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My husband and I hosted a couple of friends this past weekend and while it was an intimate gathering, the night was so much fun, and if I wasn’t already in complete holiday mode, the night really put me in the spirit! It was our first Friendsgiving and naturally, I wanted the evening to go smoothly. We cleaned for about three days straight and made close to five to-do lists. I even made an hourly checklist for the day of to help keep me on track before our guests arrived #IWishIWasJoking.
Here’s another fact about me: I am so not the hostess with the mostess. Bless my husband who says I do an incredible job but honestly, it doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s not the having friends over that doesn’t come naturally to me, it’s the cooking and planning menus that are not my strong suit. But after hosting many occasions, I’ve gathered some great advice and today I want to share with you my tips on how to host a great Friendsgiving dinner – especially if you’re just like me! I live for simplicity and guidelines so I hope these help you out when planning a holiday gathering with friends.
Set a date
The great thing about a Friendsgiving dinner is that it can be done anytime during November – yes, even after Thanksgiving. What are friends for if they can’t help you with leftovers, right? Pick your date and send e-vites so you can get a good idea of the amount of food and drinks you’ll need from RSVPs.
Friendsgiving dinners are often potluck style. Don’t be afraid to assign side dishes to your guests. More often than not they’ll ask what they can bring anyways, so split the cooking. This not only will help you with time and cost, but you also won’t have to worry about having enough dishware.
Set the mood with wine
I don’t mind if guests bring their beverages (the more the merrier!) but I do love having my own signature drink. When I’m hosting I always turn to Notable Wines. You might remember I raved about them back in July, but they’re the first wine to showcase the flavors on the front of the bottle, making it extremely easy to lead you to the wine you love. Like I mentioned before, I like to keep things simple when hosting so I love how the labels highlight the spectrum of flavors.
My guests had a choice between two flavor profiles: oaky and buttery Chardonnay or fruity and crisp Chardonnay. Both paired beautifully with our dishes and my friends loved reading the labels and knowing exactly the flavor notes they were getting when choosing between the two.
Put together the perfect playlist
Notable Wines showcase music notes on their labels so I decided to carry on the theme and add a music element to the party. A few days before the event, I made a playlist of my favorite songs and had them ready to play for when guests arrived. It’s always a nice way to break the ice and set the tone for the night.
Arrange tablescape the night before
Once you know what all your friends are bringing, set out the tablescape the night before. You can arrange your tables with stands for the dishes or leave spots empty where you know certain plates will go. This will make it extremely easy for you the day of and guests can just set their dishes in the designated area.
Bundle silverware in napkins
If you decide to go potluck style, individually wrap silverware in nice napkins and place them at either the beginning or end of the buffet line. This will make things super easy for your friends and avoid clutter and confusion at the table.
Have a “leftover” station
Most likely you’ll have a lot of leftovers so have containers and bags ready for your guests. Not only will your friends think this is very thoughtful, you won’t have to stuff a ton of leftover food in your fridge.
Don’t fuss with decorations too much
I used to go overboard with decorations but I’ve learned less is more. A few holiday specific pieces here and there will enhance the experience but don’t worry too much about it. Often times too much decor can clutter your dining table and leave little space for the actual food and drinks. Flowers or festive greenery are always nice and stick with a color scheme to keep a cohesive look.
I would love to hear your hostess tips below! What do you do to prepare when you’re having friends over for a big event?
Happy Hosting loves!