In our family, we're the one who decorates the Thanksgiving table. We like to use leaves, grass, flowers and vines that we find in the vicinity. The only problem with using leaves, however, is that they tend to curl and wilt rather quickly and they can also eat up a lot of table space, making it hard to find real estate for the food...
Last Sunday we went to a wedding where they had done a beautiful job using leaves that were pressed first. The pressed leaves made a big difference in a number of ways.
One, the two dimensional shape showed off the unique shapes much more dramatically.
Two, there was no wilting or "curling".
Three, there was a lot more room on the table and we found ourselves playing with and collecting up the leaves. It was far more playful.
The fellow who did the table told us that the groom's mother had done it all at home the week before. She simply collected up a big selection of leaves and placed them between sheets of newspaper with heavy books on top. After just a few days the leaves were pressed, semi-dry and ready to transport flat to the event.
You should also note that using a dark tablecloth, particularly the deep red one above, makes a big difference in playing off the colors of the leave. Black would do equally well, and the combination of deep, warm colors creates far more drama than a typical white tablecloth situation.
Above are pics from last Sunday's wedding and below are three good links that offer more advice to this very simple process (including using a micro-wave).