My Husband and I hosted Friendsgiving for the second year in a row recently. We absolutely love hosting people, especially around the holidays. Friendsgiving is such a fun night spent with our closest friends. This year, we had 21 guests! That might sound a bit overwhelming but if you plan ahead, it is SO much easier than you’d think!
First, finalize the menu. I made a couple appetizers, 4 side dishes, the turkey and a dessert. Since there were so many people coming this year, we knew that wouldn’t be enough food. So we did pot luck style. Each guest brought a side dish or two. I love doing this because you get to try your friends’ favorite recipes! We all spoke ahead of time to make sure we weren’t going to have duplicate dishes.
Here are the recipes that I made:
The worst thing to do is leave everything until the day of your party. I have done that before a big dinner party and would NOT recommend it. I was so stressed out that I couldn’t even enjoy the night. I actually start prepping days in advance. There are so many things you can do ahead of time that will make your life easier and make everything run much smoother. Things like going to the market, setting the table and making floral arrangements can all be done days in advance.
3 Days Before:
- Go to the market
I categorize my market list by produce, dairy, meat and other. That helps make my shopping experience so much faster and more organized since I’m not running back and forth between aisles.
2 Days Before:
- Set the table
My husband and I go out to dinner about once a week. But the rest of the week we have dinner at home and I usually cook. Before we eat, I like to set the table. I use place mats or chargers and I light candles. I do this even if we order takeout! I think it’s important to set the ambiance. When hosting a dinner party, I LOVE to use our Wedding China. Luckily our china is dishwasher safe, which plays a big part in why I use it all the time. However, when hosting a dinner party of 21 people, I’m all about making things easier. I buy plastic plates from Amazon that actually look like fine china (see link below). I also buy plastic silverware. This ensures that the only things we have to wash afterwards are the wine glasses (because I can’t bring myself to use plastic wine glasses). I have lots of different chargers and runners (many of which are from Home Goods). So I just decide what I want the table to look like and then go from there. I used mini orange pumpkins with names attached to them as the place cards. They were so easy and gave a nice pop of color to the tables.
1 Day Before:
- Buy flowers
- Make floral arrangements
- Make cranberry sauce
- Make pumpkin bars
- Prep Everything Good in a Pumpkin filling
I love having fresh flowers in the house. On any given day, we probably have 2 to 3 arrangements in our house. I change these out weekly. For a dinner party, I like to make the centerpieces. You could always buy them but I enjoy making them (also its cheaper!). I usually go to Trader Joe’s and buy whatever stands out to me. By then I have already set the table and have a better idea of a color scheme. Sometimes I choose different flowers all in the same color. Other times I go for contrasting colors. The arrangements don’t have to be extravagant. I love the look of simple baby’s breath in a mason jar. For Friendsgiving, I used a good amount of greenery and some white flowers with pops or red and peach. I like a mixture of candles and flowers on my table but if you aren’t a flower person, then just light some candles!
As for the cooking portion of my day before, I made cranberry sauce and pumpkin bars. Both of these are even better the next day. Just keep them in the fridge until ready to serve. Then I prepped the filling for Everything Good in a Pumpkin so that it saves me time the next day. To a large bowl, add the grated cheese, chopped bacon, chives and spices. Toss and put in a large zip-lock bag and store in the fridge until ready to put in the pumpkin.
Day of Event:
- Cook turkey
- Cook stuffing
- Cook sweet potatoes
- Cook Everything Good In a Pumpkin
- Cook creamed spinach
- Set up Fall Harvest Board
First thing I do is start with the turkey. Once it’s in the oven, I make the stuffing followed by the sweet potatoes. About 3 hours before the party, I add the filling to the hollowed pumpkin and place in the oven. One hour before the party, I make the creamed spinach. Then I set up the cheese board. Once the cheese board is ready, I go into our wine fridge and take out the bottles of red that we plan to drink so that they can come down a bit in temperature. The last thing I do is light all the candles. I like for all of the food to be ready by the time guests arrive so that I’m not cooking while entertaining.
As soon as our guests arrive, we offer them cocktails or wine. These wine glass markers are great for big parties so that you don’t forget which glass is yours. After the feast, we all indulged in dessert and the party went well into the night. Before our guests went home, I handed out cute leftover containers (see below) so that everyone could take food home. Happy Thanksgiving!
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