How to Set a Thanksgiving Table for a Crowd

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday and I have always felt the more, the merrier. But what do you do when you are feeding a crowd? It’s not hard to put two turkeys in the oven, but the secret to setting a large table is to use your space wisely and mix and match your china.

I am partnering with Portmeirion to show you how you can mix and match china patterns to serve a large crowd for Thanksgiving.

So where do you start? First, you need to decide on how the food will be served. If you are tight on space then you will need to serve a buffet. Next, take an inventory of the china and everyday dishes you have. Since we are going to mix and match don’t even try to match everything. Also, decide if you want a salad plate. If not, that will help to keep it simple. 

To help show you how to set a large table for a crowd, I pulled four of my favorite china patterns which are Spode Blue Italian, Spode Delamere, Portmeirion Pomona, and Spode Cranberry Italian. This year I will be setting two tables for ten as we are hosting twenty-four family members for this Thanksgiving. Today I am going to show you how I set one of these tables.

Whenever I set a table I start with the centerpiece. Place your vases where you think you want them to go. But don’t add flowers until the table is set as you may not have room for as many flowers as you had hoped.

Next, add a tablecloth or placemats. I chose square placemats as I didn’t have enough room for any of my other ones!

how to set a table

Chargers absolutely add a lot of character to a table, so keep your eyes open at craft stores and flea markets. I only own eight of each style so I had to mix and match these silver and galvanized chargers.

how to set a thanksgiving table how to set a dinner table

The plates I chose to use are (top row, left to right) Spode Delamere, Portmeirion Pomona, Spode Cranberry Italian, and Spode Blue Italian

Mixing china patterns is one of my favorite things to do. I like to mix china, silver, and glassware. There aren’t a lot of rules you need to follow. But there are a few things to consider. Size is important. Use plates that are similar sizes or else your tablescape may look lopsided. The shape isn’t as important and I love mixing square and round plates.

Colors are where the mixing gets fun. As you can see below, the four different patterns go together really well. When you need twenty plates mixing and matching is not only fun but necessary!

how to set a table with spode

I placed the dinner plates randomly on top of the chargers.

how to set a thanksgiving table with spode

Then I added salad plates. You could easily eliminate the salad plates if needed.

how to set a thanksgiving table with china

There wasn’t a lot of room on the table for napkins so I grabbed some of my napkins rings and rolled the napkins.

how to set a thanksgiving table with cloth napkins

This worked perfectly, considering the napkins wouldn’t have fit otherwise.

how to set a thanksgiving table

Setting a thanksgiving table

Next, I added my collection of silver and silver plate. I think I have five different styles in my silver drawer

Setting a thanksgiving table for a crowd

I added water and wine glasses and realized right away there wasn’t enough room for five vases. So I removed two vases and added the flowers.

How to set a thanksgiving table for a crowd

How to set a thanksgiving table for a crowd  How to set a thanksgiving table for a crowd

Be sure to head on over to Portmeirion and add to your china collection in time for the holidays. And let me know if you have any questions about setting your Thanksgiving table!

5 thoughts on “How to Set a Thanksgiving Table for a Crowd

  1. This is so helpful and realistic since not many people have one set of matching dishes, silverware, drink ware that will accommodate a large crowd!
    I’m just curious – you mentioned having two tables for ten. Where will your other table be? Does it work out if the tables are not in the same room and the guests can’t see each other? I haven’t hosted Thanksgiving yet but was considering how I would make it work with a large crowd like that. My dining room really only fits 8 comfortably. Thank you!

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