We’re very excited to invite one of our favorite local talents, Holly Bryan, back to StyleBlueprint today. A gifted floral designer, Holly specializes in unique floral and botanical arrangements to suit any home or event. Her breathtaking work always inspires us, and today, she’s going to share what inspired her when setting the mood for the big meal coming later this month. Welcome, Holly!

There is no doubt that this is the season almost everyone adores above all others … it’s the holiday season! A quick Google search confirms it — Americans rate Christmas as their favorite holiday, with Thanksgiving coming in second. Just to be clear, I consider the holiday season, inclusive of Thanksgiving, to begin the day after Halloween. The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are full of thoughtful planning, as we make concerted efforts to entertain our loved ones in high style. I love this particular time because it is not quite the craziness that is Christmas, but the excitement and anticipation are still there. So before we cross the threshold into the high-speed ride to the Christmas finish line, let’s pause and set the scene for a beautiful Thanksgiving.

Here is a Thanksgiving table setting that highlights an eclectic, casual style of entertaining. No fine china here! Just a collection of copper, brass, crystal, some accents I’ve collected over the years, and lots of beautiful autumnal accents, produce and flowers.

Holly Bryan's inspiration for this fall tablescape is her obsession with copper and brass. The cozy warmth of these metals is perfect for autumn and they reflect candlelight beautifully.

Holly Bryan’s inspiration for this fall tablescape is her obsession with copper and brass. The cozy warmth of these metals is perfect for autumn and beautifully reflects the candlelight.

For the sideboard. I gathered all the copper vessels my parents own and whittled it down to a few key pieces. Some of these came from my aunt and uncle, who spent some time in Iran with the U.S. Navy in the ’70s. I used my newly acquired vintage brass taper candleholders that I found online at www.shopgoodwill.com (my favorite online auction site these days!). For the most interesting produce, I hit Whole Foods, which did not disappoint. As I was picking out persimmons, a man nearby let me know he thought I was brave to buy them. I just smiled and said the color was all I cared about!

Floral designer, Holly Bryan, gathered copper and brass vessels from her parents' stash and found others at Goodwill!

Floral designer Holly Bryan gathered copper and brass vessels from her parents’ stash and found others at Goodwill.

Starlight, star bright... twinkling over a colorful cornucopia designed by Holly Bryan.

Star light, star bright … twinkling over a colorful cornucopia

Candle glow gives the sideboard arrangement a magical tone.

Candle glow gives the sideboard arrangement a magical tone.

Holly suggests hitting Whole Foods for colorful produce.

Holly suggests Whole Foods for colorful produce.

Brass, bittersweet, and persimmon bring warm tones to this sideboard spread.

Brass, bittersweet and persimmons bring warm tones to this sideboard spread.

The table itself is copper, which makes this theme even more fitting. I used carved gold placemats from Vagabond Vintage; though they sell to the trade only, keep an eye out for their warehouse sales that happen a couple of times a year. And yeah, I used rectangle placemats on a round table … ridiculous? Maybe. But they sure are pretty! The plates came from Pottery Barn several years ago. They actually introduced them the fall before I got married, and I did not delay in adding them to our registry. The rich, brown glaze with the beaded detail and band of bronze were irresistible!

My linens are natural cotton dyed with black walnut hulls from silkandwillow.com, as is the runner on the sideboard. Go to the website — it’s a feast for the eyes for sure. The napkin rings are a little DIY project that happened accidentally. I sadly neglected an air plant and left it to fall apart. What can I say? It happens. So I sprayed the leaves gold, wrapped the napkins and inserted a turkey feather to complete the look. The flatware is another score from shopgoodwill.com. It’s a vintage set made of brass and teak wood. Apparently many sets were brought back from Thailand by servicemen in the ’40s and ’50s. I don’t really intend to use these on a daily basis, or ever, really … one of those things you get in your head and you just have to have. Boy, do I have some random collections!

Carved gold placemats, eclectic flatware and rich brown plates work beautifully atop a copper table.

Carved gold placemats, eclectic flatware and rich brown plates work beautifully atop a copper table.

The creative mind of Holly Bryan-- she takes a dried, neglected airplant and sprays the leaves gold, then wraps them as a napkin ring adding a feather accent.

Holly took a dried, neglected air plant, sprayed the leaves gold, then wrapped them as a napkin ring adding a feather accent.

More Goodwill finds for the table. This time, Holly Bryan discovers brass and teak mid-century flatware.

More Goodwill finds for the table: brass and teak mid-20th-century flatware

Floral designer, Holly Bryan notes: "The crystal goblets were my sweet grandmother’s and I feel lucky to have them. I think she’d be glad to know they are loved in a happy home!"

Holly notes: “The crystal goblets were my sweet grandmother’s, and I feel lucky to have them. I think she’d be glad to know they are loved in a happy home!”

OK, now for another DIY moment. The tin votive cups came from Vagabond Vintage a few years back, and we used them for a rehearsal dinner to hold flowers. The size and shape were perfect, but the color was not. Here comes metallic spray paint to the rescue again! They are now an oil-rubbed bronze with a brushing of gold paint. A couple years ago, I used them again for another rehearsal dinner, but this time I used a few as votives and sprayed the inside gold, which really glows. For the record, I use mostly Design Master Gold Medal for any gold spray paint needs.

Changing a finish can be a simple as spray paint from a craft store. Holly Bryan used Design Master Gold Medal to alter votives left over from a previous wedding project.

Changing a finish can be as simple as spray paint from a craft store. Holly used Design Master Gold Medal to alter votives left over from a previous wedding project.

The centerpiece

And finally, we have the centerpiece. The round Persian tray is another piece my parents received from my aunt and uncle, and I’ve been fascinated by it my whole life. I found the vintage brass pheasants on Etsy and was able to thankfully pick them up locally, saving a little money on shipping for sure! For the flowers, I foraged around town and picked up some elements from Cut Flower Wholesale. And by foraging, I mean I make mental notes of where I can cut a branch or two on a neglected or unoccupied property, behind a shopping center, along a fence … I never leave home without a pair of clippers since I never know when I’ll need to pull over and snip. One fall, I even pulled some gorgeous Oakleaf Hydrangea branches from a homeowner’s brown yard refuse bags. I’m sure they thought I was crazy, but, of course, I thought I hit the jackpot! Check out this time-lapse of how I created the centerpiece.

A round Persian tray from her mother's collection and brass pheasants from Etsy inspired this centerpiece design by Holly Bryan.

A round Persian tray from her mother’s collection and brass pheasants from Etsy inspired this centerpiece design by Holly Bryan.

While floral designer, Holly Bryan, does acquire some flowers from a distributor, she keeps clippers with her in the car to stop for foraged pieces as she sees them along the roadside.

While Holly does acquire some flowers from a distributor, she keeps clippers at the ready to stop for foraged pieces as she sees them along the roadside.

Lush textures good enough to eat, but better served for visual delight as part of this centerpiece by Holly Bryan.

Lush textures good enough to eat, but better served for visual delight

A close-up view of the brass detail in this centerpiece by floral designer Holly Bryan.

A close-up view of the brass detail in this centerpiece

Setting your fall table and making it yours should be a fun exercise. Pull together pieces that you love, and get inspired by them. Let the elements tell a story, and you can’t go wrong.

Today's StyleBlueprint welcomes guest contributor and talented floral designer, Holly Bryan of Holly Bryan Design.

Today’s StyleBlueprint welcomes guest contributor and talented floral designer, Holly Bryan of Holly Bryan Design.

Holly, these ideas are spectacular and sure to make an incredible impact on our holiday homes. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us this season! To view more of Holly’s work, as well as her available floral services, visit her website at hollybryandesign.com.

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