Each year, good friends of mine host Friendsgiving at their home. This highly anticipated event is packed with delicious food, drinks, and loads of laughter.
I am always in awe of how my friends pull off hosting such a large group of friends. I should mention that this dinner is a sit down dinner for nearly 50 people! Each year the guest list grows, that tells you something about how sweet and inclusive our host and hostess are when it comes to their relationships.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all we have, and that includes those friends closest to us. Having a special day set aside to sit down and give thanks for the wonderful friendships we have formed is a beautiful thing. But on the practical side, hosting an event like this can be stressful, how can we take the edge off? I got you covered, you’ve come to the right place 😉
How to Prepare a Room for a Sit Down Dinner for 50 People
Let’s start with the obvious. First you need a room big enough to accommodate 50 people. Second, you need to get creative on the table design where everyone will fit comfortably and the table seating will be conducive for socializing.
Often times for a wedding where a large number of people are attending, you would see one very long table. While that does look very pretty in pictures, not to mention the space requirements…it seems like it would be hard to talk and mingle with other guests where everyone is so spread out.
For this Friendsgiving, my friend and I came up with a C shape table design to accommodate the group. When thinking about the number of people attending and how much space will be required, it’s important to measure very carefully when planning the seating. Figure at least two feet per person to sit comfortably.
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We use folding tables and attach pieces of plywood to the tops. Home Depot will cut the pieces of wood for you, just make sure to measure the space carefully, figuring two feet per person and allowing enough overhang at the ends of the table.
To secure the plywood to the table, we used gorilla glue tape and wrapped the tables (folding and plywood) together…taping both vertically and horizontally (two tables together). In thinking about the C shaped pattern, we used 6 folding tables and 6 pieces of plywood. We wrapped the tables in sets of two, with two tables on each side and the two in the front but we did not tape the side tables to the front tables. As you can see in the above picture, we left a gap to allow the tablecloths to freely flow. After we placed the tablecloths on the tables, we butted the tables up against each other to create a uniform look.
For our neutral rustic glam table, we used white tablecloths and folding white wood chairs. The host and hostess had special seating at the head of the table near the fireplace.
For the place mats, we used a combination of three different square mats. When seating a large group, round or square place mats are the way to go. Rectangular place mats will be too large and require too much space on the table for each seating.
We used a burlap table runner and placed small paper pumpkins down the center of the tables.
White napkins wrapped in sparkly napkin rings were set on each plate. The napkin rings are a great value for a large crowd and would look beautiful in a wedding setting too.
We added a center serving table for desserts and used baskets to hold forks and spoons.
Lanterns with small votives were placed on the table along with single stemmed roses in a glass vase wrapped with string.
When serving a large group, it’s perfectly okay to use a combination of silverware. The pattern does not need to match and actually mismatched silverware looks very pretty on a table. So go ahead and bring out what you have, I promise it will be beautiful.
The neutral rustic glam look is perfect for a Friendsgiving get together. All the elements combined made the event casually elegant.
How do you get the word out for such an event like Friendsgiving? I recommend Paperless Post. They have beautiful Friendsgiving Invitations from which to choose. In fact, they have such a wide variety of gorgeous invitations, I will be using them to send out my annual Christmas Party Invitations.
In the past, I used a different eCard company to send my invites, but I am so impressed by the beautiful invitations I have received from friends using Paperless Post…I am going to give them a try this year! I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂
How does one prepare the food for a Friendsgiving dinner for 50 people?! One word….POTLUCK! We had the most magnificent spread of prime rib, turkey, smoked salmon, filet mignon, stuffed shells and a huge assortment of delicious side dishes and appetizers made for a five star restaurant! I didn’t get a picture of the full spread but trust me when I say it was amazing! The food was served buffet style as there were so many options from which to choose.
On another note, I highly recommend getting a bartender for a large gathering like this, you don’t want to spend your time preparing drinks. Try asking a friend to do it, they will enjoy the experience and probably be asked by your guests to help them at their next event!
Everyone had such a fun evening that ended with an interactive game of Pictionary. A great way to end an incredible Friendsgiving with Besties.
If you are planning a Friendsgiving dinner of your own, you may also be interested in last year’s post Hosting a Friendsgiving Dinner Party.
Have you ever hosted a Friendsgiving? Would love to hear your tips, drop me a line.
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6 thoughts on “Hosting Friendsgiving for a Very Large Group”
This is lovely. With a large group, how did you serve the food? Buffet or did you have servers?
Hi, the food was served buffet style since there were so many food options. Good point, I should have mentioned that in the post. Thank you!
This is great! what size are the plywoods? do you have a link for the placemats?
The plywoods are sold as 4’x 8′, which may be fine for your room but if you are tight on space, they can be cut down for example to 3.5′ x 7′ assuming you are using 6 foot tables underneath. I don’t have a link to the placemats, sorry.
I can’t imagine how I missed this lovely post! What a wonderful dinner, and you solved all the potential tricky situations beautifully – very nice! I love it all!
I’m getting pretty good at this 😉 Large gatherings can be really tricky but with a little creativity…it can be done! Happy Thursday Barbara!