We’re in a dinner club with four other couples, who happen to be some of our best friends. Every other month we get together at someone’s house and the host couple provides the main dish and drinks. Everyone else brings an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.
Dinner club is always a blast and it’s wonderful to have time with friends built into the calendar every couple of months. If you’ve ever thought of doing something similar, I highly recommend it.
Last weekend was our turn to host, so while it’s fresh in my mind I wanted to share with you a few things that work for me when entertaining.
Shopping the House and the Grocery Store
When you’re getting ready for a dinner party, the last thing you want to do is add errands to your list, right? You usually have enough going on getting your house company ready and getting the food bought and prepared.
This dinner club fell a few days after I got back from the Financial Blogger Conference, during a very busy week. So to keep it super simple, most of what I set the table with were things I already had on hand or could pick up during my already-planned trip to the grocery store.
It’s been established that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to dishes. I love them. And speaking from experience, if you’re only going to have one set of dishes (and my hat’s off to you if you do) then white is the color to have.
White dishes are a classic and make the food look it’s best. That’s why restaurants use them.
Here’s one of my plates before:
and after using Bar Keepers Friend:
Speaking of white, the one extra errand I had to run before dinner was to pick up an unscented, white pillar candle.
I like using unscented candles on dinner tables so the smell doesn’t mix with the food. Usually I try to keep a bunch on hand, but this time I was one short. They’re easy to pick up at Michael’s when you see them on sale or when you have the 40% off coupon.
I put the white candles in clear hurricanes that I already had. I put coffee beans from the grocery store in the bottom of the hurricanes.
I love the coffee bean trick, but here’s a word of caution: I once put the candles directly into the coffee beans and as the night wore on, and the candles burnt down, the coffee beans ignited. Yikes! So now I always put the candle in a votive first.
I used these clear vases — the ones I used in the twig/floating candle centerpiece — as candle votives inside the hurricanes. They worked great, and no fire. It’s always nice to keep from setting your house on fire when you have guests. (Hey, you’ll only find these fire prevention hostess tips here, so make sure you keep coming back.)
The rest of the table decoration consisted of two small pepper plants, also from the grocery store. I meant to cover their “straight from the grocery store” pots in some way but never got around to it. Good friends don’t mind, or if they do they keep it to themselves.
And finally, while searching for a quote to put on the chalkboard in the dining room, I came across this toast. I had never thought of using toasts on the chalkboard and I fell in love with this one.
On Friday I’ll be back with a super quick step-by-step on napkin folding.
In the meantime, please weigh in: are you dish-obsessed, a dish minimalist, or somewhere in between? What’s your best simple entertaining tip?
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