Tired of sloppy house parties? Sticky frat house dance floors? Here’s a guide on how to throw a chic dinner party and impress all your friends without draining your bank account.
Punchbowl is an excellent website that lets you create classy invitations for free. They offer several templates for dinner parties that will wow your guests before they even arrive.
At this time you might also want to pick a theme for your party. Having a theme can serve as a useful guide when choosing a menu and décor. For the purposes of this article, I chose an Italian theme.
Lighting is key to set a mood. Try turning off a few lights and using candles to add additional lighting. Place the candles in a line in the center of your table so they double as centerpieces!
Have some klutzy friends? Worried about open flame? Here’s a good deal on a set of 4 flameless candles.
We all know that the cost of alcohol adds up. To save some money, have each person bring a bottle of wine or their favorite six pack of beer. For entertainment, do a blind tasting and see how well you know your alcohol!
#SpoonTip: For blind tasting, wrap all of the bottles with aluminum foil to cover the label and number them with a sharpie. Have guests rank the wines and beers from least to most favorite. The person who brought the overall highest-rated beverage gets to take home any (or all) of the leftover alcohol.
Can’t forget the mood music. Pandora and Spotify have jazz stations to fit the mood. To keep the vibe youthful, yet refined, check out the artist Trombone Shorty. He’s an excellent jazz musician that incorporates rock, funk, R&B, and hip-hop into his music.
There are many ways to keep appetizers simple and classy. Have them out as your guests arrive along with small plates and cocktail napkins. Keep in mind that the standard number of appetizers to serve before dinner is six per person.
Mini cocktail skewers are a super easy appetizer that you can make in advance and customize to your liking. I often use party toothpicks and skewer on a mini pickle, a folded-over slice of salami, and finish with a cube of marbled cheddar cheese. Antipasti anyone?
#SpoonTip: To save money, buy a couple individual cheese sticks from the store so you don’t have to invest in an entire block of cheese.
Spinach dip is a crowd-pleaser at any party. This recipe minimizes ingredients without compromising flavor to save money. It’s also a great way to incorporate some color onto your serving platter with veggies such as rainbow carrots, cucumber, and red bell pepper. Just see what’s on sale at the store.
Bruschetta is also so simple and uses only a few ingredients (baguette, tomatoes, olive oil, and Parmesan or mozzarella cheese).
Need a good olive oil? This one is my favorite.
Choose a recipe that you’re familiar with. The last thing you want to happen is omit an ingredient or botch the preparation because you misread the recipe. Also, choose a dish that does not require a huge amount of work or a lot of ingredients. This will keep the cost, and your stress level, at a minimum.
This whole roasted chicken recipe with veggies is easy, delicious, and can feed up to six depending on how big of a chicken you get. For a side, mashed potatoes are a quick, delicious, and fool-proof dish in case cooking isn’t your forté.
#SpoonTip: Plate your mashed potatoes with a sprig of leftover rosemary used for the roasted chicken to be extra classy.
Prosecco floats are an easy and elegant dessert that requires very little prep time. All you need is a pint of sorbet and a bottle of Prosecco. Or, if you’re feeling especially classy, you can make your own sorbet.
If you really want to impress your friends, you can make whipped cream in a cocktail shaker. It’s so much faster than using an electric mixer and you’ll look badass. Plus, you can top almost any dessert with whipped cream, so why the hell not?
You don’t have to serve these in champagne flutes, any clear glass will do, but they do add a level of sophistication to the dessert.
Remember, whenever you host a party, it never goes exactly as planned. What matters is that you keep your cool and you learn from the experience. Also, your friends don’t care if something goes wrong. They’re just happy that they won’t have to clean up at the end of the evening. So good luck and cheers to good food and good company.