Y’all, it’s officially the holidays! The holidays come with a lot of busy weeks and stress, but I try to remember that it really is the best time of year. I get giddy thinking of all the friends and family I get to see the next couple months, and I just love how it brings everyone together. One of my favorite this-generation traditions is definitely Friendsgiving. I mean… a second time to eat Thanksgiving food surrounded by a bunch of your closest friends? CHECK YES! Sign me up!
I got together with a few of my creative friends to do a little Friendsgiving shoot and let our creative juices fly free! My friend Kristin of Events by Kristin coordinated all the details, Lisel and I brought the food, Andi of Pollen Events styled the flowers and Lindsey captured the photos! It was so much fun! I put together a little “How To” guide for how to host your own and got quotes from the experts that I’ve sprinkled in too!
How to Host Your Own Friendsgiving
I know hosting can get a little stressful, so I wanted to breakdown everything you’d need to know to host your very own Friendsgiving! I promise it’s not as hard as it seems, and hopefully, this guide helps even more. Let’s get into it.
The Guest List
This really depends on the amount of space you have, and how fancy or casual you want to go. If you don’t want to deal with renting tables or chairs, count out how many people can fit at your table or comfortably in your home. You don’t want to force people to stand and eat at something like a mock-Thanksgiving meal.
When it comes to invites, again it depends on the style you are going for. If you’re going for laid-back vibes, Paperless Post is perfect (and super easy!). If you want to make things a little more formal or surprise your friends with something in the mail, check out Etsy for inexpensive creative options. You’ll want to get on this quick, and maybe even send a text about the date of the event to give friends a heads-up. If you don’t have time for Etsy invites beforehand, you can always go the Paperless Post route and then hand-write handout cards during the Friendsgiving – that’d be so cute and thoughtful!
“The most important thing to remember when hosting your Friendsgiving is to have fun with it! Don’t get caught up in the details or put too much pressure on yourself for everything to be perfect. The best part is the time spent with those close to you!”
Kristin Mullen of Events by Kristin
When to Have It
Totally up to you! Having it before or after the holiday is completely acceptable. I’d have it on a weekend if possible so that people have more time (mainly you) to prep food…plus you can have more wine, ha! November 19th or December 3rd are both great dates for it – but a Friday or Sunday would be great too. A weekday is totally fine too, if that’s all your working with! Just give people enough time to get there after work with traffic and without stress.
How to Decorate
A great thing about Friendsgiving is these people are your friends – you don’t have to impress any mother-in-laws – and you can style it in a budget-friendly way that’s fun! Here are some of my favorite ways to decorate for Friendsgiving:
Fresh fruit – Such a cute, affordable way to create a centerpiece or decoration in general. You can buy season-appropriate fruit (think apples) and other produce like pumpkins, etc. You can even spray paint the produce to make them more festive. A love a good gold, silver, or white spray paint over produce. Also, if you’re going to spray them, you can pick up the “last day” produce from local markets that is usually marked down – and you won’t see any discoloration if you’re spraying!
Candles – These go such a long way and you can buy them in dozens for cheap on Amazon. I like to mix in shorter ones with longer, and I love an all white candle theme personally. Throw in some candle sticks (World Market has affordable ones) and long candles to make the table more elegant. Tip: Buy fragrance-free for anything around the food so you aren’t mixing smells and overpowering the yummy food. Save the smelly candles for bathrooms or other areas in the house.
Personalization – A little personalization goes a LONG way at a party! You can create a menu – Etsy artists can make one, or you can find ones to edit online and print, or you can even write them out yourself. A place setting is cute too if you’re going more formal. I love the idea of making each place setting personalized – you know these people well, so you can decorate to their personality or interests and make your guests feel super special!
Flowers – Work with a local florist on simple flower arrangements – or for even less money, you can just use greenery and lay it down the center of a table. Ask the florist if they’ll deliver or if you can pick them up the day-of your Friendsgiving!
For this shoot, we had Andi of Pollen Events style the flowers – don’t they look amazing!?
“When deciding the floral direction for your Thanksgiving table, autumn has some of the loveliest selections when it comes to foliage, blooms and fruits. For this particular arrangement, I used amaryllis, hellebores, ilex, chocolate queen anne’s lace, amber amaranthus, peegee hydrangea, pomegranates and cappuccino roses to compose arrangements that were overall very neutral, but still had a lot of interest and movement. Keeping it low, yet designed with a lot of dimension, allows easy conversation among your guests, while also giving an up-close view to see the unique blooms and composition of your arrangements.”
Andi of Pollen Events
What to Serve
Delegate, delegate, delegate! Like I said before, these are your FRIENDS – you can ask them to bring something without feeling like an awful host. And let’s be real, everyone will have a better time if you aren’t stressed with all the cooking.
Before delegating though, make sure none of your friends coming have dietary restrictions. If they do, you should provide at least one side and app that they can eat. Then you can ask them to bring something that they can eat to share with the group!
Depending on how many people are coming, ask at least 1 person per five people to bring one of the following: appetizer, side, dessert, drink. You should handle the main dish (like the turkey or whatever meat you want). Ask friends what they like to make, and then just make sure you’re not getting two mashed potatoes as the only side. First to respond can pick what they want to bring! If someone doesn’t like to cook, drinks are easy to bring.
These are just general tips for hosting to make it a great, peaceful experience:
- 5 senses – You want to make sure each of people’s senses are happy. Smell = good food cooking and a candle in the bathroom. Eyes = make the table as pretty as you want, but be sure to clean up your house so people aren’t walking into a mess. Touch = give people somewhere comfortable to sit. Hear = music, we’ll get to that next! Taste = the delicious food covers this!
- Music – This is definitely something you want to prep before. Make sure you have a system or speaker that’s charged and that you can hear from where people will be eating. Pandora has great “dinner party” stations if you don’t have a set playlist. I have a Spotify playlist here that rules (ENTER), too! If there’s a football game on or something that people want to watch before or after dinner, just mute it and have the light music playing so that people can still watch but non-sports fans don’t have to hear anything. Make sure the music is soft enough that people can talk over it easily.
- Make guests comfortable – Have a designated and obvious area for jackets and purses, and for them to put the food they brought. If you’re hosting with someone else, they can be in charge of taking jackets and bags, or have an area when they first enter the house. Also, have drinks and apps set up in an obvious and inviting way – you want people to feel like they can grab someone on their own as soon as they’d like!
- Activity – This is up to you, but having some games or cards out is a cute way to give people something to do if the food won’t be ready when the party starts. This is also a good way for new people to mingle. You can also do a funny name tag activity (tons online!) with a random fact about the person – and you get to pre-write them – as a conversation starter and laugh.
- Leftovers – SHARE! Before the party, pick up cardboard to-go boxes. You can usually buy these at a local takeout place or Whole Foods. Get a variety of sizes, and at the end of the night, let your friends make their own doggy bag. Send the home with food, and you’ll send them home happy!
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