New This Month

Start a New Tradition: Friendsgiving Open House

  • By Alexandra Lim-Chua Wee
  • Photos by Indu Huynh Photography

The only thing better than Thanksgiving? Doing it with your close-knit friends, of course. Here, Sherry Lee of Esselle shows how to gather your squad for a savory celebration that everyone will be thankful for.

Friendsgiving is a perfect way to kick-off the giving season. Even better, host it as an open house for those who cannot travel home for the holiday. "Dedicating a party to celebrate friends is the best way to show appreciation!" Lee says. "As a host, I make the effort to engage with guests, and use the time to catch up on what everyone has been doing."

Roll Out

To help greet your guests (and get the party started!) a drinks station is essential. Plus, a bar cart is the perfect spot for serving small bites to nibble on, and displaying pops of autumnal décor. "When it comes to styling a bar cart I always pick a few items as the focal point first then work my way out," Lee says. "I add any floral and greenery accents last."

Sips and Sweets

For drinks, be sure to have an elegant yet refreshing mix available for guests to play bartender. Lee's picks? Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne, Alfio Moriconi Salmon Sancerre rosé, Kenzo Winery's rindo, and Scribe Winery's pinot noir. Pair your favorite bottle with a spread of snackable treats such as chocolate-drizzled pretzels and pastries on a platter.

Welcoming Spaces

Floral décor always looks beautiful in the cozy colors of fall. Pictured here are Queen Anne's Lace, burgundy mums, rosemary sprigs, and a mix of maple leaves, cotton buds, and white rudbeckia. And don't worry: arranging your flowers amid party prep doesn't have to be tricky. Lee suggests buying a variety of pumpkins, gourds, and cut flowers ahead of time. Create your arrangements up to two days in advance and keep them refrigerated. Once it's party time, gussy them up in a mix of vases and vessels. 


As a finishing touch, position a handwritten sign in elegant calligraphy — it lets guests know where to mingle.

Gather Round

Here's a helpful tip for feeding crowds of any size: Encourage your guests to bring a small dish to share whether it's an appetizer, dip, or side. "I think it's always a great idea to involve guests in dinner parties by asking them to being something," says Lee. "It's a great conversation starter — and people might even end up exchanging recipes!"

Have a Seat

These rose gold geometric place card holders add a touch of sophistication to minimalist table linens. Party perk: they can easily double as party favors, perfect for propping up a small photo or print. 

When it comes to hosting an open house, Lee suggests serving foods that can easily reheat or sit out for longer periods of time such as pastas, breads, cured meats, and roasted vegetables.  

A Sweet Ending

However you throw your Friendsgiving, keep in mind that what matters most is who's at your table rather than what's on it! Lee says, "Meaningful conversation and laughter is what truly makes a party."


Creative Direction, Styling, and Signage Holders: esselle | @essellesf

Photography: Indu Huynh Photography | @induhuynh

Florals: Floral Maker | @floralmaker

Print: Brown Fox Calligraphy | @BrownFoxCalligraphy

Placecard & Menu: Poppy Lettering Designs | @poppyletteringanddesign

Rentals: Pleasanton Rentals

Venue: Kinfolk Inspired Space