cheap dinner party ideas

Dinner parties are one of the best ways to keep up with your friends. The problem can be the expense of throwing one. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to have a dinner party and not break the bank.

One idea is to have the guests provide most of the food or drink. You can do this the traditional way, by letting people know outright that the party is BYOB, for bringing your own bottle, or you can get a little tricky. I once threw a margarita party and asked everyone to bring their favorite brand of tequila. Everyone enjoyed showing off his or her offerings, and for some reason, no one focused on the quality of the food very much. Alcohol, one of the most expensive components of the dinner party, was taken care of. Since I had thirty people at that particular party, it saved me a considerable amount of money. Feeding thirty people can be less expensive than providing them with drinks.

Your party may not include alcoholic beverages. This is a good idea if you are on a tight budget. Unless you are willing to serve wine in a box, chances are, you will deplete your band account at the liquor store before you ever get around to going to the grocery store.

You can always throw a good old-fashioned potluck. You provide the party atmosphere, and your guests provide the majority of the food. Unless you want your dinner party to consist of people sampling an assortment of chocolate chip cookies, it is best to come up with a theme. For example, you could throw a Mexican-themed dinner party. One person can bring the rice, another the beans, yet another a tres leches cake or another sort of dessert. The individuals who do not cook can bring things like sour cream, avocados for guacamole, and tequila for the margaritas. You can cook the main dish, which can be something like enchiladas, which are very economical to make. As the hostess, it is your duty to provide the atmosphere, so dust off the table outdoors, string up some lights, and let a cumbia CD blast into the night.

If you would like to throw a dinner party where no one is obligated to bring anything, choose your menu carefully, as well as your guest list. Don’t go crazy inviting people, as I did when I invited thirty people to my “margarita party.” Think about how much it costs to feed yourself and your family, and you’ll find that it is easy to spend an entire week or two grocery money on one dinner.

Pasta is a good choice for the main dish. It is filling, and you can make it very elegant, with a minimum of expenditure. Try making a luxurious Alfredo sauce with sauteed portabello mushrooms and red bell peppers. The portabello mushrooms lend an exotic, expensive touch, without actually being costly since you won’t be using many of them. Sides for an Italian dinner include bread and salad, neither of which is expensive.

You can also set out a variety of olives and slices of provolone and pepperoni on crackers for appetizers. To drink, you can serve tea or white wine, depending on the number of people you will be inviting. If you are on a budget, you might want to skip the wine if you are inviting more than six people, as you’ll want to allow a half bottle of wine for each person. For dessert, you can serve prepurchased Italian ice, or make Tiramisu. Tiramisu is reasonable to make; the biggest expense is the mascarpone cheese. Tiramisu is a treat that most people do not indulge in often, and will give your dinner party instant luxury.

To create a very elegant ambiance, try playing some older tunes. Play Pink Panthers Penthouse Party, which has the Peter Gunn soundtrack, Peggy Lees Fever, and of course, Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther theme. With this background music, you could serve Captain Crunch for dinner and it would be cool. Light several candles around your house, and make sure that none of them give off aromas that compete with your food.

Depending on the amount of time that you have, you can create party favors and place settings to your heart’s delight, as these are more time-consuming activities than expensive ones. You can create a menu on your computer, handwrite place cards, and enlist inexpensive fabric as an impromptu tablecloth. With creativity and a good batch of friends, you can have a fantastic dinner party regardless of the size of your budget.

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