Let’s face it: planning an event on your own can be exhausting and pricey. You find yourself asking questions like “do we really need plates?!” and “Friendsgiving party of one? PERFECT!” and “How did my mom make this look so easy?”. I’m not the only one thinking of these things? Great. Thankfully enough you can throw a great event without breaking the bank.
We had our annual Friendsgiving dinner last weekend so I wanted to write up some tips I learned along the way. As this was our second go at it, and our group grows each year, it definitely felt a bit easier with some preparations before the event. When you’re setting up a dinner for 13 people, it’s a feat in its own:
Enlist friends for help You don’t need to do this solo, and frankly, planning is more fun with friends! My best friend Lydia and I organized the event together and it made it so much easier. We were able to collaborate on decorations and split the cost of some of the ‘use and throw away’ things. We’re also a firm user of Google Docs in our friend group. We created one for the menu items and had people place their names next to what they were bringing. This allows for a much easier tracking system of everything that’s going to be brought to the table – literally. It also helps you to see what needs to be heated up so you can plan oven time accordingly. Let’s sing it now: “were all in this together…”Reuse things you already have A good portion of our decorations came from things that already belonged to myself and Lydia. The more that you can provide, the less you need to spend on new decorations. I also feel like it adds a personal touch and is more true to your style, since well, it is your style. The pink/orange tassel garland was leftover from my birthday celebrations, the pumpkins for the centerpiece were from Halloween (but some painted gold for a new life), the candles are from my dresser, and the flowers from my coffee table. TIP: buy larger flowers to make a big impression but with less cost. Hydrangeas are my favorite for centerpieces as you only need a stem or two to look great. Buy last minute This seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? However, we snagged things such as the plates, napkins, and Thanksgiving banner less than a week from the event. At this point everything is already on the sale rack so you can save a pretty penny. Granted, your selection may be a bit limited but if you stick with the basics it’ll work out!Pick a theme Themes always make things look more concise and like they weren’t all hodgepodged together. For us we went with a classic look of gold and white with pops of orange and pink. Let’s call it rustic chic. Decorating becomes a whole lot easier when you stick to a basic color theme and throw in pops of color (you all know I love my pops of color). Be sure to also think outside of the box when decorating. For example, the gold and white backdrop is actually inexpensive wrapping paper – as is the brown paper table cover. It’s a simple way to pull things together and to create a fun environment!
Fill up your glass and enjoy! When it all comes down to it, the point of Friendsgiving is just that – being with your friends (and eating until it hurts). By having everyone BYOB it allowed us to share our favorite wines with each other and saved money on making a fancy punch bowls. When it’s all said and done no one’s going to remember that the plates were encrusted in gold or that you used your finest crystal glasses. For us, we’ll always remember when we played stump on a door, were stoop kids, and chugged all of the gravy.
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Do you have any Friendsgiving plans? If so, what are your reinvented traditions? I’d love to hear them in the comments!