Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rules for dinner parties

We are having friends for dinner tonight and 
I have been preparing and thinking about the menu for a long time. I have ordered the meat last week, I have even been tasting wine one morning at 11 am in a wineshop and now I am very much looking forward to a nice evening with laughter and good moments.
 Before I'll be cooking the hell out of me - I could not think of anything better!
I have found some rules for throwing dinner parties. Read them yourself:

The Top Ten Rules

The Top Ten Rules for Throwing a Thrifty & Super Fabulously Chic Dinner Party Every Time You Entertain:
1) CANDLES! Candles, tea lights, pillars whatever you can get your hands on give the best light, make things festive and glimmer and flicker away all night. Now I’m going to say something kinda controversial: forget flowers. Flowers will blow your budget. Flowers are lovely, and maybe there are times you should splurge on them – but for day-time entertaining. At night, candles add so much atmosphere that with enough of them no one will notice that there aren’t flowers. Stock up at Ikea.
2) Money Does Not Equal Chic, Elegance, Fun or Fabulousity. When you are creating the menu and planning for your dinner party do not feel that you are limited by having a budget. The things that make a dinner party great have nothing to do with money. The idea that entertaining needs to be expensive is cooked up by people who are trying to sell you something. You can cook exquisite food, bake divine deserts, have a glorious table, a home warmed with flickering candles all on a shoe string. Honing your style, exploring your taste, indulging in your quirkiness is what it’s all about.
3) Oddlot, Joblot, Ikea, Target, Daffy’s, Loehman’s, Ebay, Garage Sales, Thrift Stores Are Your Friends. If you don’t already haunt these kind of places start now. Keep an eye out for great things that you will use later. Collect mis-matched used vintage silverware; vintage linens for napkins; discontinued lines that are on clearance.
4) Cleanliness Equals Chic. Aside from candles, one of the most important things for providing a really superb party atmosphere for your guests is a clean space. This means that you should vacuum every inch of your house, put away all your clutter (yes, you have to!), and have a sparkling, windexed, cloroxed, bathroom with a fresh roll of toilet paper, hand towels and a (lightly) scented candle burning. Seriously, you cannot be too clean when you are entertaining.
5) DIY is Just Another Word for Couture.  What people with unlimited budget for entertaining have that you don’t have is the ability to buy other people’s labor. That’s all. If you are willing to put the labor in, to do it yourself, you will have the most delicious food, fabulous drinks, and nifty dinner party ever. To buy a luscious cake for 12 people will cost you somewhere near $100 to make it less than $10. It’s that simple. By starting in advance and lavishing love and attention on what you are making (like a couturier) you will have perfection.
6) Cultivate Your Eye. Take notes when you go to dinner parties, cocktail parties, brunches, weddings, the work Christmas party etc. Every time that people entertain, whether it is corporate or civilian, is a good time to note what you like or dislike about the experience. The dictum that “good writers borrow, great writers steal” holds doubly true in the world of entertaining. If you love the way Aunt Flossie folds napkins across the dinner plates, you do it, too! Great entertaining approaches an art form and like all artists you need inspiration from other artists.
7) Never Refuse Help. Since so much of entertaining on a budget is about labor, never refuse someone’s offer of help. Unless you think it is insincere. Ahem. Anyway, if someone is willing to help you whether it’s set up, driving you to the grocery store, serving food, cleaning up, being a sous chef, say YES! THANK YOU!
8) Bring a Bottle. You should always bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party even if your host/ess says not to bring anything. And if anyone asks you say: “Oh, yes, wine would be wonderful, we’re having….” Don’t be shy; bringing wine to a dinner party is sharing in the community of the gathering. It’s party of breaking bread together.
9) You Have to Spend on Quality – Sometimes. There are certain things that you have to spend money on; certain parts of your menu that will just not work if you don’t buy good ingredients. This is not true for most of the recipes on this blog that will work and/or are designed to be made with budget-minded ingredients. But there are certain times when you will have to splurge. Much like the way French women shop for clothes, in that they buy one really good thing and accessorize around it, chic dinner party menu planning sometimes revolves around buying one really good thing, e.g. a whole smoked salmon, and accessorizing around it.
10) Joy Is Chic. Unless you are under an obligation to entertain, say for business reasons, you should only throw a dinner party because you really want to see the people you are inviting. Think about how much you want to have fun with them, treat them with special things to eat and drink, and supply all the tools for a great night. That feeling of happiness joy in your fellow man (and woman) will imbue your preparations for the party with a special kind of fabulousness that all the money in the world can’t buy.
What do you think about these "rules"? Some thoughts are really true or at least worth thinking about.
When are you throwing your next dinner party?
Nice day,
Emilie's daughter

pictures via Pinterest

1 comment:

  1. Oh, sounds fantastic! Happy dinner party! Maureen