Monday 10 November 2014

30 Before 30 Update - I'm Having a Dinner Party

Happy Monday, Noobs!  I'm writing a very quick update post to let you know that I am in the midst of preparing to check off another item from my 30 things to do before 30 list - I'm throwing a dinner party!

My experience with throwing dinner parties is limited.  The closest thing that I have done to hosting a  classy soirée has been regularly offering up my apartment in my early twenties as a pre-drinking destination to a bunch of ladies before hitting up a bar.  Drinks were BYOB, and the only food served would be stale pizza crust the morning after for those who had crashed the night.  Needless to say, as a woman approaching 30, I need to have at least one proper dinner party under my belt.

The hardest part of the planning process so far has been whittling down a guest list.  It's difficult when you want to include everyone, but realize that that space and budget constraints are a real issue.    The second hurdle has definitely got to be a menu - thank the good Lord for Pinterest!  I've been spending my evenings scouring Pinterest to craft the perfect menu to not only feed a crowd, but can served in a more casual setting (we live in an apartment, so a seated and plated meal will have to be replaced by a more casual buffet option.)

I'm definitely excited, but am getting nervous.  I have just under 2 weeks to draft a menu, test out all recipes, stock the bar, and get our home in tip-top shape!  I would appreciate any advice, tips, anecdotes - let me know!

Here's to slowly chipping away at the remaining tasks on my 30 before 30 list - cheers.

xo Joëlle


  1. Can't wait to see the pictures!! When thinking of your menu, definitely try to choose recipes with the option to either mostly or fully prepare the dish in advance. The last thing you want at a dinner party is to spend all the time in the kitchen. Also, keep in mind that you only (probably) have 1 oven, and so if multiple things needs to go in the oven at the same time, but at different temps, that may be an issue.

    If you're doing buffet style, see if you can find those wine glass clips at the grocery store. They clip into a plate and then have a ring to nest a wine glass in so you have a hand free. I steal some from the Auto Show galas every year ;)

    Let me know if you need ideas! I do Christmas dinner every year so I've got lots of practice ;)

    Kris |

    1. Wow, Christmas every year - you're a dinner party warrior! The wine clips are a fantastic idea, and something I would have never thought of. Thanks so much for the incredible tips!

  2. Girl, dinner parties are SO fun! My boyfriend and I have them all the time at our apartment. We literally JUST had one this last Sunday. Here are my tips:

    When crafting a menu, you want to remember the key word: EASY. For example, at our last dinner party, we knew we were having around 10 people over, NOT including my boyfriend and I. So I'm going to use this party as my examples.

    APPETIZERS: We knew we would want finger food appetizers for several reasons: they're easy to pick up and eat, you can snack on them all night and you can keep your guests satisfied until the main meal comes (just in case you have a few early birds that arrive before the meal is ready.) I made a homemade spinach artichoke dip while my boyfriend made cheese and beef empanadas. Finger food/hand pies and dips are the best.

    DINNER/MAIN COURSE: Okay here is where the word easy comes in. Unless you want a holiday-like, pork roast/huge dinner- dinner party, I suggest keeping the recipes simple, especially when you have a lot of people coming over. Kristiana's point was great- see what recipes you can make ahead. If you want something hot off the skillet though, I suggest pastas, casseroles or one-pot meals. Savory meals that you could easily double the recipe for are the best, and even more points if you can make it in 30 minutes or less. I have this spinach-cheese tortellini on my blog that I made and I got SO many compliments on it. (seriously, I had to hoard some of it in a tupperware for later because it was close to being gone within 30 minutes- AND I doubled the recipe!!) You can find it here: . So remember key words for your main course: easy, make ahead, savory, quantity (can you easily double the recipe.)

    SERVEWARE/SETUP: So I have these giant casserole bakers from Crate and Barrel as well as large mixing bowls I always use as serving dishes. If it's a pasta dish like the one I mentioned above, I just dump everything in that, sprinkle with freshly grated cheese, and large serving spoons and put it on the table. Pretty simple, but looks great. Our NYC apartment is pretty tiny so we use our dining room table to put all the food on if there's more than four people at the table.

    DRINKS/DESSERTS: For drinks, keep it simple: beer bottles, wine bottles are best if you're having A LOT of people over. If it's a small quiet party, then cocktail making is good. Besides wine and beer though (for a lot of people) I made a white peach sangria and it was LITERALLY gone within ten minutes, it was so good. (One bottle white wine, one bottle peach moscato, fresh sliced peaches/raspberries/sliced mangoes- combine in pitcher and stir, store in fridge for one hour before serving.) Sangrias are so simple to make, easy to pour (making cocktails over and over might take you away from the party) and look pretty.

    If you can make your dessert ahead of time, do so- you might need your oven for your main course. I usually make simple desserts- by that time people are almost too full to eat them anyways. I usually make cupcakes, some sort of fruit crisp with a couple cartons of ice cream, maybe a dessert casserole, or a shortbread trifle. Easy.

    I feel like I wrote a novel but I hope some of these tips help! Hosting dinner parties are SO rewarding and will have people talking about yours for a while. Just keep your dishes low key so you aren't stuck in the kitchen the whole time! Also, I recommend cleaning up as you go- easier to keep up with cleaning that way. Good luck, I can't wait to hear about your dinner party! it will be a great time. (PS I'll tag you on my dinner party picture- the ONE picture I managed to take the whole night, which doesn't even have all the food in it- on Instagram :] )

    1. Cassandra, I'm so grateful for this incredible comment - you have no idea! These are amazing tips, and I am going to utilize every last one of them! I'm going to check out the tortellini recipe now, and have half a mind to whip up some of that white peace sangria right now as a Friday afternoon treat! xxoo


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