Easy Friendsgiving Hosting Tips

Is it too soon to be talking about Thanksgiving yet? I’m sure all our Canadian readers are like, “Too soon? You Americans are too late.” Ha. But seriously, Thanksgiving is probably my second favorite holiday and I am so excited it’s here again! Recently, Elsie and Jeremy came to town, so I took it as an opportunity to host our annual Friendsgiving. This is my favorite blogging tradition, hands down. I actually have another Friendsgiving I’m hosting later this week (I guess non-blog related, ha). Bottom line—I’m a Friendsgiving fanatic.

If you’ve been following A Beautiful Mess for a while, you may know that Elsie and I host a Friendsgiving together every year. This is our sixth year. Whoa. You can see past Friendsgivings here: 2012/2013/2014/2015/2016

There were a few things we did a little differently this year. For example, this was the first time (ever!) that we hosted Friendsgiving at my house and I must admit, cooking from your own kitchen really you gives you that hometown advantage. 😉 I thought I’d share a few more things that were different this year, along with some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way as we’ve hosted all our Friendsgivings. These are tips that help to make things pretty, easy, and stress-free as they should be since the whole point is simply to enjoy some good food with some of your good friends.

First, let’s talk a little bit about decor. If you already clicked through all the years I linked above of past Friendsgivings, then you’ve seen that we’ve had a lot of different decor color schemes and such over the years. This year, I really wanted the decor to be beautiful but low key. Which is probably also my current personal style mantra. 🙂

So, how do you achieve this? Well, for us I decided to simply pick a color scheme that went with some of the features that are already in my dining room. I have a cabinet area that is mostly white, black, and accented with copper. So that became the basis of the colors we used throughout, in addition to fall time items (like pumpkins, of course). The tip here is use what you already have in your space to your advantage. Trying to decorate in a completely different color scheme or look from what your space naturally has can be challenging and also, sometimes, expensive. And I prefer to spend my money on good food and wine when it comes to Friendsgiving.

Also, I’ve got to give Elsie full credit for really pulling all the decor together as she put together the flowers and added little touches (like the brown, wicker looking placemats) that I didn’t even think of. So maybe tip #2 should be put someone in charge of decor who is better at it than you? Ha! Or at the very least I would say delegate some responsibilities. So if you plan to cook the majority or all of the meal, have your friends/guests bring drinks or fresh flowers for the table so it’s not all on you.

Another thing we did different this year is I wanted to try out serving the food buffet style, as my dining room happens to have a kind of wraparound bar area right by the dining room table. I’m not always a big fan of buffets (I actually really hate them when I’m eating out, but think they are totally fine at weddings or big events), but I did like how this kind of kept the table a bit prettier and more clean as we all enjoyed our meal. I love Thanksgiving food but I must admit that about halfway through a meal if everything is on the table and looking half eaten and picked over (the main dishes, not everyone’s individual plate), it kind of starts to lose its appeal, or just feel kind of cluttery. But that could be just me. Anyway, I liked the buffet style a lot, but if you don’t have the space for it, I don’t think it’s necessary. Just something I thought I would note.

Probably my #1 tip for hosting Friendsgiving is to remember to have a toast! It can be so easy to forget as you’ve probably spent a good part of the day cooking or cleaning in preparation. But I think it’s really nice. I probably could have prepared mine a bit more this year, but I’m still glad I did it. It’s a great opportunity to tell your friends how awesome they are and what they mean to you. For Elsie and I, we usually have at least some (or all) of our A Beautiful Mess team members at Friendsgiving, so I love getting the opportunity to tell them how much they mean to us. There is NO way A Beautiful Mess would be what it is without them and all the care and hard work they do. They are amazing and I learn so much from our team every year.

Another fun toast idea that we didn’t do this year but we’ve done in the past: do a toast shot. One year we made cranberry jello shots and that was a pretty fun way to start a meal with friends. 😉

 We had some pretty delicious food this year too, so I can’t wait to share all those recipes with you later this week and next. Hope this was helpful or maybe encouraged some of you who have been thinking about hosting a Friendsgiving to go for it! It’s seriously one of my favorite things every year. 🙂 xo. Emma

PS- A few of you asked about those cute placemats. They’re from Target. 🙂

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Elise Randolph. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop (Essentials plus custom tweaks).
  • Beautiful table and early practice for later this month! Yes, toasts, even toast shots (depending on the group!) are essential, otherwise, what’s the point of getting together? Buffet style definitely works, agree on your take of anti-table-clutter!

  • THOSE ACORN GARLANDS. ? Did you make or buy them? If you made them, any tips on how to recreate them?

  • My (CDN) Thanksgiving was marred by the tragedy of my brother falling off a ladder and having to take him to the hospital. It was his family’s first Thanksgiving here as he has been living State side for 14 years and his family is “American”. Friendsgiving is a great way for me to re-celebrate this awesome and very important holiday! Bring on a life filled with TWO Thanksgivings!

    Love the simple colour scheme btw! The B&W plaid pumpkins are my jam.

  • Hi- beautiful stuff! Do you ever think about asking your current readers how they feel about the changes here on A Beautiful Mess- such as the ad placements, and new site layout? It might be nice to get some feedback from people how have followed your blog for years and years.

  • I really like your decorations this year, they’re very classic and reduced, but have such a great effect! I just love the idea of Friendsgiving!

  • Awesome!

    Also, one of your friends looks like Piper Chapman from Orange is the new black 😀

  • I love your Friendsgiving dinner. In fact, I’m crazy about it. I think it’s my favourite post of ABM and I always look forward to it in November. It has given me such great ideas! I’m sure you had a great time! Thank you for sharing! xx

  • I absolutely love the color scheme and all the fall decors! Thanks for all the tips as I am hosting my first friendsgiving this year

  • Your table decor looks amazing! It is festive and so inspiring. I love the pumpkins, flowers and wicker place mats and how they pop so well against your black table, so pretty! I hope one day to have a Friendsgiving at our house!

  • I love the low-key decor and all the tips! Friendsgiving is definitely one of my top 3 holidays of the year!!! One of our Friendsgiving traditions is to include a Slideshow running in the background on our TV that includes all our favorite friend memories throughout the year! With HashtagParty you can combine your personal photos, along with photos posted to your Party Hashtag! So if you have a Hashtag for your Friendsgiving, all the pics can stream together! It’s such a fun and special way to celebrate your friendship!

  • Love this inspiration! I’m actually hosting Friendsgiving, but definitely have a tight budget. I love the simple decor that stands out but doesn’t break the bank either!

  • Love the tablescape! Serving buffet style is always my go to because our dining table is on the small side and we have a look through between the kitchen and the living room. I also love that it keeps the table looking less cluttered and it’s easier to clean up and serve dessert/coffee without disrupting the flow of conversation too much.

  • WOW I absolutely LOVE your decor for this!! I wish so badly that my husband and I could have thanksgiving at our house but it’s kind of his mom’s thing and she prefers to have everyone over at her house haha. Maybe someday!!

  • Amazing visuals, and serving food buffet style is such a great new way of hosting Thanksgiving!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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