There's nothing quite like Friendsgiving. It's one of the few times in the year we come together with some of our favorite people and acknowledge how much they mean to us. Lifestyle blogger Camille Styles says it's one of her favorite events, both socially and as someone who loves to entertain.
"A Friendsgiving gathering is a little more untraditional and laid-back than the official Thanksgiving feast," she tells us. "There's less pressure to get everything just right, which makes it the perfect time to play with the menu, put a new spin on fall dishes, and to have fun with seasonal décor."
Styles was recently named Target's entertaining expert, and she recently hosted an early Friendsgiving dinner party to show us how it's done. Put together via inexpensive finds from Target, her party spread is proof you don't have to spend big to throw a Friendsgiving event that's truly memorable.
Follow her expert tips to host your own in style.
Choose a Theme
Before you start decorating, consider a color theme to guide the event: It'll visually tie it together and look more considered. "This gathering was all about rich jewel tones, warm metallics, and organic elements like wood, berries, and pinecones that brought all those seasonal outdoor vibes indoors," says Styles.
If you're unsure where to start, she recommends choosing one or two accents that catch your eye and building a theme from there. "My inspiration came from the cozy, textural pieces in Target's Threshold fall collection, like a woven cornucopia that we gave a modern twist by filling it with vibrant fall flowers. On the table, the ceramic vases and marble and wooden cake stand added volume and felt like heirlooms," she says.
Layer Cushions and Throws
If you only adopt one decorating idea for your Friendsgiving dinner, it should be this: Invite guests to kick off their shoes, relax, and chat after the feast. Styles created an inviting area by layering soft accents. "One of my favorite things about the holidays is that they provide uninterrupted time to lounge around with family and friends," she says. "I cozied up the living room with tons of throw pillows and blankets in a luxe mix of textures. The upholstered chair and kilim pouf can be moved around the room easily to create comfy spots to curl up in after dinner."
Prep the Night Before
To take the stress out of hosting, Styles recommends setting the table the night before. "It's a little move that goes a long way toward saving your sanity on the day of the party!" she says. "I laid the foundation with a pretty textural runner, made sure my wineglasses were spotless, and then set out all of my serving pieces with little Post-Its identifying which food item went with each."
This year, she chose simple plates and added color and texture via florals and accents. "I love using neutral plates that let the food take center stage," she tells us. "The stoneware shiny dinner plates have a subtle speckle design that gives them a handmade, earthy feel that worked so well with the autumnal napkins."
Diversify Your Floral Arrangements
"I like to incorporate organic elements like flowers, greenery, and berries that feel lush and abundant spilling out of a rustic wood bowl, especially when paired with flickering candlelight," says Styles of the gorgeous autumnal arrangements scattered throughout the space. "My friend Carly Blair brought my fall floral vision to life, incorporating the most beautiful roses, orchids, and ranunculi in shades that echoed the changing colors of fall leaves." To make the centerpiece more festive, she tucked farmers market finds throughout, like grapes, figs, and crab apples, which added gorgeous color.
Make a Punch Bar
Opt for recipes that aren't too fiddly and won't pull you away from the party to prepare. Styles turned her console into a bar and encouraged her friends to add their own garnishes with a few assortments on display. "When it comes to punch, I like to keep the recipe simple and dress it up with tons of fun garnishes," says Styles. "My Friendsgiving punch had only three ingredients: pomegranate juice, vanilla vodka, and prosecco. I made it feel fancy with an ice ring filled with cinnamon sticks and fruit, and I added a sprig of thyme and citrus slices to each glass."
Are you hosting Friendsgiving this year? Add some three healthy sides to the menu.