Divine Dinner Parties

TS-AA017691_dinner-party_s4x3_leadAre you conflicted with a desire to be the host with the most, but also feel like extra spending, like that associated with hosting a dinner party, may not fall within the confines of your budget?  When considering hosting a dinner party, a little creative planning can go a long way towards keeping your household budget intact.


No doubt, the cheapest way to host a dinner party is to have pot luck. However, if you are really looking to manage the menu, one way to mitigate costs is to have guests bring items around the main course.

Along with their RSVP, guests will invariably say, “What can I bring”? Assign guests things like salads, nibbly appetizers, dessert or crusty bread. By outsourcing these items, you can still have a full menu for less cost.

Frugal Food with Flavour

One way to shave down costs with your menu is to have a shared dish (i.e. lasagna, spaghetti, fajitas). Because of volume and of food cost, these dishes tend to be plentiful and cheaper to prepare for a crowd.

Consider having soup for an appetizer. Homemade soups are very easy to make and generally use inexpensive ingredients (vegetables, broth, tougher cuts of meat, canned beans etc.). Not only are they budget-friendly, they are hearty and will help to fill your guests’ hungry bellies in advance of the main course.


Formalizing your event with invitations is a great way to create buzz and excitement. Invitations also allow you time to plan and to organize RSVPs, which can help you with food cost and menu planning.  Evites and Facebook are popular, no-cost methods to draw your crowds.  If you prefer a print style invite, they can be done cheaply using your home computer’s printer. There is a wide selection of stock and templates available. To cut costs for print invites, hand deliver, rather than send by mail to save even more money.


One of the greatest costs associated with hosting an event, especially a dinner, is alcohol. Offer an array of non-alcoholic beverages for your guests, but politely suggest that guests wanting to partake in libations bring their own along.

Light the Way

Décor is an important impact of a dinner party. One way to really create a quiet sense of elegance for minimal cost is to use candles. Strategically placed candles throughout your home (they can be wax candles, or LED candles that are safer, and will “burn” longer) create an atmosphere that is welcoming and special. In addition to the table, remember to adorn areas like bathrooms, hallways and even stairwells (lines of tea lights do the trick), to complete the overall look.

Come to my Table

There is no need to spend lots of money on expensive centrepieces for your table. A supermarket bouquet of flowers or a simple vase filled with lemons or pebbles might be all you need.  Spruce up your usual table cloth with pretty printed napkins that mark the fact that it is a special occasion.