Throwing a Dinner Party on a Budget

  • Choose a Date: When picking a date, make sure you choose a date that’s far enough in advanced that people are able to make it. Weekend nights are the best, so your guests can relax and enjoy themselves, not having to worry about getting up for work.
  • Make the Guest List: When throwing a dinner party on a budget you need to keep the guest list short. Keep the party at 6-8 people( 3-4 couples) including yourself.
  • Choose a Theme: Decorating for a theme can get expensive so if a theme is in order, try to choose a theme you already have decorations for. If a theme is not a priority, try decorating simply with a nice set of dishes and silver ware and the correct stemware for the drinks you are providing. I recently wrote a post about the Appropriate Glassware for Serving Alcoholic Drinks.
  • Create a Menu: This may seam difficult but it really is not. You can make some very inexpensive meals on a budget. Pasta makes a great inexpensive but very tasty meal. Try to use fresh ingredients, vegetables that are in season with be cheaper. Stay away from serving alcohol at your party, alcohol is very expensive and will put you over the budget. If you want to serve wine, there are some decent inexpensive ones that you could serve but make sure and have a half a bottle per person. Serving water in a pretty pitcher with lemon, lime or cucumber makes a great dinner drink or you can make some sweetened iced tea, always a budget friendly drink.
  • Know Your Budget: Before you head out to do any shopping make a list of all the things you need and figure out how much you can spend on each item. Keep a running total of the expenses so you know when you need to cut corners on one item because you went over on another.
  • Seating Chart: When making a seating chart be aware of the size of people, try to put women in between men and seat each spouse by each other. If you have a lefty, make sure and put them on the appropriate side as to not be nudging the arm of the person next to them all night.
  • 2 Days Before: Do whatever prep work you can ahead of time for the food you will prepare. Make sure all linens are cleaned and ironed.
  • The Day of the Party: Clean the house, make sure and recruit your family to help. Try to get everything done that can be done before the guests arrive. Make sure you have the meal finished a few minutes after your guests are supposed to arrive so that you don’t serve a cold meal.
  • ENJOY!

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