Hosting Tips

A “Friendsgiving” Feast

By Camille Styles

As the workweek comes to a close, I’m counting down the hours until family arrives from out of town, wrapping up emails and getting ready to shut down my laptop in favor of unhurried hours spent talking around a blazing fire. Now’s the time to transition into the holiday mentality and focus on the things that really matter. This “Friendsgiving” feast, hosted by  Lauren Ledbetter and Brad & Jen of Q Avenue Photo, is the perfect inspiration – a gathering of good friends in a natural setting, with platters of abundant, seasonal food. Click through for the gorgeous images, the spot-on party playlists and a pecan pie recipe that needs to be on your menu tomorrow.

About a year ago, we had a dream to build tables.  Not just to contribute to our new home, but to eat meals over, to tell stories around, and to gather people together.

As Thanksgiving approached, we found it to be a perfect opportunity to bring souls together with an over-the-top, detailed night of bottomless glasses, and local fare.


Like each of the boards that we crafted into place from a different pallet, none of the friends we brought to the table knew one another. Different people, different stories, all coming together for the purpose of giving thanks. 

Lauren pulled together all of the pieces to make this night one to remember.  With community and dining together being the our main focus for the evening, Lauren designed a beautiful table with a simple, clean, and rustic feel.  Delicate golden branches entwined with fresh eucalyptus, tarnished metals, and the soft glow of simple white tealights created the perfect, intimate setting–inviting conversation and wine to flow freely around the table.  To top it all off, an intentionally crafted menu with each dish chosen for the purpose of complementing the others. 

By the way, have y’all seen Lauren’s portfolio? It’s chock-full of gorgeous, organic party inspiration. I couldn’t stop clicking, and found myself wanting to be a guest at every party she’s designed. Ditto with Q Avenue Photo: Brad & Jen are pretty much the coolest couple ever, and their story gives me goosebumps. Anyway…

Cocktail Hour Playlist

  • Bahamas – Lost in the Light
  • The Bonfire Band – These Days
  • Devendra Banhart – Baby
  • The Bonfire Band – Crash Hat
  • Treetop Flyers – Is it all Worth It
  • Gregory Alan Isakov – If I Go, I’m Goin
  • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Man on Fire
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Killing the Blues
  • Matt Pond PA – Specks
  • Tallest Man on Earth – The Wile Hunt
  • The Bonfire Band – My Fathers Son
  • Treetop Flyers – Mountain Song
  • Andrew Bird – Railroad Bill
  • Treetop Flyers – Rose is in the Yard
  • Matthew and the Atlas – I Will Remain
  • Gregory Alan Isakov – That Moon Song
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Rich Woman
  • Poor Moon – Phantom Light
  • Van Morrison – Beside You
  • M Ward – The First Time I Ran Away
  • Matt Pond PA – Winter Fawn
  • Jonsi – Why Not

The night was an intersection of stories. People who entered the table as strangers and left as friends. 

Dinner Hour Playlist

  • Ella Fitzgerald – You Won’t Be Satisfied
  • Bille Holiday – I’ll Be Seeing You
  • John Coltrane – Blue Train
  • Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto – Doralice
  • Louis Armstrong – La Vie En Rose
  • William Tyler – Tears and Saints
  • Rosemary Clooney – Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me
  • Roy Orbison – Dream
  • Benny Goodman – Chicago
  • Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong – Cheek to Cheek
  • Jimmy Durante – As Time Goes By
  • Nat King Cole – Mona Lisa
  • Billie Holiday – Keeps on Rainin
  • Dean Martin – All I Do is Dream of You
  • Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong – The Nearness of You
  • Elvis – Don’t
  • Glenn Miller – Moonlight Serenade
  • Keely Smith, Louis Prima, Sam Butera – That Old Black Magic


Pecan Pie
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely crushed
  • 1 cup pecans, quartered


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. To Make Crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and white sugar. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually sprinkle the water over the dry mixture, stirring until dough comes together enough to form a ball.
  3. On a floured surface flatten dough ball with rolling pin. Roll out into a circle that is one inch larger than pie dish. Place pie shell into dish and refrigerate until pie filling is complete.
  4. To Make Pie Filling: In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, light and dark corn syrups, brown sugar, butter, salt and finely crushed pecans. Spread quartered pecans over bottom of refrigerated pie crust. Pour syrup mixture over top of pecans, then arrange pecan halves on top of pie.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for one hour or until firm; let cool for one hour before serving.

Thanks so much for sharing, you guys – such a beautiful night!

*styling & design by Lauren Ledbetter. Photography by Q Avenue Photo.