How to host a dinner party at home (mine’s tonight!)

Several months ago, I set up a Facebook event inviting some of my friends to a vegetarian dinner at my house, co-hosted by myself and a fellow vegetarian friend. I love preparing food and creating its beautiful presentation (if you’ve ever gone out to eat Japanese, you probably know what I’m talking about) and I love my friends, so it seemed like a good idea!

1. Pick a date. The problem with my party is that I kept moving the date. It really helps if you pick a date and stick to it!

2. Invite your guests. If you call everyone, make sure you don’t forget to tell someone the time or someone else where the party is. If you create a Facebook group, include a description of the event. I informed my guests that my party’s purpose was to feed them, offer healthy options on a tight budget and answer the age-old question we vegetarians can either tire of hearing or take advantage of: “What do you vegetarians EAT?”

3. Plan the menu. This is the toughest part! You want a menu that will fill your guests’ tummies without costing too much money. My budget was $20 for my half of the meal, and I set my friend the same budget. We discussed which foods we’d most like to prepare and then cut down the list. Be sure to offer at least two options in each of the following categories: appetizers, sides (eg. salad), main course, dessert (optional) and snacks for after dinner.

Fun optional menu task: I gave my vegetarian event a special twist and said I hoped to expose my friends to healthier foods, offering recipes and budget tips as well. I created a document listing the menu items and then included the pricing of most ingredients and the nutritional information.

4. Grocery shopping! Lucky for me, my house already contained most of the ingredients, bought and paid for (thank you, Mom and Dad). These include bulk, every-house-always-has-them items such as potatoes, salsa or cheddar cheese (okay so as you can tell, I eat a lot of Mexican food, so my house is never without salsa or cheddar cheese. Actually, we’re Italian, so we always have at least three different types of cheese in the house).

5. Cleaning…That’s right! You’ve got to clean your party space before you start cooking. In fact, clean the kitchen too while you’re at it…and then you have to clean it again later.

6. Cook. Plan out your meal preparation! What you don’t want is to have a party at 6 and then realize at 5 pm that the potatoes needed 2 hours to cook.

7. Meal preparation. As different parts of the meal come together, set up the food in beautiful ways. My event is a vegetarian event for meat-eating friends, so I’ve got to work extra hard to make the food look good. It’s like when you go to a job interview; you work extra hard to look good, don’t you? This is the fun part!

8. Eat and enjoy! Make sure all your guests’ needs are met; that means drinking glasses, cutlery and plates. Don’t forget to thank your guests for coming!

I’ll keep you posted over the next few days with pictures from the event!

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4 Responses

  1. Hope the party goes well!

  2. […] How to host a dinner party […]

  3. […] anxious to prepare homemade sushi, as my vegetarian, half-Japanese friend had taught me how at our vegetarian dinner party. So, I scouted my favourite foods for tea party recipes. Your Japanese tea party will celebrate […]

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