Dinner parties and other types of home entertaining have been making a comeback among millennials, but when you’re working within a strict budget you’ve got to get creative. So how do you put together an evening to remember without breaking the bank? These 5 simple tips can bring ambiance and elegance to any home and turn you into the talk of the town.
Get Carried Away With Candles
When having guests over in the evening, the last thing you want is a glaring overhead light washing out the table and shining in everyone’s eyes. Instead, pile on the tea lights at the table or around the living room to create an intimate environment. It will help encourage conversation, keep everyone relaxed, and make your home feel like a classy French restaurant.
Love Your Linens
The secret to seeming like an adult when you don’t feel like one is to invest in a few high-end pieces that pull your space together – but how do you choose? If you like to entertain, consider picking up an elegant French tablecloth that will form the background of all your parties and holidays. And don’t worry about the mess; you can get stain resistant, classic French tablecloths in either Jacquard or cotton, so you won’t be left crying over spilled wine.
In addition to a beautiful tablecloth, don’t forget about cloth napkins. Cloth napkins are great because you can use them for all your meals, not just fancy dinner parties, and if you buy them in a complementary color to your primary linens, they can add a splash of color. You can also try out some fancy napkin folds.
Dinner parties conjure up images of long dining room tables or stylish patios, but why restrict yourself to a single room? If you have a formal living room area with art and ample seating, you could easily host a dinner party in there. Hosting in a different room can change the energy of the event and encourage guests to talk to new people, and linger over a slow meal.
If you look at pictures of dinner parties in magazines, the first thing you’ll notice is that the tables are usually piled with flowers or other creative centerpieces, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on décor you’ll never use again. Instead, stop by the local garden center and pick up something seasonal, like chrysanthemums in fall or summer hydrangea. Then arrange them on the table in fun containers, like empty wine bottles, an unused teapot, or a pitcher or punch bowl. Even a planter box can make a perfect centerpiece with a few succulents and some stones and candles can make a splash with your guests.
Another way you can upgrade your next dinner party is by getting a little crafty and making place cards and menus. And don’t worry if you haven’t mastered all that trendy calligraphy. You can get cardstock already embossed with the word “Menu” or grab a stamp to add the header. You can also take a more rustic route, with a simple font on plain brown paper. There are lots of basic templates on Pinterest you can use to make your own. And then use the same paper and font to make place cards.
Once your home is decorated and ready for guests, you’ll need to figure out what to serve, but don’t worry about your cooking skills. Instead, open the evening with wine, bread, and cheese and spend time tasting different varieties. You can even make a game of it, guessing the origin or varieties, or test your pairing skills by challenging friends to find the perfect combination of wine and cheese.
The main course doesn’t need to be elaborate either; in fact, one of the classiest and simplest things anyone can make for a dinner party is a roast chicken and salad. Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken is nearly impossible to mess up, even for kitchen novices, and will make your house smell incredible – talk about ambiance!
Use these entertaining tips to ditch the dinner party stress and enjoy spending time with your friends. You’re all sure to come away feeling nourished and renewed, filled with good food and the pleasure of each other’s company.