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Thanksgiving is the oldest American holiday. It is steeped in tradition, but that doesn’t mean your Thanksgiving celebration has to be stuffy and stale! Ask any Philadelphia event planner: the key to annual celebrations is balancing the traditional and the fresh. When I plan an event, I always have a ton of new ideas to share. All you have to do is ask!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to put together a list of traditional decoration components, along with a few ideas to put a new spin on them. You can make most of them yourself, or even enlist your family or guests to help. You might even make a new tradition or two!

Gourds
  • Make sPhiladelphia Event Planner | Gourd Craftserving bowls out of gourds. They can be dried or not–this Martha Stewart tutorial teaches you how to cut and paint dried gourd bowls. If not using dried gourds, keep the flesh inside of them and use them to serve small appetizers, like olives.
  • Use small gourds as place markers. Create business-card-sized nametags and stick them into the gourds with pushpins.
  • Incorporate gourds into the terrarium trend. Place them in small terrariums or apothecary jars with dried flowers or leaves.
Philadelphia Event Planner | Pumpkin CraftsPumpkins
  • Use a pumpkin as a welcome sign! Paint a big one, or several little ones, with a message, your family name, or just your house number.
  • Paint a handful of tiny pumpkins with metallic gold or bronze paint. Scatter them over your table, or use them as place markers.
  • Carve out the center of miniature pumpkins and use them as candleholders. White tapers look very pretty inside white pumpkins.
Fruit

Philadelphia Event Planner | Fruit Crafts

 

  • Use cloves to spell out messages on pears. Simply trace one letter on each pear–Fiorellis are best–and push the cloves into them.
  • Carve a shallow divot in the tops of a few apples and insert votive candles into them.
  • Use a pear and a leaf to make a little turkey! This is a great craft to keep the kids busy.

 

 

Foliage
  • Philadelphia Event Planner | Leaf CraftsWrap leaves around a glass candleholder by coating them with spray adhesive. Martha Stewart has a great tutorial! The leaves will look beautiful against the candlelight, especially if you select shades of red, yellow, and orange.
  • Place cards don’t get much simpler than scrawling each guest’s name on a leaf! You won’t need to go any farther than a few feet from your back door for materials.
  • Cut whole branches from trees in your backyard and place them in vases. The brighter the leaves, the better!
Giving Thanks
  • Philadelphia Event Planner | Thank You!Make a cardboard Mayflower and have everyone fill it with pieces of paper on which they’ve written what they’re thankful for. After the meal, read them all.
  • Create a “Thankful Tree” by bundling twigs into a jar. Pass around a bowl filled with colorful paper cut-outs before the meal, and have your guests write down a few thoughts. Hang the bits of paper from each twig to complete your centerpiece!
  • Print “Thankful For” and some blank lines on folded pieces of paper, and tuck everyone’s silverware and a pen inside. During the meal, encourage everyone to write down what they’re grateful for!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Share them with me in the comments!

Images courtesy of Phil Roeder, a2gemma, Elle C., Sheila C., liz west, and the Italian voice.

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KarloPhotography-CrystalDavidWeddingPrint0414-1024x683Olivia, Just a super heartfelt, passionate sincere note to tell you "Thanks" again . You really have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and we truly appreciate it. Aside from the one glitch with the air conditioning, the night was perfect. We really appreciated having you by our sides to help us execute our BIG DAY!. We never had to worry about any of the little things, because we knew you were there to help us. AND thank you for picking up our ceremony programs. Most of all, thank you for your help off the clock. This ordeal with our venue seemed hopeless, but with you in our corner, we could not be ignored. We really, really appreciated that.  Our wedding would not have been nearly as smooth without you. You are invaluable. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Crystal & David

home slider image 4Two years ago, I was the maid of honor at my friend’s wedding. She planned the whole $30,000 + wedding herself and she did a great job. BUT, by the rehearsal day she looked older and had lost her voice. By the day of her wedding, she and I were doing so much running around, I know I was exhausted before the wedding even started. She couldn't even enjoy the reception because one of the guests had an issue that she had to deal with. After that experience I knew that I did not want to end up like my friend. I was convinced that although I am extremely organized, when I got married, I needed someone by my side the whole time. Boy did we get our money’s worth. The day of, I was calm and relaxed. I didn't lift a finger or think about anything other than being married to Ben. Fantastic job Olivia and all the ladies at Precise Events.

 

Emily & Ben

00SimpleKiss_2011MarchI truly can’t say enough about how crucial Olivia (owner of Precise Events) was in the planning and execution of our wedding. I had no idea what I was doing or where to start and she jumped right in and helped with everything. She started with what MY vision was for the wedding and we went from there. She gave her opinion on ideas, but in no way was I pressured to use them unlike some wedding planners I've heard about. As it turned out her ideas were far superior to mine and were fantastic! She checked in on a daily basis to make sure things were running smoothly and anything I couldn't handle she took over. The day of the wedding, she was non-stop- from making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be on time and helping to decorate for the ceremony/reception to making sure we ate and had everything we needed, to packing up and taking us to our hotel. I can’t stress enough that having a wedding planner, especially like Olivia and Precise Events, is a must in planning a wedding. I highly recommend using Precise Events not only for a wedding but to also plan any event (anniversary parties, business events, etc).

Kate & Dave