With the holiday season now in full swing (and the spooky decorations packed away), we’re setting our sights on the next big celebration – Thanksgiving of course! It’s just around the corner, so there’s no doubt you’ve already narrowed-down your guest list, sent out the invitations, and started putting together the playlist. With these Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!) plans all set in stone, it’s now time to start thinking about the best part: food.

Planning your Thanksgiving menu is no easy feat, but with the right advice on-board, you’ll soon be serving-up a delicious spread that will keep everyone happy.

how to set a thanksgiving table

Today, we’re not only going to offer our top tips for planning everything from the appetizers right through to desserts, but we’re also going to show you how you can easily turn this plan into a beautifully-designed menu using BeFunky’s Designer.Who said Thanksgiving had to be stressful? Get ready for the fun to begin!

Tips For Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Maybe you have your grandmother’s perfect pumpkin pie recipe, or are scouring Pinterest for a first-time turkey recipe. Either way, you’ll need to get organized. Thankfully, we’ve included our top tips for menu planning below!

Brainstorm your menu

While turkey might be a given, you’ll still have to plan the rest of your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Some hosts go overboard with this phase and dramatically over-cater, whilst not taking into account the size of their kitchen (and oven!). On the other hand, it can be just as easy to simplify your menu to the point of an almost-empty table (and no one wants to deal with hungry guests!).

how to host thanksgiving

Finding the balance between these two extremes needn’t be difficult. Here’s a handy guide below:

  • Appetizers: 2 – 3
  • Sides: 3 – 4
  • Mains: 1 – 2 (including the turkey)
  • Desserts: 2 – 3

You want to strive for variety, so keeping these numbers in mind for any sized gathering will ensure you get it just right.

Think about your table setting

Here’s another important element of hosting Thanksgiving that you shouldn’t leave until the last minute: your table setting. You’ll want to ensure that guests have everything they need within reach to enjoy the delicious food and beverages you serve up. There are a few necessary components you’ll need to think about, including placeholders, napkins, plates, cutlery, table decorations, glassware, and menus (which we’ll talk about more in the next section!).

Now that you know the ins and outs of planning the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, it’s time to focus on designing a delicious menu that your guests will love!

How To Design A Thanksgiving Menu in BeFunky

Now that you know what dishes you’ll be serving on Thanksgiving, it’s time to design your dinner menu! Head to the BeFunky Designer and navigate to Templates, followed by Event Graphics, then Menus. There’s a wide variety of pre-made menu templates here, so simply select the one you wish to customize.

free thanksgiving dinner menu templates online

If you would prefer to keep your menu’s background as a single color, but just in a different shade, then you can also change this easily. To do so, locate Background in the left-hand menu and choose your desired color by selecting a Color Preset or clicking on the box next to Current Color to select your favorite hue.

design your own thanksgiving menu in BeFunky

Want to use an image as your background instead of a solid color? Heading to the Image Manager in the menu on the left will allow you to upload an image from multiple destinations, such as your computer, BeFunky, Facebook, or even Pixabay’s extensive library of free-to-use stock photos! When you’ve got the perfect image uploaded, it will appear as a thumbnail in the Image Manager, and you can drag-and-drop it right into the menu template. 

diy thanksgiving menus in BeFunky

Pro Tip
Want to send your image into the background of your template (as opposed to the foreground where it’s covering text and other elements)? Just click on the image and an Image Properties toolbar will appear. From here, click on Options, before selecting Move Backwards (the third symbol along). Keep selecting this button until your image is in its desired place.

The next step is to edit your template’s existing text so it reflects your very own Thanksgiving dinner menu. When you click on any text box, a Text Properties toolbar appears, where you can change elements such as Font Family, Font Size, Spacing, Paragraph, Color, and more. You can also change what the text says by clicking on the text box and typing.

diy thanksgiving menu templates in BeFunky

Pro Tip
While the BeFunky Designer has a long list of free fonts to use in your designs, you can also access your own fonts by switching between the Ours and Yours tab in Font Family, located in the Text Properties toolbar.

If you think your menu design is lacking some extra wow-factor, you’ll find additional graphics and overlays in the Design Elements tab, found in the menu on the left (the triangle symbol). There are plenty of symbols, shapes, and graphics to choose from here.

free thanksgiving dinner menu templates in BeFunky

Love how your Thanksgiving dinner menu looks? The final step is to save it to a destination such as your computer or Dropbox. Click on the Save menu at the top of the Designer to select your destination. We recommend the Save as Project option, as this will allow you to come back and edit your design in the future should you need to (for example, to print extra menus for last-minute guests or alter a menu item!).

custom thanksgiving menu templates in befunky

A Few More Tips To Prepare For A Successful Thanksgiving

With your menu planned and designed, now it’s time to start thinking about all the shopping and cooking. Here are some tips to set you on your way to Thanksgiving success:

Buy your turkey early

With the majority of Americans serving turkey for the special day, it comes as no surprise that supermarkets across your city will begin to sell out of it. Trust us, you don’t want to be that person scrambling around from store to store looking for the last one! Preparation is key, and it’s advised that you place your order for a delicious turkey at least one week before the event.

thanksgiving turkey ideas

Don’t leave everything to the day of

In order to prevent yourself from running around like a headless turkey on the big day, it’s important that you get as much done as possible in the lead-up. In the week before your Thanksgiving dinner, write a checklist of all of the kitchen utensils or cookware you’ll need to prepare each dish. If there’s anything you currently don’t own, make sure you go to the store that same day to stock up.

Additionally, you can also begin cooking some dishes the day before your Thanksgiving dinner, particularly desserts and appetizers that are just as delicious warmed-up the next day (such as any pies or casseroles).

Another great prep tip is to pre-cut all of your vegetables the day before. You can then store these in an airtight container, ready to use in your recipes the next day.

Plan two shopping trips

Let’s face it, grabbing everything you need within just one shop can be overwhelming, especially when your grocery list is very long! That’s why it’s best to break your Thanksgiving shopping down into two trips. We recommend purchasing non-perishable goods (or those with a long expiration date) about a week beforehand, before buying groceries such as vegetables or dairy goods 2-3 days before the event. Just don’t forget to write everything down so you don’t forget anything!

thanksgiving dinner ideas

Armed with our top Thanksgiving planning tips and your stunning menu from Designer, you’re now ready to rock your best Thanksgiving dinner yet. Once the hard work has been done, don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of bubbly (or whatever takes your fancy!). After all, you’ve earned it!

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