5 Terrific Tips to Make Thanksgiving Entertaining a Breeze

When it comes to throwing large dinner parties, we thought it best to go to the experts at Simply Catering. Here they share advice on how to take the stress and hard work out of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. 

1. Prep & Prepare

The best way to get started is to organize all of your ingredients, tools, pots and pans. Look over your menu and separate recipes according to what can be prepared a day ahead, what can be prepared and set aside, what needs to be prepared and served immediately, and what dishes can be cooked together. If you have two items that need to be cooked at 350 and 400, you can cook both at 375, as long as they are not baked goods.

It is far easier to cook multiple dishes at the same time, if you have an idea of what needs to be started first, second, third, etc. A lot of your prepping, like chopping and dicing, can be done the day before, as well as baked goods and casseroles. Sometimes it helps to create a timeline, like a list, and scratch them off as you go.

2. Creating the Perfect “Bird”

One of the easiest, and most overlooked, steps to prepping a turkey is doing an akimbo tuck, known as tucking the wings under the shoulders of the bird, so that the breast area is exposed. This makes it much easier to carve once it is done. Start by carving the bottom of the breast and then slicing inwards. The most common turkey cooking blunder is over cooking. Once the internal temperature hits between 160-175 degrees, it is done! Make sure to let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes once it comes out of the oven. It will slice much faster! For more turkey cooking tips and tricks click here.

The pièce de résistance: A perfectly cooked and presented turkey.

The pièce de résistance: A perfectly cooked and presented turkey.

Photo: © www.haleysheffield.com

3. Self-Serve Beverages

As a host or hostess, you need to take some responsibility off your already-full plate. Set up a beverage station with drink options, glassware, ice (and of course La Crema Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). This is a perfect excuse to break out that awesome bar cart you bought this spring! Make sure to offer non-alcoholic options as well, we’re big fans of fruit-infused water.


4. Setting the Table

I always feel like setting the table can be an afterthought or done after you’ve spent the last 24 hours cooking your heart out and with very little enthusiasm or inspiration. Often times, the table can be the first impression your guests have when they arrive and if you’re trying to create a certain ambiance, it is important to make sure you’re not stressing at the last minute to set the table. Do it the night before! Why not? You can set everything up at your own pace and have more opportunities to get creative (all while enjoying a glass of wine). Plus, you’ll discover if you’re missing anything with enough time the next day to make any last minute trips to the store.

Pro tip: Set the table the night before.

Pro tip: Set the table the night before.
Photo: © www.haleysheffield.com

 5. Have Fun

Ultimately, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the opportunity to be with the ones you love, while sharing a wholesome meal. Try your best to relax and have fun. If something doesn’t turn out right, make a joke of it. If someone doesn’t show, consider the extra leftovers! You can always turn a stressful situation into a blissful situation, with the right perspective and company.


Concept and Styling- Ashley Pepitone

Photography- Haley Sheffield

Florals- Juli Vaughn

Catering- Nicole Chapman, Simply Catering

Want to recreate this table setting? Visit our friends at Pottery Barn!  Feather Stoneware Plates, Wishbone Napkin Rings, Harvest Hunter Plaid Table Runner, Lady Amhurst Feathers, Emma Serve Bowl