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Thanksgiving Day Table Setting Advice Hero Label

How to Set The Thanksgiving Day Table

We love table settings and there is something so special about the Thanksgiving day table - we look forward to setting it each year!

Here are some table-setting guides straight from Emily Post’s Etiquette - The Centennial edition to get you set right for this fabulous meal! We’ll start with the most formal and work our way down toward the simplest of settings. Remember to let practicality and your own style guide you as well.


Below is a list of all the common utensils, glassware, and other setting elements that are essential to table settings. This setting reflects a formal, six-course meal. You won’t likely need the majority of these items unless you’ve planned a six or seven-course meal for the holiday but it’s fun to show all the options when we’re talking about table settings.


Here we’re pairing things down a bit. It’s still a formal setting but we’ve removed utensils for courses that won’t be served (like the fish course

and likely an appetizer with either oysters or shrimp, as we no longer see the fish fork and knife nor the oyster fork.) We’ve also eliminated

the champagne and sherry glasses, this is optional if you’re still going to serve these beverages keep the glasses, or bring them out when you

plan to serve these specific drinks.


Here’s a setting that might look familiar to many as it is often used at weddings and in fine dining. The three-course meal: appetizer, main

course, and dessert is a classic and one many of us will be enjoying on Thanksgiving Day! Remember to make it reflect what you’ll need at the

table, for example, if you’re doing a champagne toast set the champagne glass. Or if you don’t have bread plates, don’t worry about it, guests

can use the edge of their plate for their bread or roll.


May of us serve just the big Thanksgiving Day meal and some pie for dessert on this holiday, so while the table setting may seem simple, it can also be just right for this massive meal. While our illustration only shows utensils and glasses for a single course, you could easily add dessert utensils to the top of the setting (or bring them out with the dessert course) and of course, if you’re serving wine or doing a champagne toast, you can easily add these glasses to the setting. In this particular version of a single-course meal setting, we have elected to show a placemat. Placemats are totally optional. If they help enhance the decor and define the space - then great! If you don’t have them or aren’t interested in using them this time around, that’s fine too.

However you set your Thanksgiving Day table, whether you’re gathered with your family, chosen family, or friends, we hope that you have a wonderful day celebrating all there is to be grateful for in this world. (Pie being one of our favorites!)

Keep an eye on your inbox for the Saturday Sip where we’ll be sending an Etiquette Tip, Emily Post’s recipe for what to do with leftover turkey and a quote to kick your weekend off right!

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