How to Create a Beautiful Flower Arrangement for Thanksgiving

Looking to give your Thanksgiving table a generous pop of color? Follow these simple steps.


Looking to add a generous pop of color to your Thanksgiving table? I asked Sonoma County floral designer Jaclyn K. Nesbitt, owner of Jaclyn K. Nesbitt Designs, a boutique floral design studio, to share some of her tips for creating a beautiful autumn floral arrangement. Jaclyn’s pointers, along with photos taken by Sonoma photographer Sarah Deragon, are sure to inspire you to make your own floral arrangement. 

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon


Jaclyn encourages us to look around us for material and creative inspriation. She tells us, “Use your backyard (or your neighbor’s if they’ll let you!). All of the materials you see in these photos were grown right here in Sonoma County and all of the foliage can be foraged locally. This time of year is all about fall foliage in rusty reds, copper, bronze, gold and deep plum. Here I used maple, smoke bush, and nandina.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon

She adds, “For floral, stick with what’s still hanging on locally before winter takes over. This means the last of the dahlias, garden roses, mums, strawflower, and celosia.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon

“Chocolate cosmos are at their peak right now, ” she tells us, “and add a velvety richness to the palette.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon


Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon


“Throughout the year, consider what might dry well before you toss your old floral arrangements,” Jaclyn suggests. “Here I used dried celosia, strawflower, and poppy pods that I saved throughout the year to add interest and texture to my fall and winter arrangements. Hang your materials upside down to dry, and with our Sonoma County heat, they’ll be perfectly dried in no time. Bonus: dried flowers look beautiful hanging in the kitchen or barn!”

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon


“For me,” says Jaclyn, “the fall evokes rich jewel tones that are so decadent I want to eat them up!”

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon

Of her floral designs on this stunning Thanksgiving table, Jaclyn says, “I added just the smallest splash of light with the ivory garden roses to tie into the linens and plates, but overall I kept to a rich, saturated palette. Orange and yellow tend to feel more traditionally ‘Thanksgiving’, so I opted for more berry and chocolate tones: Two of my favorite things to eat.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon


Jaclyn reminds us that design and decorating can truly be a joy. “Have fun! Flowers and food go hand in hand,” she tells us. “Let loose, get your hands dirty, and see what happens!”

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon

Thank you to both Jaclyn for her helpful tips and creative inspiration, and to Sarah for the gorgeous photos.

In my next post, I will share even more table decor and entertaining tips for Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!

Photo Credit: Sarah Deragon