Friendsgiving 2013

Tips for hosting Thanksgiving Tips for hosting Thanksgiving How to host the best ThanksgivingHow to host the best Thanksgiving Friendsgiving with A Beautiful Mess Friendsgiving on Tips for hosting Thanksgiving Tips for hosting Friendsgiving Friendsgiving on Last year we started a new tradition. We decided that every year, a few weeks before Thanksgiving Elsie and I would host our own Friendsgiving. We adore spending the holidays with our family, and finding time to invite a few friends over for a pre-holiday celebration is icing on the cake. We have the best friends. We truly do. That’s one of the things at the top of “things I’m thankful for” list. We only wish we had a larger table to invite them all!How to host the best Thanksgiving Friendsgiving on abeautifulmess.comTips for hosting Thanksgiving Tips for hosting Thanksgiving Tips for hosting Thanksgiving Tips for hosting Thanksgiving Tips for hosting Friendsgiving Friendsgiving with A Beautiful Mess How to host the best Thanksgiving Friendsgiving on We ate, we drank and we shared a lot of laughs together. Friendsgiving is fast becoming one of my number one things I look forward to every year! But I have to admit hosting a big meal for a lot of people can be very daunting. It doesn’t have to be stressful though! Here are my top five tips from this year.

1. Make everything (that you can) ahead. I made all of the side dishes the day before. Elsie prepped most of her drinks and decorations the week before as well. So the day of Friendsgiving all we needed to do was roast the turkey, warm up the side dishes just before serving time, set all all the fresh flowers and set the table. We had enough spare time to spend an hour watching our grandfather in a parade honoring veterans.Friendsgiving with A Beautiful Mess 2. Tag team the event. You don’t have to do everything yourself! This might be a no-brainer to a lot you, but I have a tendency to think I don’t need any help (even if I definitely do!). It can be overwhelming and not to mention expensive to prepare everything yourself. I love hosting Friendsgiving with Elsie. She takes care of all the delicious drinks, the decor and preparring her house for guests to come over. I prepare the meal. If you plan to host your own Friendsgiving you might consider asking guests to bring a side dish or bottle of wine. Delegate however you wish but don’t pressure yourself to do everything.Tips for hosting Thanksgiving3. Mac & Cheese. This year I decided to make a pot of macaroni and cheese (from a box!) for any kiddos who might prefer that to, say, the brussels sprouts I’d prepared. It was a hit! I will definatley be adding boxed mac & cheese to my regular Friendsgiving menu. The larger point here is to consider everyone. For you this might mean making sure you have a few gluten free, sugar free, nut free, or vegan friendly dishes planned depending on who you are inviting over. When planning out your menu take time to think of everyone on the guests list and what they may need.Friendsgiving with A Beautiful Mess 4. Try something new. I read all the time that you should never serve a totally new recipe (meaning, one you haven’t cooked before) at a party. I get the logic behind this. What if it’s a flop? But, I just couldn’t disagree more. If you have a favorite/traditional dish that everyone loves why yes, certainly serve that every year. It’s nostalgic. But I highly recommend trying something new too! I love making something new and hearing what my friends think. Even if it is a flop it may turn into the most hilarious and memorable thing from the event. Don’t pressure yourself to plan for and expect perfection. Life’s little messy moments and mistakes can be beautiful too. Tips for hosting Friendsgiving 5. Tupperware. Buy inexpensive tupperware or disposable take-home boxes to send guests home with leftovers. This is as much a tip for hosting as it is a diet tip. 🙂 You don’t need half a turkey all to yourself. Send those leftovers out the door with guests! They will be remembering your event the next day while enjoying a leftover stuffing sandwich. What, you don’t eat your leftover stuffing in a sandwich? Well, maybe you should.Tips for hosting Friendsgiving Tips for hosting Friendsgiving Tips for hosting Friendsgiving How to host the best Thanksgiving Thanks for letting us share a peek into our Friendsgiving this year. We will be sharing lots of decor inspiration and recipes from the event this week. Stay tuned. And, feel free to share any hosting tips or Thanksgiving plans you might be making this year. We’d all love to hear it. xo. Emma + Elsie

Credits // Authors: Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson, photography by: Janae Hardy, project assistant: Laura Gummerman. A big thanks to all our wonderful husbands and dear friends: Johnny, Katie, Hope, Posey, Chris, Lauren, Brandon and Morgan.

  • I’m in love with this tradition! Your tips make hosting a dinner seem much less daunting… I’ve always shied away from hosting thanksgiving- my mom’s used to take all day!

  • Quite inspired by your Friendsgiving posts the past two years, so inspired, we copied you. Just wish we had more photos of our friends.

  • I would love to do host a small Friendsgiving dinner party thing, but I think Thanksgiving host = in charge of the turkey, and being vegetarian I am not about to cook a turkey, haha.

  • Being a Brit, thanksgiving is not something i celebrate, but i adore the idea of friendsgiving, a day a year to celebrate your friends? Marvelous, definitely something i could get behind, a good reason for a dinner party!

    Cate, x

  • I love all of your hilarious (but very practical) tips. I would love to host a Friendsgiving one year, and the idea to do it a few weeks ahead of time is a perfect idea.

  • wanderful!! please, i need the flower crown tutorial111 😉 hop will be posted soon…

  • Love this idea! We do this with our family too if parts of our family will be out of town. We call it a mini-Thanksgiving.
    I was wondering, how do all of you have the same taste? It seems like everyone is dressed well with the same idea in mind. Does everyone just happen to have the same taste? Or do you ask them to come vintage/ABM inspired? :o)

  • I agree with not trying to be perfect. I once hosted a gathering for friends and made a huge pot of chicken spaghetti. We all realized the next day that I didn’t ever put the chicken in! (It was still in a bowl in my fridge!) No one even noticed the night before, and it’s still a running joke among my friends, even five years letter. Little imperfections like that make fun stories for later!

  • I love how simple and lovely the decorations are! Such a great idea, and looks like a lot of fun!

  • Ladies! This is fabulous!!!! So, many great tips and the photos are beautiful to say the least. I look forward to incorporating these ideas into thanksgiving! And next year indeed do a thanksgiving!

  • We live away from family so every Thanksgiving is with friends and we love it! And I totally agree on making something new each year…keeps things mysterious 🙂

  • This spiced butternut squash and apple soup would be perfect for Friendsgiving!

  • There’s not enough seats for everyone. Did Emma and Elsie eat in the kitchen? Or is this all staged?

  • Beautiful. Absolutely stunning! What a lovely idea. Photographed beautifully, by the way!

  • Love your lights! And your flower crowns! Soo adorbs. Xoxo

    Check out my blog.

  • I hosted one as well and what we did was some people did the shopping, some the decor and we cooked together. It was so much fund! We`ll sure do that next year again! Its a great great great tradtition!

  • Being from the UK we don’t have the whole thanks giving thing, but this looks like the perfect excuse to get in on the action.

    Some Americans are here at university with me in Russia – perhaps they can show me how its done 😉

  • I really love this idea. I also need for you to contact me, because I have awarded you a Versitile Blogger Award, and don’t know how to get in touch with the details, including the Award insignia, which you may display on your blog site. Congratulations, and thank you in advance.

  • I can’t decide whether i need an amazing home or amazing camera right now.

  • Thank you so much for holding this. I know the ideas in the days to come get me so excited and inspired for the holiday season!

  • Everything about this post is beyond perfect. I’m seriously jealous about amazing everything here looks! I just can’t handle the awesomeness here! This is a terrific idea that I am totally going to steal. You all should do a post on some good food ideas for this. Love this post! You all are beyond inspiring.

    Kolbi | Life With Kolbi

  • This is such a wonderful yearly tradition and enjoy seeing your little (big) get togethers! Beautiful post!

    Lulu xx

  • Very cute! I’d love a DIY tutorial and some inspiration on how to incorporate tablecloths on dining tables for different occasions, while still staying true to your “style” whether it’s rustic, modern, raw or classical.

  • This looks like such a beautiful time! It is always so great to spend holidays with friends.
    Leah Faye
    a clover and a bee

  • This year, my husband and I are living in a different country, so we will be hosting our first friendsgiving. It will be the first thanksgiving meal I’ve cooked for AND the first dinner party I’ve hosted– ah!

  • My friends and I do the same thing, although a bit closer to the actual date of Thanksgiving!
    Simply beautiful decor!

    xo Jennifer

  • these pictures are just perfect, they could seriously be in a magazine spread. i am having our first friendsgiving at my house next week, but a few friends are pitching in with the cooking thankfully 🙂

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  • Wow – this all looks amazing – super excited to see the tutorials this week 🙂 Elsie, your top is gorgeous – where did you find it?

  • This is really inspiring and beautiful. Love the crowns and everyone looks so happy! x

  • Your friends are gorgeous and so happy!

  • I really like the flowers on the plates. I think it is a beautiful touch to the table. Thanks for the tips!

  • Friendsgivings are SO fun!! I’m loving all of the floral crowns as well 🙂
    XO, Erica

  • I love the pictures <3<3<3 You had a great time for what I see. I love the idea of the flower crowns <3

  • So cute! I’m participating in two different Friendsgivings this year… I can’t wait.

  • This looks fabulous! What a marvelous time so marvelously captured! SO fun! Can’t wait for all the recipes! 🙂

  • That was my comment, too. Love those! Also, I agree with you about trying new things for people. It’s more fun.

  • What a fun idea! Loved seeing the photos of your Friendsgiving 🙂

  • My friends do an annual Friendsgiving too!! I’ve been missing out on it for the last couple of years because I moved across the country… but I still get Skyped into it 🙂 Your tablescape looks lovely – and so do all of your friends!

    Happy holiday season 🙂


  • This is great. We are having our first own thanksgiving this year. Since we are in Germany nobody really knows it and we are trying to make it special for us, as well as our friends and family. Looking forward to you sharing all about your beautiful looking friends giving!

  • I always want go to one of your get togethers. You guys look like your having so much fun and dressed to the nine. Can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures.

  • Wow wow! That’s a really beautiful setup and all your friends are oh man gorgeous! What a lovely thing to have Thanksgiving with friends!

  • I love that you do this!
    Me and my friends have a Bring and Share Christmas dinner every year some time in December, a tradition that we started when we were at school. This will be the 7th year of doing it! We make a list of all the different foods and split them up between us so everything’s equal.

    I love your idea of sending leftovers home with everyone. I might be implementing that this year.

  • What a great idea! I especially love tips 4 and 5. I love trying out new things and my friends are my best critics! I also buy cheap take away boxes and send them with my guests to get rid of that extra dessert my hips certainly don’t need!

  • Love it. Thanksgiving is such a fabulous holiday for getting people together. Why not celebrate it twice?

  • This is a great idea. Now you can have Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving! I can’t wait for the tutorial for the headband. The colors are awesome and perfect for the season.

  • Garlands, gilded gourds, and floral garnishes, oh my. Thanks for the ideas for hosting a non-stuffy Thanksgiving, especially the mac & cheese idea for the kids this year!

  • Friendsgiving is such an amazing idea! We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands, but I might host a Friendsmas someday :D!

  • Hi Kristine,
    Mine was from Shop Ruche last year, and Trey’s was bought from Top Man.

  • My roommate and I hosted a Friendsgiving last year after reading your first “Friendsgiving” post and it was SO fun. This year we’re going to host a “Friendsmas” and play White Elephant and set up an ornament decorating station : )

    I am a new blogger with a scrapbooking business and would love if y’all checked out my new website – I just finished Elsie’s Blog Love E-Course!

    xo, Em

  • This is so cute! I can’t afford to fly home for Thanksgiving this year, so I am having a friendsgiving of sorts on actual Thanksgiving. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I love this idea! And I have to say that all you do always look so nice and delicious. I have a question for you guys: In Emma and Treys engagement photos they wear this really cool jackets with “aztec pattern” – where did you bought them?


  • This is such a wonderful idea! All this talk of food is making me super hungry! x

  • This might be the cutest event! I love that you do a pre-thanksgiving with your closest friends. I think November is the month to truly appreciate everyone in our lives so it is great that you have two celebrations 🙂

  • Love the idea of friendsgiving, I am totally thankful for my friends. Lovely photos.

  • This is such a beautiful idea! I always love spending the holidays with my family but I’m always sad I couldn’t share in the celebration with my friends as well. I’m also fortunate to be blessed with exceptional friends and am definitely going to have to give friends-giving a try!

  • Hi Mary,
    It was just to add a little texture behind the punch bowls, but I wanted to punch to remain the focal point! 😀

  • All your parent friends will be forever grateful that you invited their kids and thought not to make them eat sprouts! I’ve been to many a stressful event where I’ve had to force feed my kids spinach surprise and pretend like I’m having fun!

  • Amazing post!
    … Friendship never end!!! 😉

    With love, Elisa
    My Fantabulous World

  • I love this idea!! And the photos are incredibly GORGEOUS!


  • I can’t even stand it! This is the coolest idea. The headpieces are gorgeous, the colors inspiring, and the table is perfect. LOVE!!!

    xoxo ~Shari

  • This is a fantastic idea. What a beautiful way to celebrate friendship. great friends are one of the most important things in life for sure!
    beautiful event with beautiful people!

  • that looks like so much fun! i really want to throw an elaborate dinner party for my friends soon 🙂
    xo, cheyenne

  • I’ve always loved friendsgiving type dinners and I can’t wait until I have a space big enough to host my own!


  • What a handsome group of friends!!! I love the decor and the simple flower arrangement. And Elsie, your dining room is awesome!!
    Oh, Emma: I’m sure everything was delicious!!

  • Wonderful! I’m glad you have such amazing friends. Everything looks wonderful, colourful and warm. My friends used to hold a similar event for Christmas, but it had the not-so-positive title of “Christmas for the Unwanted” since it actually replaced family Christmas for the hostess and about half the guests. (The actual day was positive however!)

    On a side note, mostly unrelated – I think I’ll never get over my shock that Americans wear their shoes inside the house!

  • That looks absolutely perfect…what a lovely crowd, what a lovely table- it really looks like a group to be thankful for:-)

    Greetings from Germany and a lovely bee week:

    Bambi and Birdy

  • Love this! I almost suggested doing something similar when my friends came in town to visit this past weekend, but decided to keep it low key and minimal cooking since we don’t get to see each other very much living states away. I definitely want to do it sometime though!

  • i love about a MILLION things from this post!

    1. the flower crowns! cute
    2. that beard on that one man. i love that beard!!!!!
    3. all the guys are wearing some sort of blue and brown
    4. Emma and trey are wearing jean colored clothing! matching!
    5. that trey is at the head of the table. in Elsie and Jeremy’s home!!!
    6. the pumpkins.
    7. the decor.
    8. just about everything else!

    this is one gorgeous happy friendsgiving going on here!!!! (:

  • This looks absolutely wonderful! I wish that we had a large enough dining area so that we could invite our friends over for something like this! Sadly, our eat-in kitchen only fits a table large enough for four. We do have a lovely, very large deck that we can entertain on during warmer months, though, which I love!

    Jamie @
    The Growing Up Diaries

  • Last Thanksgiving was our first one out on our own since we moved to Chicago. We also partook in Friendsgiving with a handful of my boyfriend’s classmates and had a great time. What made this a very memorable event was the variety of food. A lot of his classmates are foreign exchange students coming from countries all over the world. The Irish guy made 4 (count em FOUR) potato dishes, the koreans brought pot stickers, and we had 4 different types of pies. It was the most ecclectic Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. To make the night even better, we played an improv game we call “naked”, a combination of charades and taboo. By the third round everyone was busting up laughing at the absurd words we had to mime out. It made missing our families a little more bearable. Here’s my post:

  • I love this line – Life’s little messy moments and mistakes can be beautiful too. So true! Looking forward to the tutorials this week. Elsie – why do you turn the paintings on the piano around? Is it just to mix up the decor?

  • sooo lovely pictures… just beautiful 🙂

    i think the best idea is really to share work… maybe even cook together with some. i love to see what my friends bring along!

  • Such a fun idea! Why should Thanksgiving be spent with only family?

    All the food looks absolutely delicious but you probably would’ve found me fighting with the kiddos over that boxed mac and cheese. Will definitely be adding that to my Thanksgiving menu this year. 🙂

  • These pictures are gorgeous and inspiring!
    You girls know absolutely how to celebrate the holidays.

  • this is such a great idea!! can’t wait to have my own place one day to host something like this


  • oh my god, this looks incredibly lovely! I always wanted to do something similar, only with Christmas. Definitely need to tackle that this year. I think it’s lovely to start your own traditions!

  • Everything looks beautiful and delicious. What a wonderful idea to have a special celebration of friendship! I love it. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    The Rambling Fangirl

  • I love the term “Friendsgiving”! I didn’t realize it, but I’ve been doing Friendsgiving too. It’s all the perks of good company and nostalgic food without the holiday pressure. Thanks for sharing!

  • I really really need to see a tutuorial on how you made those fantastic floral headpieces! I’d love to especially see my grandmother in one of those this Thanksgiving!!

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