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The 5 Essentials of a Southern Autumn Table

Looking to host a quintessentially Southern dinner affair this autumn? Then be sure to set your table with these 5 must-haves of a Southern autumn table!

A Southern autumn table set with Mason's china, monogrammed napkins, fall florals, and trellis runner

Autumn is short and truly worth celebrating in style! Gather friends and family around a beautifully laid table this fall to honor the harvest and kick off the holiday season. After all, a festive table setting sets the mood and makes a statement.

Nothing quite has the je ne sais quois of a Southern dinner party! There is a reason we Southerners are known for our hospitality and hosting style. Certainly, that reputation has much to do with our culture, love of food, and enjoyment of a good party, but don’t underestimate the way a beautifully laid table sets up a hostess for success.

So as you gear up for all of your fall gatherings and celebrations include these 5 essentials of a Southern autumn table to add that special flair to your event.

5 Essentials of a Southern Autumn Table:

Essential No. 1 A Stunning Centerpiece

Whether you opt for fresh flowers or a cornucopia of pumpkins, a Southern autumn table must include a festive centerpiece. Here I’ve opted for a rustic faux bois planter filled with fall flowers: pansies, mums, dahlias, and fern. See how I made it in this post.

Keep your centerpiece seasonally appropriate and use eye-catching colors that echo the autumn season. If you want your centerpiece to last after the dinner party then my planter idea is a good option or you can decorate with a glass pumpkin like I did last year. It’s budget friendly and makes every meal festive!

Purple pansies, pink dahlias, and yellow mums spill out of this fall centerpiece

Navy monogrammed napkins add that special touch to this Southern autumn table

Essential No. 2 Monogrammed Napkins

It is a truth acknowledged across the South that monograms make everything better! Literally everything! So of course your cloth dinner napkins need those special initials.

You can opt for your full monogram, your couple monogram or simply the first initial of your last name. This embroidery project can get a bit pricey, especially if you opt for all 3 letters, so my advice is to choose a cloth and color that will work for several seasons or occasions. I choose to add my married monogram to navy napkins because I use navy like a neutral!

My Picks for Fall Table Centerpieces & Napkins

*Affiliate links included.*

I love Mark & Graham’s monogrammed napkins, especially those with the darling fringe! Accent your fall centerpiece with a lovely table runner like this gingham one or this Jacquard cloth.

Essential No. 3 Autumn China

This Southern autumn table essential may seem a bit frivolous in all honesty. But every great Southern hostess I know has one or more themed china collections up her sleeve, particularly for the holidays.

If you make this investment, choose a pattern you will love for years to come in a color palette that is versatile. I started collecting this Mason’s ironstone Ascot pattern about three years ago, and thanks to my mom I almost have a complete setting for 8! You can see the several different ways I’ve used it for autumn tables here and Thanksgiving here.

Mason's ironstone plates in Ascot pattern offer a fall floral bouquet in yellow, orange, green, and brown

Pheasants and mini pumpkin dishes add that whimsical touch to this Southern autumn table

Essential No. 4 Whimsical Decor

I love to add a touch of whimsy to a tablescape. Not only does it had a bit of fun to your setting, but it often gives guests something to talk about and has the benefit of making them smile or even giggle.

For my Southern autumn table this year, I added a pair of pheasant figurines that are actually vintage Avon cologne bottles and mini-pumpkin soup tureens. These two touches further the autumn theme and add that special something to the fall tablescape.

Essential No. 5 Southern Heirlooms

Y’all know I am a huge proponent of using antiques and heirlooms for entertaining. Fall gatherings are the perfect opportunity to pull out your heirloom china, silver, flatware, and linens. Not only do these items add character to your tablescapes, but they also have a story to tell and help you connect with past family and friends.

For this tablescape, I pulled out an antique carving set made of antler, majolica salad plates, and a pair of brass candlesticks.

A Southern autumn table set with Mason's china, monogrammed napkins, fall florals, and trellis runner

My Picks for Autumn China, Decor, & Heirlooms


Spode’s festive fall china is always a classic choice for autumn entertaining. I’m also loving the simple modern vibe of these word plates from Pier 1. For whimsical decor, a real splurge would be these pheasants from Mackenzie Childs. For brass and other heirloom finds check out the Shop My China Cabinet page.

Mason's ironstone plates in Ascot pattern offer a fall floral bouquet in yellow, orange, green, and brown

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