You may think that throwing a party is too hard. Especially if you don’t have space or money, and don’t know where to begin. That’s where we can help: in conjunction with Apartment Guide, we here at My First Apartment are participating in the “Small Space, Savvy Budget: How to Host a Pint-Size Party.” We’ll be giving you tips on how to host a small party – and, in fact, I will throw a party as an example (see disclaimer below) and, if you give us your party tips, you can sign up for a chance to win a $50 Target gift-card, which can go a long way towards hosting a party of your own.
For my small party, I’m going to host a dinner party. Now, it may seem like a dinner party is a lot of work, but, even if you have a small space and a limited budget, it has several things going for it:
1) Making food at home may be time intensive, but it’s also cheap. Very, very cheap. Especially if you have a dinner party for six, which I’m doing. Think about it: assuming I don’t cook filet mignon, I would estimate that I could easily make a delicious dinner for under $40 for six people. Would that be possible if you went out to eat? Hmmm … maybe if you went to McDonalds or Subway. But if you want a decent meal out, you’re going to pay more than $6.67 per person (especially if you factor in tax and tip).
2) When you make the food, it’s easy to ask people to bring drinks. And they won’t mind, either. That’s because people are impressed when someone cooks for them. Don’t underestimate this. It is rare to get invited to someone’s house for dinner, so when it happens, people remember it and enjoy it. And, if your friends bring the drinks, you’ll get a winning result: a nicely cooked meal, good friends and a few drinks.
3) Cooking at home has practical application. I’m a big proponent of eating in. It’s cheaper and it’s usually healthier. If hosting dinner parties becomes your foray into the world of cooking, all the more power to you. It’s a great lifelong skill.
If you know you’re throwing a dinner party, you need to plan a well-timed menu. This may seem trivial, but it can drastically affect how frenzied you are when your guests arrive. What you don’t want to do is prepare a dish that requires a lot of time and energy right before you serve it – remember, your guests will want to talk with you, so if you’re frantically tossing around oregano and spatulas instead of sipping wine and chatting, you’ve had a bit of a fail.
Far better to have something that just needs to bake for a few minutes at the end, and then to be done with it. My recommendation is to make one side dish that can be prepared well in advance (like a fancy salad, for example, which will keep fine covered in the fridge) and one large entrée that has several components to it – i.e., something like enchiladas, or a casserole, that can also be prepared in advance and that can easily be slid into the oven for the final step. You’ll be relaxed and your friends think it’s magic when you step into the kitchen for a minute and reappear with ready dinner.
Sitting around the table with good friends and good food and drink is usually entertainment enough, but 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 tips for entertaining and making the most of your space on a budget. Also, 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.
As for entering our contest, here are our rules: write a comment below telling us about your favorite dinner-party dish. Then, make sure to “like” Apartment Guide on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and also to “like” My First Apartment on Facebook! Then you’re set. The deadline for entry is March 30. Next week, I’ll check in with you and let you know how my dinner party went. Shortly thereafter, we’ll announce the randomly-selected winner on our website! Best of luck – and we look forward to hearing your tips and ideas!
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.