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Top Table Tips with Jen Huang

Every year, millions of friends and families sit around the table and ‘give thanks’ in a timeless tradition honored around the world. Celebrated film photographer Jen Huang visited us at El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara, to share her stylish tips on how to set a table for Thanksgiving. From sleek glassware to bold centerpiece arrangements, what will you bring to the table?

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Start with a few key set pieces that establish the tone. Today I'm creating a modern table: minimalist, but filled with warmth. Different themes can play off of each other like a song.

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If there's something to celebrate, why not add flowers or natural elements? Branches, leaves, pods and even fruits and vegetables can add a cozy feel to the decor. Lastly, I always light candles. Their warm glow helps transition from afternoon to evening and accentuates fall vibes.

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Dinners are multi-sensory, so consider tactile elements. The changes in feel from napkins, to flatware, to glassware should all be considered. The arrangements add a pop of color without being overly fussy. Even though they're on the ‘wild’ side, I kept them low, which leaves lots of room for food!

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Drinks are a classic welcome. Especially if guests do not know each other, cocktails help the conversation flow. This warms us up right away and gets the celebration going.

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Thanksgiving is all about turkey, so make it the centerpiece. Balance your sides around color and texture to ensure a beautiful table. A sumptuous spread of food always includes different colors—greens, reds, oranges—anything that makes you feel like you just came from the farmer's market.

Timeless Traditions from Coast to Coast

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