Traditional Southern Thanksgiving Tablescape

Get inspired to set a gorgeous Southern Thanksgiving Tablescape with these tips and tricks from a magnolia and cotton garland centerpiece to mixing and matching your grandmother’s silver with your own dinnerware!

Southern Thanksgiving Tablescape

Southern Thanksgiving Tablescape

My Grandmother and Mom always set the most beautiful Southern Thanksgiving tablescapes, and I am so excited and honored to continue carrying on this tradition with my own family. I wanted to share the inspiration behind this tablescape and how I pulled it together in hopes of inspiring you and your Thanksgiving table this holiday! 

Southern Thanksgiving Table

My Mom always taught me to use what you have to decorate your table. We love adding new pieces to our collections, but you can actually mix and match many items to pull together a gorgeous table. You can also add garden clippings of your own to create a beautiful centerpiece. She tells me stories of her own mother adding fresh florals and greenery right from her yard as well! 

Southern Tablescape with Magnolia and Cottton

Magnolia & Cotton Centerpiece Garland

For this centerpiece, we cut fresh magnolia leaves right from my garden and tucked them in with fresh eucalyptus (which smells amazing) and cotton stems. Fresh magnolia clippings will last about one week so it’s a great alternative to flowers if you want a more natural, greenery design.

To create the garland effect, tuck the cut stems in towards each other and add extra clippings on top to cover the stems. Some will show, and that is just fine! I also tucked in fresh pinecones down the center of the table. You can also use acorns as well as any natural element will add a gorgeous touch! Almost all craft stores will have pinecones and fall decor elements. 

Lastly, we added cotton stems throughout. They were the perfect finishing touch to this Southern centerpiece! 

If you prefer more traditional floral arrangements, add in cottom stems and wheat to tie in the Thanksgiving/fall elements. I usually try to keep arrangements and centerpieces low for Thanksgiving so it’s to chat across the table! You don’t want to block off your auntie on the other side of the table! … or maybe you do? Ha! 

Add votives or candle holders into the garland by separating the clippings to create an opening. Tuck the stems right back in, easy! 

Southern Thanksgiving Place setting

I love to mix old and new so we paired my new turkey plates and Juliska champagne flutes with my grandmother’s silver and my mother’s Waterford crystal stemware. Classic silverware and crystal glassware looks beautiful with simple white dinnerware or more decorative Thanksgiving plates. 

I placed the plates on wood slice chargers! I love mixing the casual chargers with the silver and crystal! You can absolutely mix high and low and new and old. That’s what makes setting a table so fun! 

While I typically lean towards beiges and neutrals with tablecloths and runners for Thanksgiving, I chose a sea-foam green check runner to pull out the gorgeous soft green hues in the turkey plates. I actually used this runner for Easter in the past. This goes to show you can truly mix and match linens for various seasons with a little creativity! 

Thanksgiving Tablescape
Thanksgiving Napkin Ring

The pinstripe napkins are a favorite of mine and pair so beautifully with the natural elements of the table. I tucked them in bamboo wood napkin rings and added a sprig of wheat, mini magnolia leaf and quail feather. Any piece of greenery or natural touch would create a similar look. It’s these little elements of a table that truly make it unique!

Southern Thanksgiving Tablescape

Tall taper candles are a classic touch that will give ambiance to your table setting and a bit of height, visually. I chose white but you could use various shades of oranges, yellows and golds for a different look. Always make sure to select “dripless” candles so you avoid a mess on your candleholders. 

Southern Thanksgiving Table Setting
Southern Thanksgiving Place setting

This place setting reminds me of the mountains with the wood table and wood chargers. I always want guests to feel comfortable so we opt for a Thanksgiving tablescape that’s elegant but not fussy! What about you? Do you dress up for Thanksgiving or stay casual? Stretch pants are a must, either way, right? :)

Southern Thanksgiving

What do you always have on your table for Thanksgiving? We most definitely always have pumpkin pie, parker house yeast rolls, and of course the classic turkey and cranberry sauce! We also make my grandmother’s Southern dressing. I must share the recipe soon! 

I hope you’re inspired to set your Thanksgiving table with a few charming touches whether it’s pulling out your grandmother’s silver or adding fresh magnolia clippings to your table centerpiece! 

Here is another Thanksgiving tablescape using the same turkey plates, click here to see this full table!

Turkey Plates Thanksgiving Table

Looking for Thanksgiving recipes? Here are a few faves…

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  1. Mary Elizabeth Bowie Guyton says:

    Simply gorgeous, Courtney! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Marie Whyland says:

    Very Pretty! Very hard for me to do this for 35 people Also it is snowing here.

    1. Love this setting so much! What plates are under the turkey plates. Im copying it all!

      1. Hi Jenise! These are just some larger white dinner plates that I found at HomeGoods a few years ago. They usually do have similar styles year-round, but if not, just look for larger white dinner plates anywhere you can find!

        1. This table is beyond stunning. I used Hermes Africa plates for years for Thanksgiving in LA. Now back on the East Coast I am going more traditional. Ive been looking for weeks and this is the only setting that captures my attention. Going to send photos after. Thank You!

  3. Deborah Jones says:

    Beautiful table settings, love the turkey plates.

  4. Where are the table runners from? Beautiful and so southern!

    1. I found the table runner from HomeGoods.

  5. Hi what size are these candle holders?? Do you know the height? Where did you get them? Is their link??? Thank you!

    1. Courtney Whitmore says:

      Bubbs, the candle holders are from an antique store. So I don’t have a link, but they varied in height from 6-10″.

      1. Also where did you get your spoons and forks set? Thank you!

        1. Courtney Whitmore says:

          They were my grandmothers.

  6. i had to chuckle to myself, when you said get clippings from your yard. i live in michigan and there are no clippings to be had from my yard. lol. love your tablescape and your blog and instagram.

  7. ghazestor says:

    simply amazing.!! thanks for sharing.

  8. lenahalminton says:

    Thank you for taking your valuable time to share this useful information! We really need the same information! I hope you can share more.

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