It was a major thrill for me to set the table using all of the goodies we got for our wedding last year. This was my first "real" dinner party, and setting up all the glasses and silverware made my heart happy.
I originally planned to keep the centerpiece simple with candlesticks, but we added on a second table at the end so I thought something small down the entire center would tie the two together. I ended up using four small lanterns that were outside decor from our wedding, and added little colorful gourds that I'd picked up when we went apple picking last month.
The little wreaths were 2/$1 at Target, and I used red and white bakers twine (also from the Target $1 Spot) to tie on the hand stamped place cards. The tablecloths are off white and had a bit of shimmer to them, so I used the wood texture and color of the wreaths and the mustard yellow place cards to keep the overall look from being too crisp and wintery.
I found a rubber stamp at Michael's awhile back that I knew would be perfect for Friendsgiving - it reads "Because you matter to me". I used it on the invitations and then stamped a little mini kraft paper bag for everyone with it. I used mini clothespins and the same letter stamps the place cards were made from to tag a bag for each person, and set out colored pencils and little slips of paper for people to write notes to each other with the cue "I'm thankful for you because..." The notes obviously got a little goofy after some wine, but they were also heartfelt and adorable, and I loved reading mine the next morning.
Bridget came over early to help keep me calm and to help keep Louie company while I got myself ready. It's the season to be thankful, and I am forever thankful for a friend like Bridget!
For the main event - I cooked a turkey! This was a major ordeal for me considering I can barely cook a piece of chicken in a pan without screwing it up, so I decided to use Alton Brown's famous recipe, which Food Network swears is totally foolproof. It required a few days of thawing in the fridge and then a sink full of ice water, brining overnight in a 5-gallon bucket on the cold porch, stuffing the cavity with aromatics (apple, onion. rosemary and sage) and a roasting. And, Food Network was right - It was amazing!! I freaked out a little when the meat probe showed the temperature right where it was supposed to be in under 2 hours, but from what I understand a 15 pound turkey is actually on the small side, so it wasn't too surprising that it cooked quickly.
Considering there were 12 of us and everyone brought at least one dish, we had a LOT of food. So good.
This guy (Jeff) came to town for the event, and I nearly cried I was so happy to see him. Jeff moved to DC at the end of the summer and we've all missed him tremendously. A party at our house just isn't the same without him, so it was really really wonderful to have him there for the weekend.
We ended up with an impromptu dance party in the living room, which has kind of become the norm for our group of friends. No complaints here - I LOVE dancing around and singing with my friends, and absolutely love late-night dancing with the hubs. Boy's got moves.
The men were men and treated us to a fire in the backyard later in the night. The weather was perfect for a little campfire, and Bridget's spiked cider was perfect to sip on while we all chatted.
All in all, I could not have asked for a better evening with friends. We celebrated Thanksgiving, a birthday and an engagement, ate a ridiculous amount of food and drank an even more ridiculous amount of wine. We are extremely blessed with such amazing friends, and I'm hoping Friendsgiving becomes an annual tradition for all of us in the future!