Here is my personal checklist to make sure everything runs smoothly on the big day!
1 Week Before: Purchase all centerpieces, décor items, and give your show- stopper meal the ambiance it deserves. Think about table and seating arrangements, rent extra chairs from rental supply if needed, or mix and match other chairs around the table from around your house. Place any special floral arrangement order with florists. Purchase the wines, champagne, liquor, mixers, and any other drinks you might need. Everyone has opinions about what spirits are best. I love pairing a wine with each course. Any specialty ingredients should be bought now to avoid being out of luck during the day before purchasing rushes!
3 Days before: Purchase the rest of your ingredients. Go through and do a final inventory count, review your dishes, check in with guests about potential food allergies (better now than the day of). Give your home a good cleaning and make room for overflow. You might even want to get takeaway boxes to decorate for your guests looking to enjoy the holidays just one more day and send them all home with the leftovers.
Day Before: Whip up all desserts, cakes, sweets, jams, and jellies. It’s easier to do it today than tomorrow when oven and stove space is at a premium! Set the table and put out the decorations. Any food prep (cutting, dry mixing) should be done today and set aside.
Thanksgiving Morning: Start cooking the final dishes. Double-check place settings and do a final walk through of entertaining areas. Put out the bluetooth speakers, as you’re going to want music playing to keep yourself and your guests soothed before dinner. Start on all your side dishes.
2 Hours until guest start arriving: Change into your final clothes and freshen up.
1 Hour: Light candles, set out any hors d’oeuvre’s, make sure you switch the music to dinner party vibes, and start greeting arriving guests.
30 minutes: Place desserts that need to be warm in your oven.
10 Minutes: A last-minute check on tables and serving areas, light candles or turn on lights for guests, and do a quick makeup touch-up for yourself.
5 Minutes: Grab yourself a cocktail, exhale, and enjoy the company of your friends and family!
One last tip: Another favorite family tradition I love especially on Thanksgiving is going around the table letting everyone share one thing they are thankful for this year. Gratitude is everything.
To me, celebrating is taking a moment to show all those special family and friends how much we love them. It is about creating a mood and memory through breaking bread, sharing laughs, and to honor an occasion like Thanksgiving that makes everything so worthwhile. At that moment around the table is when the party begins. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tablescape Design and feature By: Anicia Bragg | Photograph By: Jennifer McCuen
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