Thanksgiving Inspiration: New England Meets California

{all images are from my personal camera or iPhone}

Little do my friends know that when we plan a dinner party, they are my design guinea pigs :). I love to break out the classic wedding china, fancy wine glasses (what, you don’t have an A and B set of wine glasses depending on what kind of party you’re hosting?) and deck our dining room table to the nines, even if it means half the people will end up sitting on the couch, with the before-mentioned china sitting just as pretty on the coffee table. Thanksgiving is probably one of my most treasured holidays - to me it means home, warmth, coziness, and a whole lot to be thankful for.

{my pumpkin pies, using mom’s recipe.}

This will be the second year we have celebrated Thanksgiving apart from our friends and family back east, and even though it’s never quite the same to be apart, we are blessed to be able to spend quality time with my cousin and her husband, and their two kids who call Pat “Bat” (short for Batman, which they were convinced was his real name “you’re the real Batman!?”). My aunt and uncle are out visiting this year too, so we will eat and laugh and celebrate together, participate in an ornament exchange, create new memories, and we might even possibly get in a skype date with the family back east if technology allows.

{my little cousins eagerly waiting for us to arrive, camped out on the sidewalk in front of their house}

Last year we hosted Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving and had all of our San Francisco orphan friends over for a day-long feast. This year, we chose to host Friendsgiving the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and we actually almost canceled it at the last minute. But then my friend Chelsea said something that really meant a lot to me “You can’t cancel Friendsgiving! It’s a tradition I look forward to every year!” Chelsea (and most of our friends out here) is also from the east coast, a fellow New Englander even, and she made me realize something that I had never considered: every event you put together, whether a small dinner party or a blowout “lets-pretend-we’re-still-in-college-even-though-we-can’t-really-hang-anymore-and-tomorrow-morning-will-probably-not-be-fun” get together, is something that might mean more to your attendees than you imagine. Think about it - every party you’ve been to has the potential to be the start of a tradition, something you look forward to, something that gives you a special memory to think back on and remember, whether with happiness, laughter, or bittersweet emotion. It is those memories and traditions that make up the most important things in life, and something I will to add to my list of things to keep in mind. Thank you Chelsea for reminding me of that :)

So on to our tablescape…

I wanted to bring in the essence of New England in to our decor somehow, because 90% of our guests are from the east coast. I purchased wheat stalks from the flower market and trimmed them down so they would just stick out of the folds in the seafoam green napkins. Then, using my favorite metallic ribbon, I tied a pretty bow around the folded napkins and added my “calligraphy” place cards. To top it all off, I added a Vermont maple sugar candy to each place setting, something that reminds me of home, and two fluffy and textured fragrant peony blooms that I scored from the flower market.

I thought this could be a simple and pretty way to set up your wedding place settings as well, to add a bit of sparkle to your otherwise muted color palette, and bring in that essence of New England rustic-ness. I could have probably added about 15 more details to it all, but I thought leaving it simple would make it classic and pretty, and I was happy with the end result. Besides, it all matched perfectly with our mason jar chandelier ;)

Most importantly though, our guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves and at the end of the night, just as we did the year before, we all settled in to our spots on the couch/loveseat/floor and watched National Lampoons Christmas Vacation over glasses of steaming hot peppermint schnapps-spiked chocolate (complete with mini marshmallows), laughing away at scenes we had seen a thousand times. No matter the decor, we were all thankful to be together.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends & family! See you back here next week :)

  • Brit @ Landlocked Bride says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    I’ll be partaking in my first Thanksgiving away from Family this year (and even without the hubs), so I’ll be venturing just North for the day to spend time with friends who live in Ft. Collins. It’ll be nice to see some familiar faces and to have a Friendsgiving!

  • Diana Mieczan says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    I adore the idea of Friendsgiving. It melts my heart. Your table setting is simply stunning as well. Have a fantastic long weekend and see you soon, darling. xo

  • Natalie {Bayside Bride} says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    This might be the darn cutest tablesetting I’ve seen and I love the idea of bringing together the east and west coast inspiration with friends! :) Have an amazing holiday!

  • Faith says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    i just love this! makes me want to start a tradition as such with my friends as well. the decor is beautiful!

    have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!

  • Jessica T says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    What a beautiful table setting Jacin! Wow

  • Laura *You Stir Me* says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    oh sweetie pie, it turned out so well! It’s so true - sometimes the event is less about the details and more about actually carrying on the tradition. Your place looks like the perfect spot for a gathering of friends. Love that you are able to do it:) And thanks so much for sharing where you got that ribbon - I had found some a month ago at Michaels but it was too narrow…I used it for my place card favors for tomorrow!

  • Brenda's Wedding Blog says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    Loving your tablescape Jacin - especially the metallic ribbon {I remember you sharing a sneak peek of it when you found it} and the Vermont maple sugar candy is the perfect touch at each place setting. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving - enjoy the time with family.

  • Jaime @ la vie...J'aime says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    the place settings are SO adorable!

  • Chandra ~ Oh Lovely Day says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    How cute are you!? Love that tablescape and your little details. Makes me wish I was at Friendsgiving! Have a great one Jacin!

  • Chandra ~ Oh Lovely Day says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    Also, from the small glimpses, I am IN LOVE with your place! That fireplace…love ;)

  • Cris of Kiss My Tulle says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    So many things I love about this post!

    1. The little ones camped out on the sidewalk waiting for you? AWESOME (my family always picks me up at the airport in a hoard [several cars are involved] whenever I come home).

    2. Your friend’s comment. I also spent several years hosting a “strays Thanksgiving” and it was wildly popular - people really looked forward to having someplace to go and something special to do on Thnanksgiving. I think those years are the ones that really made me LOVE Thanksgiving. They forced me to acknowledge that most of the time, it’s not about doing the same thign over and over - it’s about opening yourself to the anticipation of something to look forward to.

    Happy T-Day!

  • Lena says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love this anymore, you throw in Christmas Vacation! It’s a Britton family tradition I’m hoping will replace arguing about the tree species! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, darling!


  • CC says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    Sounds and looks like you throw a great party. Duh…not surprised!! Looks lovely and I’m glad you decided to keep it up. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Nicole says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    Oh, please come set my dining room table for me please oh please!!!!!

  • Kailey-Michelle {Events} says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    melts my heart! Lovely table Jacin :) Happy Turkey and Blessing day

  • Steph {bubblerock} says on November 23, 2011 Reply

    This is just so cool. One tradition I wish we had so I get a chance to participate in something so lovely… And I love the ornament exchange idea!! LOVE it…

  • Leah says on November 27, 2011 Reply

    Your paragraph on Friendsgiving gave me goosebumps- what a powerful reminder- and a fun and clever idea besides that! I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • dancy says on November 29, 2011 Reply

    I knew they were your “real” pics as soon as I saw the china - mine’s still in boxes in my old bedroom at my parents house. HAH. This all looks so pretty and I know it’s nothing you “did” but I LOVE the windows in your apt!! They’re so pretty! Oh & Christmas vaca is theee best movie ever. ;)

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