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Budget Tips To Set Up A Thanksgiving Pie Party Buffet

Are you looking for budget tips for having a Thanksgiving gathering this holiday? Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends, and what better way to celebrate than with a delicious pie party buffet? But entertaining can be expensive, so I’m sharing a fun Thanksgiving Buffet Table Set Up that won’t break the bank. These fun pie party ideas will encourage everyone to participate and save you time and money.

Cranberry Dump Cake Dessert Recipe for a Pie Party this Thanksgiving
Fluted Pie PlateGold and Acrylic SilverwareCranberry Dump Pie Recipe

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Supper Club

Today’s Thanksgiving Buffet Set Up is part of our monthly Supper Club Series.

If you are joining us for the first time, we are a group of friends who love to entertain, and when entertaining in person wasn’t recommended, we started a virtual supper club in January 2021.

We are from different areas of the country, and it’s always fun to see each person’s interpretation of the monthly theme. Meet the Supper Club Hosts.

  • Stacy Ling, Bricks N Blooms from New Jersey
  • Michele, Vintage Home Designs from Texas
  • Jennifer, Midwest Life & Style from Nebraska
  • Anne & AnnMarie, Simply 2 Mom’s from North Carolina
  • I’m also from North Carolina.

We are excited to have Diane from South House Designs with us today. Diane is so talented, and I know you will love her inspired ideas today.

Thanksgiving Buffet Set Up for a Fall Pie Party.

How To Host A Budget Thanksgiving Buffet

First, how can you host a budget-friendly Thanksgiving pie party?

Take a note from our Supper Club series and ask all the guests to participate. Have each person bring their favorite holiday or fall pie and spread the expense around.

In my experience, no one likes to show up empty-handed. Therefore, asking each guest to bring a dish or pie takes the guesswork out of what they should bring.

In addition, look for inexpensive buffet table set up ideas by shopping your home first. You can make simple tableware work for a Thanksgiving gathering with a little creativity. Use what you have first and fill any gaps by checking out thrift stores. Seasonal tableware is easily found this time of year. Cake stands, wooden risers and fall-inspired dishes are on my list right now.

Host A Recipe Exchange and/or Best Pie Contest

To up the fun factor, make the event a recipe exchange. Have each guest print out copies of their pie recipe to share with everyone attending. Or have cards handy for guests to jot down the recipes of their favorite pies.

Free Printable Recipe Exchange Cards. Thanksgiving Recipe Printable Cards.

Thanksgiving Recipe Card FREE Printable

You can download this FREE Thanksgiving Recipe Card Printable to use at your Pie Party. They look cute printed on card stock, allowing guests to take home their favorite recipes.

Another idea is to create a pie contest. Here are a few ideas, and you can let the guest know the categories beforehand to make it more fun.

  • Vote for your favorite pie.
  • The easiest pie contest
  • Guess the secret ingredient.
  • The prettiest pie
  • The ugliest pie
  • Most original
  • Best Crust
  • One-ingredient pie party – Everyone brings their version of Apple pie or Pumpkin pie, etc.
Cranberry Dump pie in flutted pottery baking dish.
See Cranberry Dump Pie Recipe

When To Schedule A Pie Party Buffet

Thanksgiving is a busy time of the year, and you should consider your guest’s schedules and travel plans before setting the date.

Some suggestions are:

  1. The weekend before Thanksgiving is a good time before everything gets hectic during the week.
  2. Planning for the day after Thanksgiving will work if your guests are in town.
  3. The weekend after is a third choice.

What Time Should You Schedule

When planning your pie party, you should consider what time of day is best. A mid-afternoon party may work best if this is a dessert pie party.

If you plan the party at dinner time, you will need to plan for main dish foods in addition to the dessert pies.

However, you can expand the pie party to include hearty pies.

Pie Options for Dinner Party

  • Turkey Pot Pie
  • Chicken Pie
  • Potato Pie
  • Tomato Pie
  • and more

How To Choose Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Buffet Supplies

The first step to choosing Thanksgiving buffet supplies is to take inventory of your existing supplies to avoid spending unnecessary money.

Simple cardboard boxes are a budget-friendly way to set up a buffet table. Add a tablecloth and use boxes to create risers underneath the cloth.

You can use a simple white or beige cloth and dress it up with table accessories. I have had this table throw for several seasons, and the soft colors work well for a fall table. I found this throw that is similar and would work equally well.

Easy Thanksgiving table set up for a Thanksgiving buffet

Use thrift store dishes to create an interesting table setting without the cost of boutique-style tableware.

These leaf plates were only $4.00 for a set of six. They are the perfect size for a slice of pie.

These cute white leaf plates are now on my wish list.

Thrifted leaf dessert plates to serve at a pie party

Look through your collection of dishes to find pieces that will work for the Thanksgiving buffet table set up.

Insider Tip

Don’t worry if all your dishes don’t match. I feel mixed-matched tableware makes the table setup more interesting.

Use different-sized plates throughout the table so guests will have an option of a snack or a large slice.

This is true of silverware and glassware for the Thanksgiving Table Set Up. Mix it up and make the table fun.

Thrift store finds - leaf dessert plates for a pie party buffet table.

Rustic earthenware coffee mugs and amber water glasses are ideal for serving beverages at the pie party.

Thanksgiving Buffet Table Set up with earthenware dishes and amber glasses for beverages.

How To Make Buffet Table Visually Appealing Without Breaking the Bank

One of the best ways to make a buffet table visually appealing is to vary the height of the food.

Add boxes underneath the tablecloth, and use cake stands and decorative risers to elevate the pies at different levels around the table.

The buffet table setup doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for inexpensive cake stands at flea markets and thrift stores. Add a candle ring or other greenery to enhance the riser.

DIY Tableware

Another way to create an appealing Thanksgiving Pie Party Buffet is to add DIY tableware.

Wrap your napkins and silverware in a cute fall napkin ring. These rings are made using air-dried clay to create a fall leaf design. This budget-friendly project was inspired by a Pottery Barn version and saved me $50.00 on 8 rings.

Add a variety of fall napkin colors to brighten the table.

DIY Pottery Barn Inspired Leaf Napkin rings made from Air Dried Clay.

These Pinecone Turkey Place Card Holders are another cute DIY project for a Pie Party. They are easy to make, and because the materials are foraged, they are almost free as well.

They are a whimsical, cute addition to the Thanksgiving table and can be used to identify the different pies or to assign seats for the table setting.

You can also download these FREE Thanksgiving Place Cards Printables to enhance your table.

DIY Pinecone Turkey Place Card Holder with FREE Thanksgiving place card printable

Ideas for Centerpiece and Buffet Table Set Up

With several pies on the table, a simple centerpiece is best for the buffet table set up.

Because I used earthenware pottery dishes, adding a pitcher filled with fall leaves and a salt-glazed jug added a rustic ambiance to the table.

After our recent visit to the NC Pottery Highway, I was inspired to pull out my earthenware pottery collections. They provide a rustic farmhouse style for a fall gathering.

Thanksgiving Buffet Table Set up with quilted tablecloth and earthenware pottery

The faux fall Eucalyptus leaves are a beautiful rust color, enhanced with several foraged leaves, hickory nuts, and cinnamon sticks scattered around the different pies.

A trio of brass candlesticks are tucked behind the pies to avoid accidents at the serve-yourself buffet table.

Large earthenware pitcher with faux fall leaves for table centerpiece at Pie Party

Insider Tip

When setting up a buffet-style table, keep candles, centerpieces, and other decorative items safely away from the serving area.

Keep all dishes within easy reach to avoid tipping over any table decorations.

Budget Side Dishes and Beverages

There is no need for elaborate side dishes when planning a pie party. The pies are the star of the show. However, here are a few suggestions.

Dessert Pie Side Dishes

Prepare a few side dishes that will complement the pies.

  • Ice Cream
  • Whipped Toppings
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Chocolate or Caramel Sauces
  • Cookie Crumbles

If all the pies are sweet, including some salty side dishes is a good idea.

  • Mixed nuts
  • Chips
Thanksgiving buffet Pie Party Set up with DIY pinecone Turkey place card holders and leaf shaped dessert plates

Savory Pie Party

If the Thanksgiving party includes main dish savory pie options, here are some suggestions for side dishes.

  • Salad or Cole Slaw
  • Potatoes
  • Beans
  • Stuffing
  • Cornbread or Yeast Rolls

You only need to serve a couple of beverages with pie. Coffee and tea are inexpensive options if you are looking for a budget party. However, since it’s a Thanksgiving party, here is a full list of suggestions.

  • Coffee is an excellent beverage to pair with sweet pies.
  • Tea is another excellent choice and can be served either hot or cold.
  • Hot Chocolate will up the cozy factor at any Thanksgiving gathering.
  • Apple Cider is a traditional fall beverage that can be served hot or cold.
  • Cranberry Juice will add that spark of festive color to your gathering.
  • Sparkling Water is refreshing and a great option to meet all dietary concerns.
  • Many wine choices work well with pies. Do a little research when choosing the perfect wines for desserts.
  • Beer is always a fun choice and a great option.
Set up for a Thanksgiving Pie Party Buffet Table with rustic tableware and DIY decor.

Thanksgiving Buffet Pie Party

Now that you have all the budget-friendly pie party suggestions, it’s time to get this party started. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get the guest list together, set the date, and inform your guests of your plans.

Check your tableware supplies and fill in any gaps. It’s not too late to check with thrift stores for budget tableware.

Plan your pie recipe and get ready to have a blast.

Additional Thanksgiving Supper Club Ideas


Click Images Below For Details

Supper Club

Now it’s time to take a look at the other Supper Club ladies table settings. Up next is Stacy’s Rustic Charm Fall Table Setting. Be sure to click the highlighted titles below to see more inspiration.

Stacy – Embracing Rustic Charm Tablescape / Michele – How To Set Pie Party Buffet Table

Jen – The Ultimate Guide to Hosting A Pie Party / Simply 2 Moms – How to Host the Best Pie Party

Diane – Ideas for Hosting a Let’s Eat Pie Party / Rachel – Thanksgiving Buffet Pie Party Set Up

Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

Setting up a Thanksgiving Buffet Table for a Festive Pie Party themed gathering.


Saturday 28th of October 2023

This is such a fun idea!!


Saturday 28th of October 2023

Kristin, Thanks so much.

Stacy Ling

Friday 27th of October 2023

Your buffet table is so perfect!


Friday 27th of October 2023

Stacy, Thanks so much.


Thursday 26th of October 2023

Rachel, you always have the best tips and the most creative DIYs. I love your Thanksgiving pie table!


Friday 27th of October 2023

Jen, You are some sweet. I appreciate your comments.

AnnMarie | Simply2Moms

Thursday 26th of October 2023

So many helpful tips to host a pie party, Rachel! Thanks for sharing them with your pretty tablescape.


Friday 27th of October 2023

AnnMarie, I appreciate your sweet comments.


Thursday 26th of October 2023

Beautiful Rachel. Love your darling turkeys.


Friday 27th of October 2023

Wendy, I appreciate this. So glad you like them.