Entertaining on a Budget:
Affordable & Elegant Dinner Party Ideas
This post is dedicated to hosting affordable, yet elegant dinner parties! Below is a collection of super fun, time friendly, and creative Do It Yourself ideas to help transform a dinner party, no matter how big or small, into an elegant event without spending too much money, nor putting too much time into the planning. These ideas are from A Lot On Your Plate, as well as seen on HGTV.com, Martha Stewart, and other great sources for all things dinner party. Enjoy!
“Easy-As-Can-Be” Water-Flower Arrangements (as seen on HGTV.com) These beautiful vases are filled with lemons, water, and short stemmed flowers. They are perfect for setting an elegant mood for a dinner party while costing only a fraction of a full bouquet of flowers would cost.
Candles, Candles, Candles! When combined, candles big and small, tall or short, are a pretty way to accent a table. Whatever the theme, white candles are always the one of the most inexpensive, yet beautiful ways to go.
Add Napkin Rings. How easy is that? Napkin rings could get pricey, but purchasing them while on clearance or during a sale is the perfect way to dress up a table without over paying. Overstock.com and Bed, Bath, and Beyond are 2 great places to find gorgeous napkin rings for a very affordable prices. (Shown Above: Beaded Elegant Oil-Rubber Bronze Napkin Ring $2.99 each).
Invest in a Table Runner. Like the napkin rings, a table runner is a fun way to splash some color onto a table without over doing the table decor. Etsy.com has some of the most beautiful, handmade table runners that are not only custom made, but affordable as well. (Shown Above: Rustic Table Runner by Dont Forget The Details; Etsy.com; $23.00)
Plan the Menu and Make Use of It As Table Decor: It is important to know what you are going to make for the main course way ahead of time to avoid complications down the road. Just remember to keep it simple. Finger foods are an elegant way to start the party and serve a dish that you feel most comfortable making for the main course. Pork, Fish, or Chicken make for some of the easiest main dishes. Once the menu is all figured out, print it up. You can attach a copy of the menu printed white paper to card stock or download this free printable template from MarthaStewart.com, with printable directions on how to put together this beautiful menu.
Potluck Desserts: After a long night of preparing and cooking, a fun way to get the guests engaged in conversation while having your work cut down a little is by hosting a “Potluck Dessert”. Each guest can bring a dessert to the party. Desserts are a great conversational piece and a potluck is just the unique way to try others creations. (Tip: Vanilla ice-cream with fresh berries make for a nice presentation and very clean dessert; Shown Above: Vanilla Ice-Cream photo courtesy of iVillage.)
Shop Around For The Right (Affordable) Accessories: There are tons of affordable serving pieces that can help you accessorize your dinner party without spending a lot. Although it is important to make use of what table and silverware you have already, but splurging on an affordable new piece is just as okay. (Shown Above: Mable Serving Tray from Anthropologie $24.99).
Get Creative with the Mocktails & Cocktails: This does not mean spending a small fortune on liqueur and wine. Its actually the opposite. One of the best parts about a mocktail is that most, if not all of the ingredients are just fruit and club sodas. Cocktails can be inexpressive as well depending on the ones you make. You can use TheKitchn.com and Pinterest to find some of most creative and affordable mocktail and cocktail recipes out there today. Click the photo above to be get the recipe for this mocktail. (Shown Above: Fizzy Water & Raspberries as seen on TheKitchn.com).
Add Music. It is important to set the mood with the right music whether its classical, jazz, or something instrumental, to help people unwind after a long day. Create a play list and save it under “Dinner Party Music” so you can always go back to it for another event.
For tips and tricks on how to make space in your home for a bigger crowd, be sure to read this great article from the DIY Network and be sure to check back for more great “Entertaining on a Budget” categories from A Lot On Your Plate!