Shannan leigh

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How to host Friendsgiving

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Everyone has a favorite holiday. Mine is Thanksgiving! Ever since I was a teenager I’ve wanted to host friendsgiving dinner for all my favorite people, so when we moved into this house I was so excited to make it happen!

Today I am sharing our second annual friendsgiving dinner. I’ll share a little bit about where I found inspiration this year, how we used food as the centerpiece, and some things i’ve learned about hosting these each year!

What Inspired this year’s table design:

Truthfully when I started planning our tablescape this year, it was going in a completely different direction. I had seen these blush ceramic pumpkins at Pier1 in mid-october and planned around those. When I went to purchase them they were sold out across all stores and even online! At this point I was two weeks out and had no table plans. I was browsing Pinterest searching for a spark of inspiration when I came across an image of a cake table with pears and greenery and it grew from there!

How we used food as a centerpiece:

I knew we needed more than festive fruit and greenery to fill the 16 seat long table, but I didn’t want to spend a bunch of extra money on the same old floral and candle design (as much as i love flowers and candles). I decided to use our appetizers as a centerpiece and create a table of function AND beauty. I picked up these mini cheese boards at Hobby Lobby and the Pedestal bowls from the Home Goods to fill with bread!

I always try to incorporate a recycled element into my table designs, and this year we used left over ivory chiffon fabric from our wedding for texture all the way down the table. We also repurposed these candle holders that we used for our ceremony years ago!

What I’ve learned about hosting Friendsgiving:

In 2018 we hosted our first Friendsgiving. It was an amazing day with so many people to love, but as a host I learned a lot of valuable lessons. Here are a few important ones we carried into our second year:

  1. Decide what serving style you are going with. Whether it be potluck style, catering, delivery, take-out, or a semi-prepared meal kit from a local Whole Foods. 
  2. Research whatever meal style your doing to be prepared for whatever work you’ll need to do to pull it together. For example, we hosted potluck style in 2018 and we weren’t prepared for how much time and effort it would take to reheat everything before dinner. So make sure to take that into account! (This year we got everything premade from Gelsons and it was the best and easiest Thanksgiving we have ever had!)
  3. You probably don’t need as much food as you think you do. Everyone eats a little bit of a lot of different dishes for friendsgiving dinner, so we always end up with a week’s worth of leftovers (though this might be the best part!)
  4. Have a speaker and a playlist ready to go. We like this playlist for friendsgiving dinner!
  5. Don’t forget to consider your guests food allergies!

That’s it! I hope this inspires you to bring all your favorite people together for a meal, no matter the occasion! Send me a note if you do, would love to hear about it!

Here are a few of the products we used this year!
Pedestal Bowls (similar)
Linens, Plates, Glassware

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May 11, 2020


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A photographer of all things life & love. Dog mama to two tiny pups that have my whole heart, and married to my best friend of 13 years. Together, we share a little house on Lemon St.

I’m Shannan Leigh.

author + designer

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