Seasonal Tips for a Festive and Unconventional Friendsgiving Affair


‘Tis the season for all kinds of gatherings with family and friends. As we enter into the year’s most joyous time, more and more would-be hosts are planning Friendsgiving celebrations.

“Friendsgiving is gaining popularity, especially here, where we have a lot of military families who are away from home for the holidays,” explains San Diego, California-based interior designer Rachel Moriarty of RM Interiors. “What I love about Friendsgiving is that there are no hard and fast rules around it: it can be indoors or outdoors, formal or casual. It’s a way to spend quality time with your besties.”

For her recent Friendsgiving celebration, Moriarty got creative, selecting 15 colorful Sunbrella fabrics for an outdoor meal among friends. The result was beautiful, fun and filled with personality. If you’re thinking of planning your own festive gathering to celebrate friendship, here are a few helpful tips to get you started.

Vibrant selections of Sunbrella performance fabrics were used, featuring Milano Cobalt on fade-resistant daybed

Think About the Theme

Every great gathering starts with an idea. Think about how you want your party to look, and feel free to be less traditional. From invitations to table decor, hosting a Friendsgiving party is a fun way to showcase your seasonal style. Let the cuisine you choose inspire the use of bright colors or bold patterns on your table for a fun twist on the ordinary. The goal is to create a comfortable environment for your friends and loved ones to share a meal.

Designer Rachel Moriarty uses a mix of complementing Sunbrella colors and patterns to transform this outdoor gathering space

Play With Time

Unlike the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, Friendsgiving meals don’t have to be relegated to any particular time of day. Perhaps you and your guests love a good breakfast potluck or a brunch with a festive mimosa bar. It’s a great opportunity to host the meal that sparks the most joy for you. The time of day can impact the decor you choose as well. For instance, if you’re having a daytime party outside, you might select brighter fabric colors like Moriarty did for her recent al fresco Friendsgiving in sunny California. Or, you might pick deeper shades for a tablecloth and placemats, paired with glittering candles and lush greenery, for a cozy evening dinner indoors.

The homeowner’s dog enjoying the lively friendsgiving atmosphere, featuring Sunbrella Tailored Sky amongst the alternating patterns of seating

Get Creative With Decor

“I love a table that has an eclectic mix of modern and vintage,” Moriarty notes. Creating a festive atmosphere and tablescape doesn’t have to be a costly affair. Instead, mine your closets, yard and local plant market for props to stage a stylish table. “Natural organic decor like fresh cut flowers, succulent cuttings, citrus, pomegranates, gourds and pumpkins always look amazing paired with candles as a centerpiece adornment,” she says.

[Sunbrella performance table runner in Cast Silver provides a neutral anchor for this autumnal table decor, while offering much needed stain resistance

If you live in a location with a comfortable outdoor climate this time of year, you might want to bring the party outside. “Friendsgiving is all about setting the scene and creating a warm and inviting atmosphere,” Moriarty says. For her recent gathering, the designer capitalized on San Diego’s famously lovely weather to create a welcoming spot for her guests. “I used 15 different Sunbrella textiles in total to create fun combinations of pattern and texture. I added comfortable pillows and cozy throw blankets for guests to use in the cool ocean breeze.”

Outdoor dining seating, upholstered in Sunbrella performance fabrics adds a pop of color to the seasonal Thanksgiving tablescape

Worry-Free Entertaining

Whether you break out the fancy china and crystal or opt for simpler everyday dishes and flatware, you’ll appreciate having simple-to-clean items that make tidying up a snap. “[For a recent party] I used a Sunbrella throw blanket to add color and texture to the tabletop then layered Sunbrella runners on top,” Moriarty says of the performance fabrics that are made for real life use. “Sunbrella fabrics are stain- and water-resistant, so if you have a spill you can easily brush off liquid then pat it dry. How’s that for worry-free entertaining?” When you set yourself up to be stress-free, you and your guests will enjoy the meal even more.

Sunbrella performance fabrics showcase worry-free and water resistant qualities, perfect for an outdoor gathering like this friendsgiving

Rachel Moriarty plays to San Diego’s weather and charm when planning her untraditional friendsgiving get together

Sunbrella performance fabrics in Delray Diamond and Turtle Bay offer rich color and comfort on the ample seating in this rooftop gathering space

To discover more effortless entertaining tips check out [link Styling for Entertaining During the Holidays feature]. To see more inspired design content, follow @sunbrella on social channels!