The Art and Science of the Thanksgiving Buffet

One of the easiest ways to entertain for Thanksgiving is to have a large buffet with all the
yummies laid out for your guest to serve themselves.  Here is the Art and Science of the
Thanksgiving Buffet.


Labels for Serving Plates


Layout your serving platters and pieces a day ahead of time to make sure you have everything you
need. Label each dish and leave a spot open if any of your guests are bringing something.  Stick to
having your serving platters the same color or color scheme. I always choose white serving pieces
because I think it best shows off the food. I even like to use white plates.


serving plates for buffet


Clearly indicate the flow of traffic with stacked dishes at one end of the table. Best to have them
right beside the turkey.  Place the cutlery and napkins at the end of the buffet, pre-wrapped and
easy to grab as people finish loading their plates.  You don’t want guests to be fumbling around
while they try to pile on the gravy and mashed potatoes.


rolled napkins


Start with the turkey, then follow with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries, vegetables
and all of your other sides.

Even though you are having a buffet and you are having everyone sit down at one big table or
various small tables it is always nice to have place cards so that everyone knows where to sit.


place cards


Keep drinks and condiments on the dining table. And don’t bust out the desserts until after the
meal. Let people breath or maybe undo a button between courses.
Click here for Chocolate Pecan Tart Recipe.


Chocolate Pecan Tart with Chocolate Drizzle


Yes, decorations are pretty and festive, but keep them to a minimum. Something simple and low
so they are not easily knocked over while people are reaching for the gravy. I like to make
centerpieces from food or flowers of the season, like mini pumpkins, sunflowers or cranberries
in a vase with artichokes.


Thnksgiving Centerpiece


To make it easier at the end of the gathering have extra large ziplock bags and plastic containers
ready to pack up any leftovers. You can giveaway some to your guests as they leave or freeze for
another time. Extra large plastic bags make it easy to throw in the freezer because they don’t take
up that much room.

Done! Easy! Enjoy!

Plan-it Vicki is the brainchild of Vicki Ross, an experienced Event Planner located in the
Hartford, Connecticut suburb of Avon. Vicki has created celebrations all over the Connecticut
Valley and as far west as the Litchfield hills and south towards Danbury. She and her staff provide
services for small, intimate dinner parties and large, full-scale events such as weddings and
bar and bat mitzvahs. Vicki can be reached at or by email at:

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