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Y’all, how fun is it that Friendsgiving has taken off like a freight train in Georgia? Since the newlywed season of life can often mean being away from family during the holidays, sometimes for the first time ever, Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to gather the ones you love right where you are and share community, gratitude, and great food. The first time I ever heard of Friendsgiving was from our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Jacin of Jacin Fitzgerald Events–she and her husband started the sweet tradition in their home years ago, and celebrated this year’s dinner this past weekend. We’re so thrilled she agreed to share some photos and a few helpful tips for hosting your own Friendsgiving celebration!

Thank you so much to Briana of For the Love of Juneau Photography for these lovely photos!

From Jacin:

When I was a kid, my favorite family holiday dinner was Thanksgiving–I used to love helping my grandmother set the table; she would let us (the kids) make the place cards every year, set out the flatware and china, fold the napkins, make sure everyone had their own salt and pepper sets (she collected them), and make sure everything was in place before the turkey was ready to be carved. I think that was actually what sparked my interest in tablescapes and getting creative with place setting designs.

My husband Pat and I haven’t lived close to home since 2008. Before we moved, our friends used to trade off every Sunday (before we sat down to watch Sopranos) and do a potluck dinner together–it was one of our favorite things! When we moved to California, it became a bit harder to fly back for Thanksgiving every year, so six years ago, we started “Friendsgiving” with any friends who were in the area. Everyone would bring their favorite side dish–whatever recipe reminded them most of home. Pat and I would do the turkey and we’d set the table to the nines–what’s better than an excuse to use the wedding china and crystal?

We’ve learned a thing or two after doing this through the years, and here are some tips we’ve come up with to make the event one to treasure long after the last wine glass has been washed and put away.

Use what you have. This year, I had these beautiful chambray napkins from The Prolific Hive left over from a shoot that I knew I wanted to tie in somehow, and their blue color set the tone for the rest of the decor. I also have more seashells in our home than I care to admit, so the (cleaned) oyster shells doubled as our salt cellars and clam shells doubled as our votive candle holders. Ikea faux fur “rugs” doubled as chair covers for the extra chairs we had to bring in (we don’t have 12 matching chairs) and simple plants from the nursery doubled as our centerpieces (we could re-plant them afterwards). Friendsgiving (or Thanksgiving, for that matter) doesn’t have to be fancy–it’s the people around the table who make the party, not the pretty decorations. If you don’t have a ton of decorations lying around to use, head out into the backyard and clip some pretty branches (with or without leaves) and pick up some votive candles from the dollar store. Candles make every table more welcoming!

Let people help. It isn’t the Jacin and Pat show when our friends and family come over–you know how you feel when you go to someone’s house and ask “what can I do?” You really want to help, and when you’re hosting, your guests do, too. Think of some tasks beforehand that will need to get done just before everyone sits down to dinner–lighting the candles at the table, filling the wine glasses with the bottle(s) you’ve reserved to enjoy with dinner, filling the water glasses, pulling off the salad plates to serve salads/starters, putting on the dinner playlist. When everyone gets involved, it makes the event so much more fun and special to you and your guests.

Always have non-alcoholic options ready. You never know who might be pregnant but not yet ready to announce. By having sparkling cider in the ice bucket with the champagne, or O’Douls non-alcoholic beer in the cooler with the rest of the drinks (plus koozies nearby), you can prevent the awkward “Jenny’s not drinking” comments from floating around. This might seem like an odd tip, but you just never know–a good tip for any party (or wedding) is to anticipate your guests’ needs so they never have to ask for something. That’s the ultimate hostess trick.

Don’t get too fancy with the menu. A friend who attended one of our first Friendsgivings in California once told us she was thankful for this dinner because it was creating memories for her in a new place. I thought that was the most amazing thing and had never thought about it that way–when we continued to host Friendsgiving year after year, we realized we were starting a tradition with friends both old and new, something people looked forward to. Food is an amazing way to create a memory. I use the same recipes every year, passed down from friends and family: Pat’s aunt’s sweet potato souffle, my grandmother’s scalloped oysters, my mother’s pumpkin pie, etc. While it’s tempting to get crazy with the menu (and hey–go for it if you’re up to it!), we save the inventive new recipes for dinner parties during the year or Sunday night cooking. Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving are all about tradition for us.

Plan your seating chart intentionally. Take a look at the whole table with your spouse the day before and think about your guests and where they’ll sit. Who will have the most in common and create a great conversation? Who just got in a tiff the week before? Who might be a great all-around person who can literally talk to anyone (they might good for the middle of the table to keep things going), etc. Pat and I take care to place people where they’re going to have a great time. There’s nothing worse than dead air at a party, and that extra ten minutes put into the seating arrangement is time well spent to keep your dinner party lively and fun.

Create a timeline. If you’re cooking the turkey, you need to create a timeline for yourself to know when to put the turkey in the oven, as well as know when those extra sides need to go in. We have a double oven now, but when we first started this tradition, we had a tiny apartment in San Francisco and the turkey barely fit in the oven (see? another fun memory :)). I usually time my cooking so the sides head into the oven when the turkey comes out (I take it out once it hits 165 and let it rest–it’ll continue to cook once you’ve taken it out of the oven, just cover it in tin foil). Whatever timeline works best for you, go with it, but by putting one together ahead of time, it allows you to hang out with your guests when they arrive rather than working in the kitchen the entire time.

Remember what this is all about. Our Friendsgiving this year took place the day after the attacks in Paris and it felt a little strange to be celebrating when there was so much turmoil and sadness going on elsewhere in the world. We made it a point to take a moment of silence before dinner, with all of our friends gathered around the table, and that moment really brought everyone together. Give thanks to those who join you and make them feel welcomed–that is really what it’s all about.

Thank you so much, Jacin! We’d love to know, have you ever hosted a Friendsgiving dinner? What tips would you add to this list?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar jacin reply

    thank you gals for sharing our friendsgiving :)

  2. avatar Southern Weddings Friendsgiving » for the Love of Juneau Photography reply

    […] I don’t know about you, but when I have a get together at my house, I mildly freak out. Not only do I lack any real cooking skills, but the idea of getting my house guest-ready is a little overwhelming. What style do I want to use? Will that style really work with the food I’m serving? Am I going to have to spend a fortune getting everything to look right? Jacin Fitzgerald of Jacin Fitzgerald Events helps simplify the whole process in her Friendsgiving post on Southern Weddings. […]

  3. avatar Katie Hicks reply

    I must know where that chandelier is from!!! I have been searching for a black one just like that.. It is perfect!

    • avatar jacin reply

      Hi! The chandelier is from Overstock. Here’s the link :)

  4. avatar Aurora reply

    Gorgeous pictures! I would also love to know where the chandelier is from :)

    • avatar jacin reply

      Hi! The chandelier is from Overstock. Here’s the link :)

  5. avatar Kathy Hess reply

    Beautiful Photos…would love to know where your table and chairs are from?

    • avatar jacin reply

      Hi! The table is from Pottery Barn but it’s from 2014 and I don’t think they have anymore. The chairs were from Restoration Hardware – here’s the link!

  6. avatar Rebecca reply

    Where did you get your black chairs? I love them! <3

    • avatar jacin reply

      Hi! The chairs were from Restoration Hardware. Here’s the link!

  7. avatar Jeanette reply


    I know this post is a couple years old, but I absolutely love this chandelier, can anyone tell me where it’s from?


    • avatar jacin reply

      Hi! The chandelier is from Overstock. Here’s the link :)

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By now, hopefully most of you have your copy of our new issue, Southern Weddings V8, in your hot little hands! If not, make a trip out to your nearest Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, Walgreens, Harris Teeter, or miscellaneous grocery store/pharmacy and get yourself one! (And if you can’t find it on shelves, you can always order from our shop!) We’re so excited to be sharing a bit from each of our editorials over the next few weeks – there’s always more that we couldn’t fit in our pages, and we love that sharing these beauties online makes them easy to pin :)

At the heart of each of our editorials is a couple we dreamed up. We designed the details of each shoot around their story, in the hopes that y’all would be inspired to do the same for yours! In Fore the Love, we imagined a couple who met as kids while on vacation with their families. They grew up to love golfing, and invited their guests to celebrate with them over a long weekend of group tee-off times and peach ice cream sandwiches. We tucked lots of fun Southern golf culture references throughout, too!

Big hugs to Katie Stoops, who took these photographs, and Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacin Fitzgerald Events, who planned everything to perfection!

For such a colorful and clever shoot, my first thought for a paper partner was Cheree Berry. She knocked it out of the park – check out all of the “Easter egg” details below!

Nothing could be more appropriate for this editorial than for the gents to start off the wedding morning with a group round of golf. And did you notice our groom’s green jacket? (How could you not?) It was, of course, inspired by the famous one at Augusta!

The ladies had their own colorful accessories, including floral clutches from FabByCab and vibrant nails!

How’s that for a bouquet?? Jacin used pink peonies, coral charm peonies, gardenias, yellow ranunculus, and magnolias, many from Brannan Street Wholesale, for this beauty.

Our lovely ‘maids were equally as colorful as the blooms. We love the idea of choosing a patterned dress for your maid of honor and having your other gals in a coordinating solid!

Real-life married couple Tim and Sarah shone as our bride and groom!

With so many famous golf course signature drinks, we knew we needed to come up with something fun for the drink station at cocktail hour! This golf cart bar was a bit of a handful to rig up, but we were all pleased with how it turned out.

Southern Fried Paper made the most adorable signage and seating chart to complement our scheme. And though an actual course might object to guests practicing their putting during cocktail hour, there’s nothing to stop you from setting up a little green wherever your guests are mingling!

On a golf course, the clubhouse is often affectionately called the 19th hole. We ran with this idea and made it the staging area for dinner. Guests grabbed chic paper bags filled with gourmet BLTs and egg salad – two staples at the Masters, where they are sold for impressively low prices! Cru Catering did a spectacular job jazzing up these sandwiches.

A trellis and floral wedding cake by Ashley Bakery and peach ice cream sandwiches were a sweet ending to the evening – followed by a golf cart getaway!

For more from this feature, snag your copy of V8 right here! Huge hugs to all of the talented vendors who brought this feature to life:

Photographer: Katie Stoops | Film processing: Richard Photo Lab | Planner, stylist, and florals: Jacin Fitzgerald Events | Flower wholesaler: Brannan Street Wholesale Florist | Venue: Patriot’s Point | Prep location: The Cottages on Charleston Harbor | Caterer: Cru Catering | Cake: Ashley Bakery | Hair stylist: Ash and Co. | Makeup artist: Dannon K. Collard | Invitation suite: Cheree Berry Paper | Signage, packaging, and drink stirrers: Southern Fried Paper | Wax paper: Pink Lemonade Party Shop | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens | Rentals: EventHaus Rentals | Vintage glassware and china: The Festive Frog | Bride’s gown: “Zinnia” by Anne Barge | Bride’s getaway dress: “McLeod” by Kate McDonald Bridal | Bride’s clutch: FabByCab | Maid of honor’s dress: “Laura” by Donna Morgan | Bridesmaid dresses: “Lilly” by Camilyn Beth | Monogrammed hats: Marley Lilly | Green jacket: Country Club Prep

Jacin Fitzgerald, Dannon K. Collard, Southern Fried Paper, and Kate McDonald Bridal are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and EventHaus Rentals is a delightful sponsor!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Jacin reply

    What a fun shoot this was – thank you again for including me :)

  2. avatar Erin Phillips reply

    This was by far my favorite editorial that you guys did in V8! It even had my husband drooling with the green jacket and the golf references scattered throughout. So. Much. Fun!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    This is so fun! I’m obsessed with the flowers, the maid of honor dress, and the bride’s getaway dress!

  4. avatar Malou reply

    Not my preferred colors but nice styling!

  5. avatar Jehnel Oboza-Davison reply

    I love how this just screams the 1950s. The colors, the style, the sleek and modern lines; love it all!

  6. avatar Citrus-Inspired Color Palette & Decor – Confetti Fields reply

    […] with clementine, Dinner menu with Peonies and Garden Roses, “Naked” wedding cake with kumquats, Rosè cheers, Citrus rainbow of bridesmaids dresses, Floral bridal updo, Orange seat assignments, Paper […]

  7. avatar April Lynn Designs reply

    […] Credits: Centerpiece: Southern Weddings | Wedding Invitation: April Lynn Designs | Wedding Welcome Sign: Style Me Pretty | Wedding Bouquet: […]

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It is so hard to believe that this day is finally here!! We started dreaming and brainstorming for V8 all the way back in December, and with shoots wrapped up, film printed, ads designed, and the final touches on layout happening as you read this, we couldn’t be more thrilled to open pre-orders!

Southern Weddings V8, our 2015 issue, launches on November 5 and will be available on news stands all over the South and beyond–we’re carried in Target, Barnes and Noble, Walgreens, Walmart, and a whole bunch of grocery stores (including Southern favorite, Piggly Wiggly). However, some stores take a few days to put their stock on the shelves, and many sell out faster than a freight train in Georgia–especially since some loyal SW fans have been known to buy out their local stores! The BEST way to ensure that you’ll see our newest issue ASAP is to place a pre-order online here. You can also pre-order the updated Collection, consisting of V6, V7, and V8, here.

We might be a little biased, but we truly think this is going to be our best issue yet. It includes seven custom editorials, 11 gorgeous real Southern weddings, plenty of wedding planning tips, and and an entire section devoted to newlywed life that we know y’all will love! We were so happy to work with some of the very best vendors in the South to bring our content to life (Easton Events, KT Merry, Eric Kelley, Nancy Ray, Jacin Fitzgerald, Jaclyn Journey, Katie Stoops, and SO many more!), and are so excited for y’all to see what we created with them. YOUR engagement, wedding plans, and marriage preparation have been at the forefront of our minds through each step of creating this issue, and we sincerely hope that you are encouraged by every page.

You can place your pre-order for V8 here, and for the updated Collection here. Remember, even though you’ll pay now, your order won’t be shipped until November! If you order a magazine combo or any other item with your V8 pre-order, please note that your entire order will ship in November, though normal shop orders will continue shipping as usual.

If you have any questions about the process, leave a comment below and let us know. We can’t wait to ger this issue into your hands, friends–43 days to go!!

lisa Written with love by Lisa

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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