A 20-SOMETHING’S GUIDE TO HOSTING A DINNER PARTY

IMG_7343Nothing gets me going like penning a dinner party into the diary. I happily let my thoughts run away with themselves in the weeks running up; food theme, menu compilation, drink mixes, invites…

Now I think about it, I prefer hosting them than actually attending them.

Here is my 20-something’s guide to hosting a dinner party.

IMG_7335 IMG_7330IMG_7328IMG_7333 White Bowls, Assorted Wine Glasses, Disposable Table cloth and napkins all from Sainsburys. Blue Plates from Ikea, Tea Light holders from H&M, Olives dishes: recycled dessert containers.

Setting a date

This needs to be a day that most people are free so I usually pick a weekend when there is no work the next day so guests can let loose. I like to Whats App my guests about 3/4 weeks before to make sure they are free and ask them to “save the date”.

IMG_7343 IMG_7342 IMG_7353 IMG_7367Writing a Menu

For me, this is the most exciting bit, other that the actual event itself. I love trawling through my favourite food and recipe sites looking for menu inspo. It helps to have an idea of maybe 2 different cuisines you’d like to explore before you start recipe hunting and then settle on whichever appeals to you most.

Also if you know you want to do prawns or pork (for example) you can always add that into the search bar on these sites + the cuisine and whether it’s a starter, main or desert. This will help filter your recipe search.

For example: Pork + Thai + Main OR Prawn + Mediterranean + starter OR Chocolate + dessert + f***king epic, you get the idea…

Sites I like for recipe inspo:

Nigella 

Foodgawker

Jamie

Guests should never leave hungry but you don’t want to waste food. It’s always good to have a little leftover incase some greedy guts wants seconds (me, always me).

IMG_7373 IMG_7361Choosing the Drinks

I mostly serve wine with my main courses unless it’s a themed menu that would be better suited to a complementary cocktail. For example: Mexican street food feast + pisco sours. I also like to choose a special cocktail recipe to serve as an Aperitif (before food drink). This is a great way to get creative and give your guests a taste of what is to come later on. It also helps minimise the pressure of catering to an overcomplicated individual drink order for each guest.

TIP: If you are serving Asian try a peach or sake laced cocktail. If you are hosting an American themed dinner party then try a classic from the USA like Screwball or Shirley Temple.

IMG_7314 IMG_7318Prep

Have your table laid and ready before you start food prep so it’s one less thing to think of as the pots and pans are bubbling away. If it’s a particularly ambitious menu or there is a lot of prep I like to chop, slice, grate and marinade a few hours before guests arrive so I have everything ready to go when it’s time to cook.

TIP: Make sure your wine is in the fridge hours before and you’ve remembered napkins. I don’t own real linen napkins so I pick up some nice, heavy paper ones, as it looks a little more refined than folding a sheet of kitchen roll in half! Also the table cloth you see below is a mock linen one from Sainsburys which is disposable. This saves time clearing as I just roll it up and throw it in the bin!

IMG_7348 IMG_7362 On a Budget?

Why not ask your guests to bring dessert? Or a bottle of wine per couple/guest depending on how boozy you want to get. I would personally never turn up to a dinner party empty handed so I wouldn’t feel bad about making a note on the invite for guests if I’m hosting on a budget.

Doing a themed night? Add some inexpensive props to the table so they can dress up making the night more memorable. Budget friendly props are easy to get hold off in bulk from places like AMAZON and eBay.

IMG_7374These photos are taken at a causal dinner party me and my boyfriend Rich hosted for 2 other couples. We did a Spanish theme as we had enjoyed a holiday together in Majorca the month before. The menu is written below for you to see and I have linked the Appetizer recipes below as well.

Appetizers:

Padron Peppers with rock salt

Chorizo cooked in Cider and Bay leaves

Bread served with Manchego Chesse, Serano Ham and Tomato

Main Course:

Paella with Lemon and Basil dressing

To Drink:

Dark’n’ Stormy Cocktails

Spanish Red Wine

Salud!

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