Throwing a dinner party for friends is one of my absolute favorite things to do during any time of the year. However summer is a perfect time to gather with your loved ones, relax, and have good conversation. In these tough economic times, people are finding ways to entertain without breaking the bank. Having a dinner party is an inexpensive way to spend quality time with your friends. I’ve thrown quite a few dinner parties and I’ve learned that dinner parties did not have to be stressful, on the contrary they should be fun and relaxed. Here are a few suggestions on creating a fun party for you and your guests.
Save the Date
When I was single, I thought nothing of throwing an impromptu party. Most of my friends had the luxury of a free schedule like mine. As more of us had children and got married, family responsibilities kicked in and those last minute parties didn’t run as seamlessly as before. Plan your party at least 1 week in advance. For a larger scale party give yourself 2 weeks.
As soon as you decide on the date, call your guests and invite them. Give them plenty of time to plan ahead. If you want to be creative, send them an Evite they are free and fun! Or send them an invite on pretty stationary. Indicate if this is an adult only party or if children are welcome. I suggest calling them a few days before to confirm that they will be attending.
Create a Budget
A dinner party can be an inexpensive way to entertain, remember this when you are planning your budget. Set aside a specific amount of money for the food, small guest gifts, flowers, drinks, etc. Stick within your budget and try not to overspend.
Everyone loves good food. You don’t have to serve a five course meal to have a delicious menu. First, check the sales at the grocery store, you may find some great bargains on fish or meat. I suggest starting with an appetizer before dinner. When your guests arrive give them something to nibble on while they are chatting. try French bread with bruschetta and an assortment of olives.
Dinner should be simple yet tasty. Check with your guests for allergies or food aversions. Make a main course that is nutritious, but simple. Also make a meal that is your specialty, save trying something new for your family, you will be more confident. I suggest serving the main dish with two sides, and a fresh salad or a summer soup. Try a grilled salmon with baby red potatoes, and asparagus and a pea soup.
Everyone looks forward to dessert. Make dessert rich but light. For example, vanilla ice cream topped with raspberries and a few sprigs of mint or move the party outside and make S’mores. Serve some coffee or tea and enjoy the sweet treats!
Preparing the House
My rule of thumb is don’t go crazy and don’t overwhelm yourself when preparing your house for the party.
- A day or two before the party clean the areas of the house you will be entertaining in. Choose the dishes and glassware you plan on using. You may even want to do a trial run and try the table settings to see if it looks good.
- Placing flowers in the house or on the table to give an automatic cozy feeling. Try sunflowers they are great for summer dinner parties!
- Think about how formal or informal you want the party to be. Do you want place cards? If you do think of creative ways to place them on the table, maybe cut them out and tape or glue them to a piece of chocolate with a nice little ribbon.
- Candles are an inexpensive way to add class to your dining experience, try non-scented white tea lights.
- Clean the bathroom and have plenty of toilet paper available. Have nice scented soap for your guests to use, hand towels, and a few lit candles.
- Decide on the music, and put a few CDs automatic replay a day in advance.
- If you have a backyard, there is nothing better than a dinner party outside. A few tikki lamps, some colorful dishes, and everyone can enjoy dinner under the summer sky.
Gifts for Guests
Giving a gift to your guests is totally optional and personal. The gift could be a small candle in gift bag, a tiny box with a piece of good chocolate, or a small scented soap. Place a little note inside of appreciation for their friendship and thank them for coming. It adds an extra special touch that your friends will enjoy.
Relax and Have Fun
Take time during the day of your dinner party for yourself. Take a nice long shower, wear something comfortable, and try not to stress out. Remember that the idea of having your guests over is to spend quality time with them. Remember the story of Mary and Martha, in the bible. Martha was so caught up in the preparation that she forgot what really pleased Jesus. Mary on the other hand listened to Jesus and washed his feet, and glorified him. Who got the most out of their encounter with Jesus? Mary because she paid attention to what mattered most. Take time to share a good meal, have meaningful conversation and create wonderful lasting memories.
Copyright © Chere Williams, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved