Strong Women Series: Lauren Greeno on Setting The Perfect Turkey Day Table

I’m beyond pleased to feature this fantastic new mama, one of my college besties, Lauren Greeno, on this #WCW. After years planning galas for the rich and famous, she has decided to create her own event production business to get more flexibility to be with her insanely adorable little dude. Who better to give us some inspiration for setting that Thanksgiving table than this fab WAHM?? Here she is! -xoxo, Annie

Hi, I’m Lauren, mama to this little guy

and founder of an up and coming event production company (my other baby!) In all fairness, my baby boy is the inspiration behind starting my own company. I wanted to spend more time with him while also doing what I love. Now that he’s on a more predictable sleep schedule, I can devote some of his precious nap time to creating my own business and with a little help from Annie, I’m bringing you some holiday hosting inspiration from our home to yours.

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving (isn’t it everyone’s?!) So here is a little a peek into how I’ll be setting up my dinner table for Thanksgiving (including some kid friendly tips) that you can adopt for your upcoming Thanksgiving and/or Friendsgiving festivities.​​

 

My inspiration for this tablescape is all things fall, from autumnal leaves, pumpkins and gourds, to cranberries and warm colors like gold and bronze. First things first, I layout my place mats to not only plan for the number of guests attending, but also to have a clear placement for my centerpiece which, in this case, happens to be quite detailed but easy to put together. I love these place mats because they’re intricate with great texture, pop against my concrete table, and although they are gold, are quite neutral and can be used all year round with numerous color schemes.  

After laying out my place mats which took up the most real estate on my table, I started on my center piece. Remember, centerpieces don’t have to be just flowers or a decorative piece. I love to have numerous elements that add a cozy and fun feel to my events and dinners. I start by hand placing the leaves. Since LA doesn’t exactly have a “true” fall, I purchased a set of leaves to get started.  

​If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where the leaves have changed colors, feel free to pick your own leaves and utilize them as decoration either on the table itself but scattering and arranging the various color leaves, in a large vase or as place cards by writing guests names on them and placing them on the plate.  

Next, it’s time to start layering on your centerpiece. I purchased these cute mini pumpkins and gourds from Trader Joes.

When I was at the pumpkin patch with my son in October picking out our Halloween pumpkins, I was looking around for mini gourds to pull double duty for both Halloween and Thanksgiving, but didn’t have much luck finding small enough ones. This would be a great way to recycle pumpkins from Halloween that aren’t decorated or carved, so try to purchase them all together or look for a great after Halloween sale. You can get creative on placement of the pumpkins and gourds, spread them out, lean smaller ones against larger ones, have some colorful bunches as well as some white pumpkins that give you different dimensions against the colorful leaves on the table.

The next step is to layer on fun, decorative pieces. I started with this bowl set that comes in two sizes. I am utilizing the larger bowl to house some dried cranberries, and the smaller one to add various heights. You can even add some sparkle by adding a gold beaded necklace to it that adds some fun and flare to the table.

I started working on each place setting by setting down glasses and plates to make sure I had enough room for the basic dinner necessities before adding more elements onto the centerpiece.

I love a beautiful charger, but I don’t think I know more than one young adult that has them… so I don’t use them often. And now, as a mom who will end up doing dishes, I definitely am not using them this year. You can create a beautiful table without them and utilize the dishes you have, especially when your main focus is the centerpiece and unique plates. So, I used my everyday dinner plates, topped them with the ever popular thankful plates (that are also on sale – yes!) and used my fancier cloth napkins that are similar to place mats, are gold, but neutral enough to use for numerous color schemes and go really well with the grey of the table.

I purchased two types of napkin rings: a leaf ring (that I ultimately felt clashed with my leaf motif in the centerpiece), and a set of gold napkin rings that added some texture, volume and much needed sparkle to the table.

Now for the fun stuff! Flooooowers! I first layout where I want to put my floral arrangements. On this table, I am using four square, gold vases and two clear circular vases of the same height from my personal vase collection. Keep in mind, if socializing and conversation are going to be a large part of your entertaining plans, make sure vases, floral arrangements and candles are a bit lower to ensure people can see and speak across the table to one another. I added clear votives, but larger cylinders or vases with dried cranberries poured around candles can also work well to add a decorative flare.

You can purchase flowers already bundled into a bouquet and cut them to size or buy individual flower sets and create your own, as I did.

My flower haul from Whole Foods – a mix of individual types of flowers and two premade bouquets

Both are great and fairly easy to do. For the clear vases, a few tips and tricks to make sure your arrangement looks as beautiful on top as the stems do in the vase:

  • Build and arrange your florals in your hand, outside of the vase first (unless you’re taping off sections on the vase for flowers as seen on professional floral arrangements). But have a few flowers and/or leaves left over to add once you’re done in case you need to add any fillers to gaps and holes in your arrangement.
  • Once you’re happy with your arrangement, tie or rubber band the stems to keep them in place.
  • Make sure your stems are arranged in a fanned out pattern so they look good in the vase. Another alternative is to purchase large leaves to wrap inside of the vase so you don’t see your stems at all.
  • Measure your arrangement and cut stems at an angle to fit into your vase. Cut stems one at a time (I know it’s tempting to cut a bunch at one time, but the stems look better cut individually and not hacked as you’re trying to saw through alot of stems).
  • Cut off the rubber band or tie before setting them in water. I like my flower tops to be right on top of the vase, but you can always add height by keeping your stems a little longer.
  • Add those left over flowers or leaves to fill any holes and gaps you may have and enjoy!

The last step is lighting the candles – I do so about an hour before guest arrive so the wax has some time to melt, channel the dripping candelabras from Beauty and Beast. Add wine, and you’re celebrating!

And if you have little ones in attendance, here are some great ways to make their table as fun and festive as the grown-ups table!

Kid friendly ideas:

  • I love these turkey place mats because they are festive and fun. You can personalize them and use them as seating assignments by using wine markers to add guest’s names. If the kiddos are a little older, you can leave these markers on the table as an opportunity to write down what they are thankful for (and thankfully for the adults, they wash off easily!)
  • Another place card option – these little turkey place cards that are super cute and can be used for either the kids or the adult table.
  • And to keep those kiddos entertained while food is finishing up, these DIY turkey masks come in a pack of 8, easy to assemble, and you can purchase additional fun decorative elements like feathers, felt balls, etc. to add to the fun.

Now that you have a beautiful table, all that is left is family, friends and most importantly, the food! Happy entertaining!

-Lauren

 

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Real As A M*ther

Four girls became best friends in high school and have stayed together through a whole lot of life. We are now a doctor, a lawyer, a financial advisor and a badass doula slash massage therapist and homesteader and want to share what we've learned as wives, moms, women and in our careers with the world... and entertain you along the way!

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