My boyfriend and I spent all of last week planning for my birthday dinner party at our condo. We didn't know how we would pull off having about twenty people over in our 900 square foot apartment! However, with some organizing and a stress free attitude, the evening was one for the books.
I hope my four tips leave you inspired to host your own dinner party.
1. Don't be intimidated!
Leave that lazy and discouraging behavior at the front door. The only way you'll end up having a dinner party is by actually committing. So plan a date and send it to all the attendees. It's better to give people a lot of notice so all of your besties can come and you won't be disappointed by the turnout.
Secondly, don't be scared by the size of your home or the furnishings. The most important part of your dinner party is that everyone is having fun together (and wine helps with that!).
2. Create an inviting space
Create a warm and inviting space for your friends to relax. Always make sure you leave some space for people to wander so they're not rubbing elbows all night.
By playing host, it's your job to ensure everyone has been introduced. This is when you should highlight a similar interest or job to create a conversation starter for your friends. This is important so you can go back to ensure everything else is going smoothly.
Even though our condo is small, we designed a warm atmosphere by placing twinkle lights and tea lights around the living room. Other ways we added to the room were by decorating it with pumpkins, gourds and flowers. These are simple solutions to spice up your space. Don't forget to put some energizing tunes on and then maybe something more relaxing like soft jazz during dinner.
3. Design an exciting menu
Creating an exciting menu doesn't mean it needs to be something super exotic or fancy. Your guests should be coming over for a dinner that they wouldn't typically whip up on a regular Saturday night. For us, inviting twenty people over meant there was going to be some picky eaters. We decided to make comfort food that everyone could enjoy, then kicked it up a notch!
Below is what we served:
Pomegranate blueberry lime fizz
Appetizers (served while everyone mingles)
Charcuterie board with four types of cheeses, prosciutto, chicago mix, pickles, olives, hummus, carrots, cashews, dried figs and apricots and grapes. We also made homemade parmesan and thyme crackers and baked brie popsicles with caramelized red onion.
Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
Slow cooker buffalo chicken meatballs served with a homemade blue cheese dipping sauce
Chicken thighs with artichokes, lemon and capers
Goat cheese mashed potatoes served with fresh herbs
Spinach salad with maple pecans, red onion, feta and apple
Caramelized butternut squash
Now, you might be reading the above and thinking that's A LOT of food to make. Planning and organizing your menu will make it 120 times easier on the actual day of the party! Throughout the whole week, we prepped. The night before the party, we practically had everything ready to go and all that was involved was heating it up! This also frees up a lot of your time so you can actually carry on a conversation with your friends.
We wrote our menu on craft paper and stuck it to our wall so that friends could reflect back to see what exciting dish was coming up next!
4. Learning to relax
Hosting twenty people in your condo for a sit down meal can be stressful, but when you brush off the small stuff, things will go pretty easy! Learning not to freak out when a dish doesn't go a certain way or when another issue happens is all part of the experience.
Make sure you relax with your guests after the meal. The dishes and cleanup can all be done the following day. You've been planning this dinner for awhile so now is the time to enjoy the company of your friends!