Thanksgiving Mise-en-Scène

Thanksgiving 2012 Montage“think like Coppola or Demille when planning your table” 

Mise-en-scène, as taught in my college film studies course, is a cinematic term which refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement – the composition of sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. When I’m planning a party, an event, or even a simple dinner party, I always keep this concept front of mind. I think that entertaining is very much a production (either large or small scale).

Framed in this light, Thanksgiving at the Richmond is for sure an epic.  Filled with tradition, a little excess, and a few novel touches each year. It has become a must attend ritual for the 18 or so folks who gather around our table. And for me it is my very favorite day of the year (thanks in part to lots of help from guests, bloody marys and lorazepam).

For sure the holiday is all about the food (I go the traditional route); but to me it is even more about the table.  Nothing makes guests feel more festive, or welcome, than walking in to a dining room and seeing a thoughtfully planned and attractively executed table-scape with a place set just for them.

Here is a round-up of the “props” I used to create last year’s Enchanted Forest motif:

1 – The centerpieces were made with Burnt Orange Calla Lilies, Purple Artichokes and Light Pink Peonies to add fall color and a natural feel.
2Festive Quail Friends from Wisteria added some still life to the table.
3 – The place settings were on Customized Cranes Cards (a thoughtful host gift from a friend).
4Faux Bois dishes: a discontinued pattern from Marta Stewart & Burliegh
5 – Rather than spend a fortune on a table cloth, I used 12 yards of Mineral Linen from a close out bin.

6 – I love My Drap tear off cotton napkins – here I used  Brown Gingham in the luncheon size.

7Indian Corn painted with Metallic Paint and then sprinkled with extra fine Gold Glitter added some sparkle to the arrangement
8Hermes “Les Maisons Enchantées” salad/dessert plates – a slow building personal collection of mine.
9 – And finally, lots and lots of of Reidel for Target wine glasses to catch light and inspire toasting.


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