6 Thanksgiving Table Mistakes to Avoid, According to Pros

Dinner, Entertain, Holidays, In Season, Learn, Thanksgiving


If half the joy of Thanksgiving is gathering with family and eating delicious food, surely the other half is how stunning all the dishes, china and silverware look together. Is there anything so lovely as a well-set Thanksgiving table?


We asked senior buyers Chelsae Smith and Sarah Brandt to flag the biggest missed opportunities they see on T Day. Here are the things to avoid, from hospital-bright dining rooms to a cluttered table.

1. Don’t take table shortcuts.

As Chelsae notes, “setting a beautiful Thanksgiving table helps set the stage for a memorable meal. It’s all about creating beautiful memories with your friends and family.” So save the paper plates and plastic cups for another day, bank on having some dishes to do, and set aside enough time in your schedule to properly prettify your table.

2. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns.


Sure, there’s something timeless about a matched set of china, but it can feel quite formal. Consider mixing and matching patterns and colors, suggests Sarah. “We love how our Acorn Harvest Jacquard tablecloth looks with our plaid napkins (sitting with our Plymouth dinnerware).”

3. Don’t drink wine out of the wrong glass.

When it comes to getting your wine to taste its best, the shape of your glass matters. “Whether you’re spending $10 or $100 on a bottle,” says Chelsae, “get the most out of your wine by drinking out of a glass that allows the wine to taste its best by releasing its subtle aromas and hitting the right spot on your tastebuds.” She’s partial to Williams Sonoma Estate Pinot Noir glasses, since Pinot Noir, she says, “pairs beautifully with turkey.”

4. Don’t overdo the bright lights.



Whether you’re inclined towards these delicate autumnal taper candles, hurricanes, votives, or candlesticks, “don’t forget the candlelight!” says Sarah. Err on the side of comfortable and intimate as opposed to overwhelming guests with light. “A few well-placed candles offer soft, warm lighting and set your guests at ease.”

5. Don’t leave bottles on the table.

Williams-Sonoma Decanters


Rather than leaving the table cluttered with bottles, consider a decanter. “Aerating wine will help to release all of wine’s aromas and open up its flavors,” says Chelsae, who particularly loves the “show-stopping” Williams Sonoma Estate Decanter and the Williams Sonoma Venezia decanter. “They make beautiful statement pieces on a table.”

6. Don’t take yourself too seriously. 

Don’t have the right number of teacups for the coffee course? Forgot to show off the burnished bird before breaking it down to serve it? Don’t worry about it. “Don’t take yourself too seriously, and have fun!” says Sarah. If the hostess seems to be enjoying herself, everyone else will, too.

Find Thanksgiving table ideas, essential tools and dozens of recipes at the Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving Headquarters.

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