Friendsgiving has become more and more popular nationwide.  It truly is one of my favorite events of the year that I host.  I have hosted a Friendsgiving for two years in a row, and through trial and error, I have come up with my recommendations for a successful Friendsgiving event.  Enjoy!

1.  Invitations
I send ‘Save the Date’ invitations 30 days before the actual event.  My friends are always busy, so the sooner I send out the notice, the better.  Fourteen days before the event, I send out the official invite. I used paperless posts for my invites because it’s so user friendly, and there are so many complimentary options with colors and various patterns.  Unless it’s noted, it’s totally rude to bring a ‘plus one’ to a Friendsgiving event without confirming with the host.

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2.  Attendees
I use this opportunity to invite my close personal friends, blogger friends, and a way to meet people I have been wanting to meet.  You know that girl on IG who always has an amazing winged eyeliner, great shoes, and the one who has the style.  It’s a perfect way to meet new people.

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3.  Location, Location, Location
I have too much going on to be in an apron making a turkey.  I prefer making reservations over making recipes; therefore, my Friendsgiving will always be at a restaurant.  It’s easier for clean up because the stress of assigning a potluck is too much for me.  Whenever I secure my reservations at my venue, I opt for a preset menu.  It’s easier if you have your guest cover their bills.

Now, if you do decide to have your Friendsgiving at home, make sure that everyone has their assigned task of what to bring.  Please make sure that you have enough food.  It’s nothing worse than having the food run out during your event.  Food and drinks keep the party going.  Speaking of drinks . . .

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Photo Credit: Atlanta Eater

4.  Booze, Booze, Booze
A Friendsgiving isn’t a Friendsgiving without the booze.  Make sure that you have enough of it.  If you are hosting at a restaurant, it will be more cost effective to order bottles of wine and beer.  If you are hosting at home, a signature drink would be a Vodka Apple Cider.  Here is a recipe using Prairie Organic Vodka Apple Cider:

What you will need:

– 1 gallon of  Martinelli’s Gold Medal Apple Cider
– 3/4 cup white sugar
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon ground allspice
–Prairie Organic Vodka

Directions:

Place apple cider in a large stockpot.  Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and allspice.  Bring to a boil.  Boil uncovered for one hour.  Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer for two hours.

Refrigerate until cold.  Add Prairie Vodka. Serve.

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5.  Decor Decor Decor
I am lucky that I have Allison Cawley of Peachfully Chic who is incredible.  Table decor, floral arrangements, and all things events.  You have to make sure that your decor is festive.  Pumpkins are a great accessory for table setting for your Friendsgiving.  You can use pumpkins for place settings and you can insert the pumpkins into fall flowers.

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6.  Dress code
Dress code is a must.  I love to dress up, and everyone loves holiday parties.  Make sure that you send your invitees a dress code.  Everyone has a different style, so be the hostess with the mostess and select a dress code.  I recommend holiday chic attire because it’s fun and everyone loves it.

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7.  Fun Games Ice Breakers
If you’re like me, you have a wide variety of friends and several social circles. Inviting complete strangers to a dinner party can be overwhelming.  Ice breakers always come in handy.  This year I had everyone introduce themselves and explain what friendship meant to them. Everyone loved meeting new people.

8.  Remember the Reason

Have your guests go around the table and say what they’re thankful for and what friendship means to them.  It will remind them of the reason for the season, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about your guests.

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9.  Swag Bags Are a Must-Have

Swag bags are essential for any Eating With Erica event.  This year’s goodies inside of it was one for the books.  The swag bag sponsors this year were amazing!  The sponsors included:

Prairie Organic Spirits: @prairieorganic

Prairie Organic Spirits is a true farm-crafted spirit made from single-sourced corn grown on a handful of family-owned and -operated Minnesota farms.Prairie Organic Spirits is proud to be Made in America.  Each bottle of Prairie Organic Spirits takes three years of meticulous work.  It takes three years of preparing the organic fields for the organic, non-GMO corn that gives Prairie its award-winning flavor. The Prairie Organic Spirits portfolio includes Prairie Organic Vodka, Prairie Cucumber Flavored Organic Vodka, and Prairie Organic Gin.

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Black Box Wine: @blackboxwine

With the holidays upon us, it’s time to stock up on wines to last the whole season long.  Whether you’re serving dinner to a crowd of twenty, supplying your annual holiday party, or simply trying to keep wine on-hand for the occasional house guest, Black Box has you covered with high-quality, crowd-pleasing varietals to satisfy even the most discerning palate. The Black Box Go Packs are highly portable.  The lightweight packaging goes where glass can’t. They are ecofriendly using 65 percent less energy, 70 percent less greenhouse gases, and 53 percent less waste than glass.

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Candlefish: @shopcandlefish

Candlefish will open its second location at Ponce City Market this fall/winter 2016. Each one of Candlefish’s candles are hand poured by expert chandlers (candle makers). Candlefish got its name from the euchalon fish.  So oily, that when dried, it can be used as a candle formerly dried and used as a torch by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest.

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Photo Credit: Anthropology

Double Cross Vodka: @Doublecrossvodka 

Each batch of Double Cross is seven-times distilled and seven-times ltered using estate-grown winter wheat and pure mountain spring water. Distillation is comprised of a seven-step, column-still process resulting in an extremely clean and pure nal distillate. The seven ltration steps include the use of active charcoal, limestone and a unique diamond-dust lter.

Each batch of Double Cross is seven-times distilled and seven-times ltered using estate-grown winter wheat and pure mountain spring water. Distillation is comprised of a seven-step, column-still process resulting in an extremely clean and pure nal distillate. The seven ltration steps include the use of active charcoal, limestone and a unique diamond-dust lter.

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Sephora:  @sephora

Sephora has a social impact program called Sephora Accelerate, which provides mentorship to female founders of beauty businesses. Sephora offers free, 15-minute mini-makeovers at all of its store locations.

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10.  Photos

If you have a friend with a cool camera, encourage them to bring it.  If you do not, assign someone to be in charge of photos.  Jamie King of Jamie Creative was the photographer for my Eating With Erica 2016 Friendsgiving event, and she did an amazing job.  I am in love with the photos.  She captured incredible food, friendship, and fellowship.

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11.  Have Fun and Enjoy Your Night
You are going to look awesome and everything is going be wonderful.  Events are always stressful, but take time to enjoy everything because the event will be dapper.  You are surrounded by your friends who love you, so don’t sweat the small stuff.  Nine out of ten things you are freaking out about your guests won’t even notice.

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All Photos Are Taken By Jamie King Photography: http://www.jamiekingcreative.com

Follow Jamie On Instagram: @jkingphoto

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