Friendsgiving 2014

ABM Friendsgiving 2014We love sharing occasional parties and/or entertaining-type content with you here on the blog. Gives us an excuse to hang out with friends and loved ones. This is our third annual Friendsgiving event, which was basically a blogging idea we came up with years ago so that we could share Thanksgiving-style recipes in time for readers to have them to use for their own Thanksgiving feasts. So once again, thank you, blogging, for making my life awesome. I am thankful for the Internet and every single one of you!

Okay, enough with the rabbit trails for now. You want to see how Friendsgiving went down at our house this year?

Paper flowersPaper flowers Table decor ideasLaura created these beautiful paper flowers for the center of the table. We had to remove a few of them once all the food was ready, which was heart-breaking because they are so pretty. But, good news, paper flowers don’t die—so they’re still around the office over a week later!

ABM Friendsgiving 2014 Friendsgiving 2014ABM Friendsgiving 2014 We also hung some faux autumn leaves from the ceiling. Our dining room has rather high ceilings, so it’s fun to find some kind of decor element that can draw the eye up. Plus these were easy to throw together. If you have lower ceilings, or are looking for something to decorate a bare wall, check out what we did last year.

Emma setting the tableCocktails for large gatheringsEasy thanksgiving recipes MocktailsEasy thanksgiving recipes On the menu this year: Elsie’s cranberry mimosas and a mocktail version (for those who don’t drink), turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, jalapeño popper dip, compound butters (these doubled as party favors), peanut butter cup bars, and sweet potato crème brûlée.

Over the years I’ve developed a few tips that help me host a dinner party like this and not find myself stuck in the kitchen or feeling too stressed out during the event. I have three golden rules.

1. Make everything ahead of time that you can.

I deliberately plan at least two thirds of my dishes as items that I can make ahead and either bake or rewarm just before serving. This means I don’t have to be up at 3 am to make everything the day of.

2. Plan stovetop and oven dishes.

If you’re like me, you probably have four stovetop burners and can have your oven set to one or two temperatures at a time max (our office has a double oven, and it’s awesome for Friendsgiving!). No matter what you have, plan for it. Don’t plan six stovetop recipes if you only have four burners. Seems pretty obvious, but I’ve mistakenly not planned for what I have available before. Also—remember the power of a slower cooker. 🙂

3. Make a game plan.

I literally have a handwritten checklist of everything I need to get done the day of, with times by each item. I also don’t usually “get ready” (as in, do my hair and makeup) until about and hour or two before the meal. I just find a natural break to do that so I don’t have to wake up any earlier. Can you tell I really don’t like waking up early?

Easy thanksgiving recipes
Thanksgiving hosting tips Thanksgiving hosting tips Thanksgiving hosting tipsMy favorite is always dessertWe’ve shared a few of the recipes from this year’s Friendsgiving already, and we’ll be sharing the rest all this week. Even if you aren’t hosting a Thanksgiving any time soon, I hope this can help to inspire you that if you have an interest in hosting a dinner party but feel intimidated, you can totally do it! If I can do it, so can you. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share. xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. 

  • Does anyone know where that navy blue dress is from? It’s in the 9th picture and the woman is also wearing a leaf & cranberry necklace.

  • Friendsgiving is something my boyfriend and I will be trying this year. Thanks for the great ideas, as usual. I love this blog!

  • What is the wall color you used in that room? It’s the perfect grayish tan…I’ve been looking for something just like that for my bedroom. Please pass along the name!

  • Do you have any info on that beautiful necklace with the wooden leaves and red beads? It’s perfect for Thanksgiving! Please let me know 🙂

  • So beautiful! And I can’t begin to describe how much I love the leaves around the chandelier!

  • I love this idea! and all of the decor. gorgeous!

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  • Did you know I look forward to this post every year?! Great advice, as always!

  • Lovely pics, so warm-hearted atmosphere. Would love it if you could also check out my luxury brand giveaway worth £150
    Kisses xo | GIVEAWAY 

  • This Friendsgiving is absolutely magical! I can’t wait until I have a place that’s suited for entertaining large numbers of guests! Beautiful table setting and the food looks delicious!

  • I love the idea of a friendsgiving and the hanging leaves near the chandelier are such a lovely touch.

    rae of love from berlin

  • Those paper flowers are gorgeous! And that turkey looks so good with crispy skin. Drooling, really.

  • Absolutely beautiful! Where did you find your dining room chairs? They’re fantastic!

  • Every year is Friendsgiving for me! When I moved out to California for grad school ten years ago, most of the friends I made were from back east. Since TG is so close to finals, and traveling is so expensive, we pretty much all stayed here. And our epic Thanksgivng was born! In my family, Thanksgiving didn’t have a ton of tradition attached to it, so I love that I’ve made my own traditions with my friends. It’s so nice that you’re able to do BOTH — Friendsgiving and TG with family. Thanks for sharing!

  • Love the white rose gold theme…. and everything looks so yum….


  • Those vases and paper flowers are so lovely.
    Every dish seem delicious, looks like you all had a great time!

  • Been making your Pepper Jack Green Bean Casserole for the last 2 years and can’t wait to make it again! One of the fam’s favorite sides for Thanksgiving!

  • Love the copper accents and hanging fall leaves. I’ve also never heard the phrase ‘rabbit trails,’ which I thought was cute 😉

  • Laura found the paper flower tutorial in a Martha Stewart book, but we plan to do some other paper flower tutorials soon! We found some of the vases at Target and Marshall’s 🙂 -Jacki

  • Hi Griffin! We bought some of them at Target and Marshall’s. 🙂 -Jacki

  • Hi Samantha! We made these from a Martha Stewart book, but we plan to do some other paper flower tutorials soon! 🙂 -Jacki

  • It sounds like you all had a fab time, everything looks incredible! x

  • We celebrate friendsgiving every year too and it is so much fun! I love the table decor. Can’t wait for all the recipes. 🙂

  • Love how you’ve decorated! So festive, but not too over the top.

  • This is SO great! Gorgeous pictures and such a lovely setup! Can’t wait for all the recipes! 🙂

  • oh yeah, food prep is key! and that baby is so adorable! how do you make the paper flowers? i’d love to make them!

    xoxo, kiely

  • I love all the tattoos peeking out in these shots! And, thanks for the Friendsgiving inspo.

  • Friendsgiving is such a nice idea. I want to try it out next year! Those sweet potato creme brûlées look phenomenal!

  • Please tell me you are going to post a how-to for those adorable paper flowers. I would to make them for my baby shower.

  • We used to hist Friendsgiving, too! (before we moved) It is such an awesome tradition. I absolutely love all the decor – the paper flowers are so pretty!

    Carolyn Selheim-Miller

  • Looks gorgeous! I love gold with natural accents. Thanks for sharing!


  • I love the idea of a Friendsgiving. Friends are such an important part of my life. I think they have to be, especially for people who live away from their families. Our family always gets together for Thanksgiving, but it would be so fun to celebrate the holidays with my friends too. SO much goodness on that table!!

  • We do a “friendsgiving” (we call it orphan Thanksgiving, for those who can’t make it home to their families) each year…but it’s not nearly as chic as yours! Going to try to dress it up a bit more this year, although my roommates are big on paper plates and plastic cups since we have so many people over.

    Blonde in this City

  • I adore the center pieces – and the falling leaves! So sweet – the name tag placeholders are wicked cute, too.

    Warm Regards,

  • you guys are just the coolest and every year i think friendsgiving is the coolest idea. 😛 seriously, as soon as i get a place of my own, i’m so doing this.
    and the leaves over the table add just the perfect touch.

  • I LOVE this! I’m hosting my first friendsgiving this year and I love the leaves over the table. I really want to add this to my list now!
    Jenny // Mish Mosh Makeup

  • I can vouch for the need for a checklist. I live by them and probably couldn’t function properly without. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Everything looks delicious and oh so pretty! I particularly love those fall leaves hanging from the ceiling!

  • That’s such a great table, everything looks perfect and it looks like a great time!!

  • That’s such a great table, everything looks perfect and it looks like a great time!!

  • Y’all do the best tablescapes!! love the paper flowers! The food looks delicious, although everything is a little “brown”.. lol, needs some color in that food!! 😛 I look forward to friendsgiving each year!

  • Please tell me that you guys are going to be doing a blog post on how to make those awesome paper flowers, and maybe also where you got those fantastic vases that you have them in?

  • Wow. It all looks so perfect! If things weren’t so crazy right now, I’d totally be jumping on the Friendsgiving bandwagon. 🙂

  • TImely article for me!! We will be doing this with our friends in San Francisco. Since we’re Canadian, we already had our Thanksgiving at home in October, how lucky we are to celebrate twice!

    Also, I totally agree – prepping as much food as possible ahead of time leaves more time for socializing with guests. The best part 🙂

    Jill @

  • I love your Friendsgiving posts!! Such a great idea. I really appreciate your tips for hosting a dinner party too. I always dream of hosting a dinner party but it really can get so intimidating sometimes You make it look so fun and effortless.

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