My first time hosting Friendsgiving and I couldn't have asked for a better evening.
My family just added the deck and I wanted to waste no time and host an event right away.
I consider myself to be a natural host and I love gathering people together. So, whether you're a seasoned host or a first-timer, organizing a successful Friendsgiving can be such a rewarding experience. So today, I want to talk through what I did in order to have a fun and memorable dinner.
Before diving into the details, start by setting a date and inviting your friends. In my case I ended up coordinating a little last minute but it worked for our group! Create a guest list and consider any dietary restrictions or preferences your friends may have. I had a really intimate dinner of only 8 guests so I opted for a simple group message. This helped keep us up to date on food planning, time coordination, and everything in between!
I think this aspect is so deeply personal and can be ANYTHING. You can go for a specific theme like traditional Thanksgiving, 70's Thanksgiving, Disco, flowers, bows, whatever you feel connected to and excited about. Most important is creating a warm and inviting atmosphere will make your friends feel right at home. So for me I used China plates that were my grandmothers on my moms side. That little detail meant so much to me! I also used a ton of crystal dishes I had on hand. I kept with clear glass, crystal, silver, bows, ribbons, and bright autumn colors.
Specifically, I used Canva to create a card on the plate that felt really handmade and drawn. For the name tags on each plate, I used a dried orange slice, card stock that I hand painted each name, and tied ribbon. On the tall candles I used thick velvet ribbon (as the candles burn, you will have to move the ribbon to the bottom or remove!) The votive candle jars are repurposed Oui yogurt jars.
Potluck Style or DIY Feast
Decide whether you want to take on the responsibility of preparing the entire meal or opt for a potluck-style gathering. Potlucks not only ease the burden on the host but also allow everyone to contribute their favorite dishes. Talk with your friends in advance to ensure a diverse and well-rounded menu. We wanted the menu to be really indicative to each person and the things they wanted to share with us.
As no surprise to anyone here, I made the desserts! The Vegan Cardamom Cake and Candied Oranges are a recipe available here :) Also not pictured is the Caramelized Honey Pumpkin Pie recipe I have shared here from Claire Saffitz.
Our group opted to have everyone bring a bottle of wine. It was so cute to see what wines everyone brought and it also ensured we had plenty to drink. Don't forget to offer non-alcoholic options for those who prefer them. I had water glasses and a pitcher of water at all times! I would also say having a cute festive cocktail or mocktail would be a good add, even a simple apple cider.
Keep the energy high by planning interactive activities or games. You could organize a pumpkin decorating station, a gratitude jar where guests can write down what they're thankful for, or even a friendly game of Thanksgiving trivia. These activities add a layer of fun and camaraderie to the gathering. In addition to writing what we were thankful for we had a fun card conversation game to play and pass around the table. The game really got conversation flowing and helped us understand each other a little more. I highly recommend some sort of conversation starting game.
Thoughtful Seating Arrangements
If your guest list includes friends from different circles, think about seating arrangements that encourage mingling and conversation. Consider creating a seating chart or arranging a mix of seating styles, such as a communal table for a family-style feast and additional cozy seating areas.
I was also aware that it might be cold and windy so I prepared for that by #1 reminding my friends to dress cozy and #2 laying blankets on the benches and chairs.
Capture the Memories
Ensure you document the special moments by taking photos throughout the day. I think its always super helpful as a host when your friends naturally love capturing memories. Do your best to balance staying present and capturing all your hard work, fun memories, and beautiful friends!
Before digging into the delicious meal, take a moment to express gratitude and share what you're thankful for. Encourage your friends to do the same. This simple tradition can add a meaningful and heartfelt element to your Friendsgiving celebration. It can feel cheesy and maybe nerve-wracking to be vulnerable about your gratitude but it's so valuable.
Hosting Friendsgiving is a wonderful way to strengthen bonds, create lasting memories, and express gratitude for the friendships in your life. By planning ahead, creating a festive atmosphere, and incorporating thoughtful touches, you can ensure that your Friendsgiving is a cherished tradition that your friends look forward to every year. Cheers to good food, great company, and unforgettable moments!
If you would like to save this on Pinterest, feel free to use this image!
I also have a couple videos up on Instagram and TikTok sharing the process and overall look of the evening.