Hosting Tips

This is How You Host a Summer Dinner Party Without Breaking the Bank

Your guests will be none the wiser.

By Chanel Dror
perfect backyard setup for a summer dinner party

Think back to the last time you hosted a dinner party. When shopping for it, did you find yourself holding your breath the whole 5 minutes you spent at the cash register? An eye twitching as you watched the total tally climb higher and higher?

For many of us, spending a fortune on groceries before a dinner party feels like a right of passage — the price we pay for hosting an epic experience for friends.

But recently, we got to wondering if there might be another way… one that doesn’t include ordering Domino’s. Turns out, there are a few small adjustments that can make a big difference in the cost of entertaining. Below, six ideas for how to have your party and keep your money too.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Pesto - a healthy, delicious (vegetarian!) way to satisfy those taco cravingsphoto by Ashleigh Amoroso

Go Meatless

15 years ago, guests might have balked at the thought of attending a dinner party with no animal protein on the menu. In 2019, however, it’s totally acceptable, and dare we say it, chic. Next time you want to host, why not look to veggie-centric recipes to satisfy your friends and family? We promise it’ll cost you a fraction of what you would have spent on that side of salmon.

wine & jasmine, girls talkingphoto by Kristen Kilpatrick

Make it BYOB

So many of us often feel the need to handle everything, but delegating is a great way to keep your spending and your to-do list under control. Since you know guests will most likely be asking “What can I bring?” why not task them with bringing the drinks while you handle the food? Even Steven!

fireside chats, wine, friendsphoto by Ashleigh Amoroso

Make it a Potluck

Take your dinner party socialism to the next level by making it a potluck. Not to be confused with your college-era gatherings featuring frozen pizzas and box brownies, a dinner party where everyone contributes can actually be quite grown up. Let’s face it, everyone loves the challenge of making one really great dish for friends!

one pot recipephoto via Food52

Go For a One-Pot Recipe

When your proteins, your grains and your veggies all coexist in one delicious hearty dish, guests won’t think twice about there only being one item on the menu. Opting for a one-pot dish means you’ll save yourself both money and prep time. Score!

photo from A Beautiful Plate

Offer One Drink Option

Beer? Check. Liquor, with all the mixers? Check. Champagne for that one friend who only drinks wine? Check. There’s something wrong with this picture, guys, and we’re here to tell you that it’s okay to just offer one alcoholic beverage at your dinner party. Wanna make sure it’s something special? A big summery punch is always a crowd pleaser.

12 Healthy & Delicious Brunch Recipes for New Years Dayphoto by Ashleigh Amoroso

Think Beyond Dinner

Since we often expect dinner to be the most substantial meal of the day, and since it’s usually accompanied by drinking as well, this meal tends to be the priciest to host. Instead, why not invite friends over for brunch, lunch, or even happy hour. You can still flex your hosting muscles, but without the added pressure of producing a proper feast.