How to Set a Holiday Table in Style

Written (and styled) by Serena Merriman Alvarado / Photography by Patrick Cline

IMG_3705Former ASW Global Events Director Serena Merriman Alvarado started her own boutique events company, Merriman Events, in the Spring of 2015.  Based in NYC, Serena focuses on small, specially curated events that create a visual and experiential storyline around a theme and use different elements such as flowers, paper, decor, lighting, music and food to bring it to life.  Serena’s speciality is creating beautiful, imaginative and extraordinary tablescapes for her clients and friends. Below she shares with us her take on a Thanksgiving Holiday table and her tips for adding some unusual and unexpected flair to a traditional seasonal spread.
1.  Start with the basics
A tablecloth isn’t always necessary if you have a beautiful table but if you entertain a lot like me, its a nice to have beautiful textiles and linens on hand to shake things up and provide a different visual backdrop upon which to build upon.  Here I used a vintage blue textile fabric my Mother had in her draped on the back of a sofa in her house.  The blue hue is something unexpected for a Thanksgiving table and it really makes the Autumnal colors (red, orange, yellow) pop.
2. Seasonal Elements
To cater to the thanksgiving theme, I used seasonal elements like Indian corn at each place setting and bright rust and yellow Autumn branches and berries.  On each corn husk I added a circle of brown paper which I burned at the edges, name tags with my company logo and gold and natural twine.  I also added feathers and leaves to an oversized rooster made from crocheted wood that I found in an antique shop.
3.  Unexpected Surprises IMG_3672
Last Christmas my mother gave me a set of vintage handmade puppets made by a schoolteacher in the 1940’s for her class.  There were three Indian puppets in the collection which I placed on candlestick holders at different heights on this table to add an unexpected and playful element.  I try to add something like this to every table I do  -its a great conversation starter and something people can play with and use to entertain each other throughout the meal!
Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.45.57 PM
For more on Merriman Events, follow Serena @Merriman_events on Instagram or visit her website,


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