About last night…
I am a sucker for all things themed parties and I must say, it is great to have neighborhood friends that love it as much as I do. We have an Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, two Halloween parties and themed potluck dinner nights. To date, we have had Asian, Italian, Polish, and Mexican! Dinner nights are a great way to get together and the host is able to keep the cost down as every party is a potluck. It allows the guests to cook things we might not otherwise cook on any given dinner night. We have fun researching recipes and sharing our masterpieces.
This weekend, I decided to host a girl’s night in. The theme-Midsummer Night’s Backyard Dinner Party. I envisioned my back yard with stringed lights, lots of candles, and a beautiful dinner table setting. I could visualize it all in my head and decided to go for it. The only challenge…the almost non-existent budget. So this blog is dedicated to pulling off a great, fun dinner party that won’t break the bank!
SMALL BUDGET? NO PROBLEM!
- Don’t be afraid to borrow things from your neighbors and friends. My amazing friends loaned me tables, chairs etc. Thank you neighbors!
- Utilize what you already have. I pulled the canopy tent from the garage and hung lights on it. I went through my cabinets and linen closet and put together things that could be used for the evening.
- Budget friendly stores. Several years ago, I used a gift certificate to buy a set of dinner plates and party dishes from Pottery Barn. I absolutely love them! However, that beautiful store is not in the budget these days. So what do you do when you only have 8 dinner settings and you have 11 guests? The Dollar Tree to the rescue. Yup, I said it, The Dollar Tree! Yes…there is no shame in my game. I went and bought six plates and alternated them around the table. #LittleLove and I chose some blue plates to add some color to the white ones we currently own. While we were there, we picked up vases, candles, candle holders etc. I received a lot of great comments on the decor and rather than be embarrassed, I chose to share my little shopping tip. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to decorate.
PICK A THEME
For this particular dinner, I decided on a Midsummer Night’s Backyard Party. I love the idea of sitting outside on a nice evening, surrounded by candles and flowers. I sent a FaceBook invite asking the women to RSVP. The suggested attire was florals and if possible, flowers in their hair. Dressing for theme parties is also fun and get’s your friends in the party mood prior to arriving. To keep my cost down for my flower crown, I actually picked flowers from my yard and created a flower ring for my hair.
We were lucky to have beautiful weather after a week of heavy rain. We had dinner in the backyard under my string lights and the table was lit with many candles. The table was also full of flowers that I purchased at a low price from Trader Joe’s. I picked different variations of blue decor for the setting.
I suggested light summer foods on the invitation. The women were incredible. Food included tortellini kabobs, watermelon with feta, strawberry salad, meat and cheese plate, light pastas, amazing desserts and more. We passed around the food and broke bread …literally, there was a “lemon pull away bread.” Ha!
ADD FUN WITH TABLE GAMES
This is a group of women that could easily have fun by just hanging out, chatting, listening to music and if the night moves us, maybe a little dancing. But I decided to try something a little different last night-table games.
The secret phrase game. I had table seating for the evening. Under each plate was a secret phrase. The guests had to use the phrase throughout the night as part of their dinner conversation. The goal is to not get caught. Phrases included:
I ate rocky mountain oysters (bull testicles).
Does my tongue look like velcro?
I love hairy men!
Let’s just say, this provided a lot of laughs!
Get to know your friend. This isn’t a game, but it is a chance to get to know your friends a little better. A jar is passed around the table. Each guest must pick a question, read it out loud, and share their answer. Questions included:
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
What is your most embarrassing moment?
What was the best gift you have ever received?
Who is your favorite book character?
I learned some new fun things about my sweet friends last night. While I had other games on standby, we chose to just sit a bit, relax and enjoy each other’s company. But if you want to add a little fun to your dinner party, these games are cute ideas to keep the conversation flowing.
I am thankful for my friends who came to my little evening party. I had a wonderful time. If you would like to host a party, but seem overwhelmed by the cost and having just the right decor, I suggest the following tips above. But always remember the end goal…to have an ENJOYABLE time with your friends.
Thank you ladies for helping me fuel my soul!
Many of these blog photos are courtesy of Ellisan. Thank you my sweet friend for these beautiful photos and for helping me set up for our evening.