My husband and I had a few couples over a few nights ago for a fall feast! Here are some of my tips for organizing a dinner party on a budget without feeling overwhelmed
Prep: I think it's important to do things little bit little so you aren't spending your entire Saturday getting ready for dinner that night. Here is my timline of how I organize myself (as best as possible)
2 weeks before: pick the night & invite your friends
1 week before: pick a menu, distribute (see below)
3 days before: grocery shop
2 days before: set the table (if it's a table you don't use everyday)
1 day before: clean the areas of your house where your guests will be
day of: cook your portion
Step ONE: the scene
Beautiful fall leaves in my backyard!!!
Step TWO: the menu
My favorite way to do a dinner party is to have each person bring a part of the meal. We had 3 couples are ours so each of us made 1 part. My friend Holly made a salad, Jill a soup and me, the main dish, a risotto. I picked out the recipes before hand and gave to each gal the week before so they could shop and prep. This takes the pressure off of preparing a large meal and saves some money!
Step THREE: the table
I hate our dining room table, old hand me down, but I dressed it up with minimal things! A table runner, some fall decorations and some fall flowers did the trick! I also hate when tables look too full so instead of using 6 brown placemats I just used 3 and did every other place. I always have paper napkins on hand that I find wherever I go, these are from Ikea (... 100 for $4 maybe? super cheap)
Step FOUR: enjoy
Step FIVE: dishes
Since there were 3 courses we did the dishes as we went. Always have a clean/empty sink when gets arrive and have an empty dishwasher ready to load. After each course we would take a quick break, load those dishes, eat, etc. This left with less clean up at the end. The night of after guests leave, I usually clean up the table, counters etc. and leave everything in the sink. The next morning I (or my husband) tackle the big dishes. This gives you a break after a long tiring and hopefully fun night!
Hope you all have a great holiday season and aren't afraid to entertain!!