Host an Intimate Alfresco Thanksgiving Gathering

Move the Thanksgiving table outdoors and give guests a cozy alfresco dining experience.

The colors of Autumn are nicely balanced at this elegant Thanksgiving table setting
The colors of Autumn are balanced nicely at this elegant Thanksgiving table set simply with vintage white Wedgwood china and natural wood accents.

Warm weather in some parts of the country often allows for entertaining outdoors in late November. Living in southern California has permitted me to take the party into the yard to celebrate Thanksgiving on many occasions. This tablescape proves how easy it is to create an elegant alfresco Thanksgiving experience for your guests to enjoy, and best of all, these table setting basics can easily work indoors as well.

Take Your Gathering Outdoors

Using Mother Nature’s bounty as your backdrop, position the table in a spot that’s both intimate and pretty. This year our guest list is on the small side, so pulling together a table for six is easy as pie. With a larger gathering, set up several tables near each other and vary the tableware slightly to add interest to the overall look.

The key to hosting a successful Thanksgiving gathering is to plan your tablescape a few days ahead. Lay out your plates, glassware, napkins and everything else earlier in the week.
The key to hosting a successful Thanksgiving gathering is to plan your tablescape a few days ahead. Lay out your plates, glassware, napkins and everything else earlier in the week. On Thanksgiving morning all you’ll need to do is transfer it outdoors.

Set the Tone with Your Favorite China

Choosing the right plates for your Thanksgiving table is important because the patterns on your dishes will guide your choices for the rest of the table. In this instance, I wanted to create an elegant dining experience with casual overtones so I chose two subtle patterns of vintage Wedgwood china that work nicely together. Just a hint of gold on the salad plates offers the perfect seasonal accent and contributes a little sparkle to the fall color palette.

Accents of gold on the salad plate used in this Thanksgiving table setting coordinate beautifully with the brass candlesticks and yellow roses
On this important holiday, two patterns of vintage Wedgwood china set the tone for an elegant dining experience. Accents of gold on the salad plates coordinate beautifully with the brass candlesticks and yellow roses.

Add Seasonal Touches

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little hint of autumn décor, but we don’t want to overdo it with turkey figurines and brightly colored pumpkins. For this table, a pot filled with natural dried wheat, multicolored grape leaves harvested from the garden and a few glittery pumpkins are all that’s needed to add that Thanksgiving flair. Natural wood in the forms of cutlery and charger plates add another fall-like element to the table and contrasts nicely with the white table.

A trio of ironstone creamers holds white and yellow roses alongside glittery pumpkins at this Thanksgiving table setting
A trio of ironstone creamers holds white and yellow roses while glittery pumpkins and fall leaves remind us that it’s Thanksgiving. Simple, low-profile arrangements at the center of the table keep the conversation flowing.

Instantly Create Ambiance with Candlelight

Nothing can duplicate the magic of candlelight. Tiny flames flickering at table add the perfect dose of mystery and romance, not to mention candlelight makes everyone look more attractive! Brass candlesticks are the choice at this table, but votives, small lanterns and hurricanes work nicely as well. I love how the gentle glow lights up the vibrant amber glasses on the table too. Adding cozy candlelight to your surroundings extends the party ambiance into the yard and expands the whole alfresco experience.

Cozy candlelight sets the ambiance of alfresco dining at this Thanksgiving table setting
A tidy bow made out of jute twine keeps silverware and napkins together for each guest. At the center of the table, a macramé runner adds yet another layer of texture and acts as the foundation for the seasonal décor. Cozy candlelight set throughout the garden expands the ambiance of alfresco dining.

Mix in a Few Romantic Elements

There aren’t many things that are more romantic than beautiful, fragrant roses. Three small ironstone creamers hold petite bouquets of white roses with one symbolic yellow rose in each. The yellow roses represent happiness and friendship while the white roses express remembrance. Family, friends and memories are an integral part of Thanksgiving, and these roses symbolize how important new friends are while we call to mind Thanksgivings of days past.

The amber of these vintage glasses brightens the table of this Thanksgiving table setting
The amber glow given off by these vintage glasses brightens the whole farmhouse table while at the same time adds a gleam of seasonal color.

Plan Ahead

A great way to keep things running smoothly on Thanksgiving is to plan ahead. A few days before, lay your settings out indoors on the dining table so you can start formulating the look you’d like for your outdoor table. This way your plates, glassware, napkins and everything else will be ready to go on Thanksgiving morning, and then all you’ll have to do is transfer it outdoors. Enlist the help of friends and family members who may be eager to lend a hand. After all, the key to hosting a successful Thanksgiving gathering is being organized, that way you’ll stay calm and enjoy the day.

Crafting beautiful tablescapes is one of Fabiana’s many talents and passions. She regularly shares her inspiring designs on her blog, Ciao! Newport Beach and on instagram.



Set the Table with Antique Rose China

How to set a beautiful table using your favorite collection of plates.

A bird's eye view of this table shows how to collect and display rose patterned china. Modern elements like ombre napkins, fresh flowers, and a stylish eyelet tablerunner keep it from looking too old-fashioned.
A bird’s eye view of the table shows how vintage plates set the tone of this table, but modern elements like ombre napkins, fresh flowers, and a stylish eyelet tablerunner keep it from looking too old-fashioned.

I’m often drawn to flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales. The thrill of the hunt never ceases to excite me! Certain pieces just seem to speak to me, and vintage china always seems to be on my radar while I’m out treasure hunting. Recently, I’ve been drawn towards antique rose china embellished with beautiful patterns and it’s become one of my favorite things to collect. These vintage patterns are feminine and flirty, and best of all, they work beautifully for a romantic table setting.  

Collecting beautiful examples of rose china patterns is easier than you may think. Look for plates in similar pink tones and patterns, and they’ll coordinate perfectly with each other.
Collecting beautiful patterns of rose embellished china is easier than you may think. Look for plates in similar pink tones and patterns, and they’ll coordinate perfectly with each other.

Easy to find  

The next time you visit a flea market or thrift store, be on the lookout for pretty pink rose patterned plates. You can often find them in small sets, which is my favorite way to acquire them, but unique individual plates are also quite practical and fit in nicely if they’re in the same pink color palette. My favorite patterns are made in England and made of fine bone china, but I’ve found gorgeous German examples that are quite unique and look like they’re hand-painted.    

Collect and display rose patterned china with pink accents for romantic charm
Pink accents add romantic charm to the table, while a white runner provides the perfect backdrop and keep this whole look light and lively. Delicate patterns in the pressed glass and eyelet runner offer subtle texture and contrast to the whole setting.

Mix and match for fun

Just like any collection, mixing and matching is made easier when the plates have a common design or color. Dinner plates, salad plates and bread plates all layer beautifully with each other, and especially look lovely in coordinating but mismatched patterns. I’ve found that collecting different size plates also helps when arranging them together at a table setting.  

Feminine details set against the farmhouse table and chairs will create the perfect romantic table setting as you collect and display rose patterned china
Feminine details set against the farmhouse table and chairs creates the perfect romantic table setting. This look is easy to pull together, if you just remember a few of these simple rules for using your favorite collection of vintage china.

Accessorize with Pink

To get more bang for your buck, tie the whole table together with pink accents. Adding pink glassware, napkins and flowers will naturally accentuate the pink rose pattern on the china, and capture everyone’s attention. Think pink when setting this kind of table! 

Small and large patterns of roses on each plate complement each other, while the vibrant pink hues in the flowers and napkins punctuate the vibrancy of the pink roses at the center of each place setting.
Small and large patterns of roses on each plate complement each other, while the vibrant pink hues in the flowers and napkins punctuate the vibrancy of the pink roses at the center of each place setting.

Include feminine details

What’s the easiest way to turn an ordinary table into a romantic table? The answer is feminine details. Of course our rosy plates add feminine charm, but go ahead and add one or two more girly elements, just remember not to go too over the top with frills and such. To keep this table from looking stuffy, an eyelet table runner does the trick and adds a little whimsy to this whole look. 

Set peonies at the center of the table as you collect and display rose china patterned servingware.
Gorgeous peonies mimic the shape of the cabbage roses patterned on this new pitcher. Set at the center of the table, this display of fresh flowers takes only a minute to put together, and adds a bit of drama to the table

Incorporate modern elements

A few modern elements help keep the table from looking a little too old-fashioned. As romantic as roses are, a pitcher of pink peonies adds modern flair to the table, while the colors of these fresh flowers work perfectly with the roses on the plates. Vintage bamboo flatware offers the perfect contrast against the pink tye-dyed napkins and both these elements add a much needed dose of fun to this tablescape.  

As you collect and display rose china patterns, pink peonies add a modern flair to the vintage inspired tablescape.
As romantic as roses are, pink peonies add modern flair to the table, and the two tones in these flowers work perfectly with the rest of the table.

Collect what you love

Vintage or new, rose patterned dinnerware is fun to collect, but if your passion is collecting another type of china, you can still keep these tips in mind when setting your table. The same rules apply for other fun collectable plates like transferware or cabbageware.  Just remember to mix and match, accessorize with a fun color, add a modern touch and incorporate feminine details. Your table is sure to be a hit with your friends and family! 

Collect and display rose china patterned plates with hints of pink as a common motif for your vintage tablescape.
Two different patterns of china are used at each place setting with a simple white ironstone plate visually anchoring the look. And of course, hints of pink are a common thread used throughout this tablescape.

Crafting elegant tablescapes is one of Fabiana’s many talents and passions. She regularly shares her inspiring designs on her blog, Ciao! Newport Beach and on instagram.