Friday, June 22, 2012

Dinner Parties for Unmarried Twenty-Somethings

We have quite a great group of cooks in my group of girlfriends, and one of our favorite forms of get-togethers is to throw an impromptu dinner party. Wine, delicious food, and captivating (mostly inappropriate) conversation make a weekday dinner something special. Here's how to seamlessly pull together a dinner party for a group of unmarried twenty-somethings.

Dinner parties can get really fussy very quickly and for a couple of twenty-somethings working with conservative salaries (that's an understatement) throwing dinner parties can be incredibly daunting.

But they don't have to be:
  1. Pick someone to be your "event coordinator" - this is usually the person (or people) who is hosting the event. This role hosts the event and designates the type of dish each person is going to bring. In order for a dinner party to run without error, you need to be very specific with your guests about what they need to bring.
  2. Find a table that is big enough to support your dinner party. Our group generally fluctuates from 5 to 9 people, so generally it is hosted at my apartment because we are lucky enough to have a large table. If not, pull out that card table and throw a table cloth (or sheet) over it and add it on to the end of the main table. Not enough seating? Pull up ottomans, desk chairs, etc. It doesn't have to be fancy, because you are only twenty-something.
  3. Mix and match your dishware to make your table setting unique. As twenty-somethings we truly do not have a set of 8 to 10 matching dishes in our collection of hand-me-down dishes from our parents or dishes we got on sale at Tarjay (aka Target).
    **We mix and match our plates, our stemware (which is seriously a collection of two blue glasses, two large clear wine glasses, and four gold-rimmed wine glasses thanks to my mother), and our place-mats (which makes clean up a breeze). Our colors still "match" (we stick to garden tones - oranges, reds, greens and purples) and our table looks complete. Even if you don't have dishes, you could always use paper plates - your friends will not judge you!
  4. Assign dishes and beverages to guests. Here's the breakdown for a dinner party of eight:
          - 2 people on wine duty (2-3 bottles each)
          - 2 people make the main dish (this tends to be more expensive)
          - 1 person makes salad of their choice
          - 2 people make sides of their choice
          - 1 person brings fruit or dessert of their choice
    **My group has a lot of dietary restrictions from gluten to lactose to vegetarians. This doesn't mean you need to restrict all dishes, but make sure that common food allergies and restrictions are known across the board. Our vegetarian friend will just not eat the main dish, and our lactose-intolerant friend will choose not to eat the dish (if any) that has cheese. This is why it's important to vary the side-dishes so people can pick and choose what they want to eat.
    **We sometimes stick to a theme (like Mexican, Italian, Californian, etc.) but generally everything comes together.
    **When planning how much wine to bring, try to bring at least a half a bottle per person. At my dinner parties, we tend to drink a lot of wine as we shoot the breeze so I always have a few bottles of cheap $4 wine on hand for when we run out of the good stuff (by then you can't tell it's not the highest quality anyways).
After you throw your first dinner party in this fashion, you'll see how easily it comes together. Last night we threw a dinner party good-bye for my friend who is going to vet school at UC Davis in the fall and leaving next weekend.

The menu consisted of: chicken in a white wine/mushroom sauce, sweet potato fries, roasted squash and Brussels sprouts, and a spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese, and almonds in a balsamic vinaigrette. We had 5 bottles of wine and it was delicious.

Have you thrown your own dinner party? What are your tips and tricks? I have to admit this method makes for a non-stressful, easy-going dinner party.

{I love the mix and matching glassware on this simple tablescape}
{Cute idea - seafood on a paper table mat. Easy clean-up!}
{Unscented candles are always a welcome addition to our dinner party - it adds a great ambiance}

Pin It


  1. hey I like ur pix, seems to be so snug!

    may be we could follow each other-let me know and I'll return the favor


    don't miss a chance to participate in my giveaway:)

  2. Such a fun post! I am VERY daunted by the idea of throwing a dinner party - but I would like to attempt it sometime :) Thanks for the inspiration :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...