Last week, Jesse & I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 22 people. It went off without a hitch - delicious, cozy, and fun - and I actually want to do it all over again. The food was great but I can't take much credit for that (thanks to my family & to Jesse, turkey fryer extraordinaire), so I'll focus on the way we turned our breakfast nook & living room into a table for 15 adults (the kids sat on pillows around our coffee table, decked out with paper & crayons).
Our regular dinner table fits 6 people, so we used some folding tables and borrowed chairs to create one very long table for Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to have a cohesive element among the hodge podge of chairs, the tables of varying widths, and the mismatched cloth napkins and so I used kraft paper-style wrapping paper (cut in half, width-wise) to run the length of the three tables.
The brown paper managed to be rustic enough to tie in the mums I had running down the table and the various fall-hued napkins.
Place cards were just simple cardstock cut and folded in half. I didn't think through last year's seating very well - it had my family on one half of the table and Jesse's family on the other half. Jesse requested that this year we shake it up a bit and mix the two crowds (everyone knows each other anyway). We spent a few minutes the night before the meal deciding who would go where and it seemed to work out well (vegetarians seated together, my brother the teacher next to Jesse's cousin the teacher, etc).
Here it is right before we ate (next year I may do it buffet style with so many guests but this year we served it family style). You can see in the top of the photo how the tables are uneven but the runner helped to draw the eye away from that.
I hope you all had as great of a Thanksgiving as we did. And with Thanksgiving 2013 in the books, I'm ready to move full steam ahead with Christmas prep around here!