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Recently Amazon turned to talented table top stylist Beth Batson to promote all things Thanksgiving! Makes sense since Beth, who started her career as a cook and baker in commercial kitchens, has been turning table tops into dreamscapes professionally as a stylist for some time now. She partnered with fantastic food stylist Randy Mon to showcase Amazon's beautiful spread. Beth has been able to successfully meld her passion for photography and commercial video with her obsession for aesthetics to create meaningful visual stories for her clients. This week, Beth took a moment to share some styling tips that we can take home for the holidays.
What makes Thanksgiving special for you?
Most of the amazing women in my family — my sister, mother and grandmother — celebrate birthdays just after Thanksgiving, so this time of year has always felt especially important to me. Now that I live on the other side of the country, it’s also become a very nostalgic time. Over the years, what has meant the most to me is how my family has transformed our traditions through food. When I was vegan (Yup! For at least six years), my family and I made sure our dinner spread was entirely vegan, minus the turkey and gravy. These days, my father is on a strict gluten-free diet, and again, we’ve reinvented our traditions. We are all a part of the cooking process, even my 92-year old grandmother who is in charge of the pies.
What would you tell your average host to get them started with their table setting for Thanksgiving?
It's so easy to get lost on Instagram and Pinterest looking at gorgeous table decor and come away feeling defeated or overwhelmed. Relax! This is the time to bring out the family heirloom dishes, tablecloth or silverware. It's okay for the place settings to be mismatched and for your water glasses to be jam jars.
Start with your family's customs, then incorporate something fresh or new that makes you happy. I'm of the opinion that the food is the centerpiece so keep the table decor minimal. Don't skimp on real napkins and a table cloth or runner. A few candles and a small vase or two with some autumn flowers adds a simple, elegant touch.
What styling tips would you suggest to someone who’s more adventurous or wants to add more drama?
I love the idea of setting up a separate table or bar for mid-day snacks and drinks. Dress it up with a tonal bouquet and add foliage that you’ve found in your yard or neighborhood — think fir needles, dried leaves, herbs and branches of berries. Create a bar area with a signature cocktail or make a mulled wine or punch.
If you want to add more drama to the table, make menu cards for each place setting. Even if you’re serving gelled cranberry sauce, put it on the menu! It’s an easy way to make the meal feel more special and give guests something they can keep to remember the occasion. Don't be afraid to add a bit of gold or sparkle.
What elements do the most successful table settings incorporate?
Let the focus be on the food and the company. If you have a centerpiece, keep it tonal or monochromatic. It shouldn’t be distracting. No one wants to be ducking and weaving around tall candles and large bouquets to pass the stuffing, so keep your table decor low profile.
For more inspiration from Beth Batson, visit www.sallyreps.com.