Pick a neutral color scheme and use seasonal fruits, vegetables, and flowers as the centerpiece. I often venture into my backyard on Thanksgiving morning to see what catches my eye: even a beautiful vase of birch branches will have your table looking like a million bucks. If you spend your holiday in an urban setting, fill an oversize lucite bowl with colorful pomegranates, yellow squash, or pumpkin from the local farmers market."
  • Continue reading for more of Mary's tips!

    • Mix and Match. "Keep your table interesting by using different plates, glassware, napkins, and napkin rings. As long as you stick to one color scheme your table will look elegant and chic. Choose subtle touches that will add warmth and character, such as mirrored glass votives or small bud vases."
    • Think Outside the Tray. "The holidays are my favorite time of year to break the rules. I love to use unexpected items as serving dishes or when I'm setting the table. This year I'm using my vintage record collection instead of a charger plate or fancy placemat. Raid your game closet for the unused checkerboard or Monopoly and use it as a platter to serve your hors d'oeuvers."
    • Have Fun. "The holidays can be a stressful time. I like to lighten the mood and keep a sense of humor by framing funny photos of my guests and setting them out instead of place cards. It gets the storytelling started early in the night and sets the mood for an unforgettable evening."

    Need more tablescape inspiration? Check out my Napa-inspired tablescape, the Novogratz tablescapes, CasaSugar's Community, and, of course, the photos from Dining by Design!

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