If it’s your turn to host the next gathering, don’t panic. Hosting a great party doesn’t have to be a big-budget affair. Instead, master the art of the cheap dinner party with these wallet-friendly tips.
Getting together with friends and family is a pleasure. However, when it’s your turn to host the dinner party, it’s tempting to spend whatever it takes to ensure it all goes smoothly.
The perfect dinner party doesn’t have to come with a scary price tag. Here are some tips on how to host a memorable evening on the cheap…
Keep the menu simple
Forget the caviar and fioe gras – simple, quality ingredients are all you need to make your dishes memorable.
Soups are a fantastic, inexpensive starter that can pack a lot of flavour without needing many ingredients. They’re easy to prepare in advance and heat up quickly when your guests arrive. The same goes for spreads – chicken liver pate may seem luxurious, but in fact, the ingredients are inexpensive and it’s easy to make in advance.
If your main is going to be a meat dish, consider changing the cut to help save some money. Swap chicken breasts for thighs and legs or choose pork shoulder over pork chops – these cuts of meat are slightly cheaper but still very flavourful and easy to work with. If you’re worried about quality, consider a slow cook dish to help make even the toughest meats tender.
Wine is inevitably one of the most expensive aspects of throwing a dinner party, and even this can be made more affordable with a few simple tricks.
Instead of drinking wine all evening, start the festivities with a cocktail like a Bellini. Buy a can of tinned peaches and blend them together until they are a puree. Add a small amount to your champagne flute then top up with cava or prosecco – you can buy a bottle for less than a tenner and thanks to the sweet touch of peach your guests would never know the difference.
If you want to serve wine with your main, look for something that pairs well with your dish rather than the most expensive bottle on the shelf. This is where local wine shops come in handy; they’ll be able to recommend a style of wine that will pair well with your dinner that you can pick up on budget.
Make the most of what you already have
When it comes to decor, it might be tempting to style your table like something out of the pages of a magazine, but in fact simpler settings often allow the food to shine.
Work with what you have; you can mix and match dishes for a rustic look, add a touch of sophistication to your old tablecloth with tea lights and a bouquet of flowers, or even create a modern clean look by filling a glass vase with lemons and limes as your table centrepiece.
Use small touches to make big impressions
Small gestures and personal touches can help make an evening special. For example, try printing out your own place settings by selecting a short poem or famous quote for each guest’s napkin. Not only will the personalised napkins make each guest feel special, but they will also spark a discussion around the table. It’s a great way to break the ice and begin a lovely meal.
What are your top tips for hosting a dinner party on a budget?