Last week, as part of our “Small Space, Savvy Budget: How to Host a Pint-Size Party” giveaway (presented in conjunction with Apartment Guide) I recommended that if you throw a small party at your place, go the dinner party route.
Well, mine happened last weekend (See Disclaimer Below), and, as you can guess from the photographs, it turned out wonderfully!
If you remember, I harped on the importance of menu planning, so let me give you a rundown of mine: for a dish that could be made well in advance, I chose an orange-and-endive salad, which I made two hours before the guests arrived and kept in the fridge. Wonderful. Then, as for the main dish, I served a buffalo roast, which took two and a half hours to cook, but almost no work – it was simply sitting in the oven while I was cleaning the apartment and as the guests trickled in. Perfect.
Lastly, though, I decided to make an appetizer of fried mushrooms on toast. Because it has to be served hot, it required too much work as people were arriving. In fact, despite being delicious, it would have been a total fail if my girlfriend hadn’t entertained the guests while I scurried around the kitchen. Fortunately, once it was prepared, I could relax with everyone else and enjoy the party. As for pricing, I came in a little higher than expected — it ended up costing $7.50 per person to entertain seven people (myself included). This is likely due to two things: first, I got a spendy cut of meat ($25) for the roast from a very cool buffalo farm in South Dakota. It’s more expensive (but far tastier) than a normal ol’ grocery store roast. Or, as examples, if you made lasagna or mac’n'cheese, it would cost less. Second, I ended up buying a six-pack of beer ($9) even though I really only needed one to use in cooking the meat.
And, as I predicted they would, people brought stuff. Someone brought potatoes and beer to pair with the roast, someone brought dessert bars, someone brought a second salad, and someone brought an appetizer dip. Not only that, but the conversation was sparkling. How was the conversation so brilliant? Well, I used this potluck guide for choosing the best dinner party guests for my event. In a nutshell: invite only 4-5 people, and make sure most people don’t know each other, so the conversation doesn’t splinter off into cliques.
As for additional tips I gleaned from my particular party:
- If you have a small space (no dining room), eat around the coffee table in the living room. Plates on laps aren’t everybody’s favorite, but it has its advantages: you can use your couch for seating if you’re short chairs, it makes the event more casual, and you can use your kitchen table as a buffet, so everyone can serve themselves.
- If there’s a dinner to be served, people will be punctual to your party, which means you should be ready too! I, scrambling around with my mushrooms, was not!
- Board games may have been invented to help people carry over the jollity of the dinner party well into the night. Therefore, have at least one board game option on hand. You’ll thank me later.
Also, for additional entertaining tips, check out Apartment Guide’s budget-friendly ideas for people in any sized home on Moving Today and the Apartment Guide blog. They have great tips for entertaining and making the most of your space on a budget. If your space is so small that you’re looking to move, ApartmentGuide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect apartment community.
And remember that it’s not too late to be entered to win a $50 Target gift-card, which can go a long way towards hosting a dinner party of your own. The deadline is March 30, with winners to be announced shortly thereafter. Just go to last week’s post and read and follow the instructions. Also, make sure to “like” Apartment Guide on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and also to “like” My First Apartment on Facebook!
Well, adios, and happy dinner-partying!
Disclaimer: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs. As part of that program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.