12 ways to make your dinner party chic without spending too much


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With supply chain chaos, rising inflation and an on-going pandemic, those eager to decorate hallways this holiday season may find themselves facing financial challenges. In an age when spending isn’t just encouraged – but expected – it may be difficult to stick to a budget and always feel like you’ve made the most of the Christmas period. Those hosting vacation dinners may feel especially pressured to put on a decadent show and go the extra mile to make sure everything is perfect, even if it requires additional expense.

But you don’t have to break the bank to host your own banquet. There are plenty of ways to make your vacation dinner party chic without spending too much. GOBankingRates consulted experts for their top tips and tricks for throwing a dinner party so festive and opulent that your guests may think you spent double what you did.

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Shop at stores like Aldi and Trader Joe’s

“You might not think it’s possible, but you can buy tasty appetizers for less at these stores,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews. “For example, Aldi regularly offers baked brie kits each holiday season that include a round of brie, a stoneware dish to bake it and a garnish – usually honey and pecans, or cranberry frosting for. about $ 6 to $ 7. It’s about 10oz in total, so that probably won’t be enough on its own, but if you add it to a spread, it’s a stylish appetizer that won’t cost a fortune.

Likewise, if you want to make a deli board, Ramhold suggests heading to Trader Joe’s, where you can pick up a few packets of meats of three types each for under $ 10 a piece.

“It might sound expensive, but these boards are meant for grazing, so a little bit goes a long way,” Ramhold said. “Fill your board with your favorite cheeses, then add fruit like grapes. Take a baguette and cut it into small rounds, toast and lay them on the board with a little jar of honey or fancy jam and it will be a nice spread to tide your guests out on the way to dinner.

Create mood lighting with candles

“A good atmosphere is created by good lighting,” said one lifestyle expert Shakir Malik. “Dim the lights and light a few candles to set the mood. In the middle of your table, arrange the candles to serve as centerpieces. Concerned about open flames? Choose flameless candles.

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Skip individual cocktails

“Sure, having a ton of different spirits on hand can make a lively party and cater for a variety of tastes, but it can also get pricey quickly,” Ramhold said. “Rather than offering a range of spirits and mixtures to your guests, adopt the punch bowl. You can make fortified sangrias or ciders easily and for a fraction of the cost of having each make their own drink all night long (especially if they have a heavy hand when pouring).

Ramhold noted that you can also use a slow cooker to go down the route of hot drinks, like Kahlua-fortified hot chocolate.

“You will also be able to control alcohol this way and make sure things don’t get too loud as the night goes on,” Ramhold said. “Serve your concoction in stylish mugs or glasses, and no one will think twice about you all drinking the same thing.” “

Get tumblers in the dollar store

“I often ask my 6 year olds to drink their water from fancy cups (we paid them a dollar at a thrift store),” said Monique SoltanI, journalist and wine pro. “We set the whole table as if we were serving royalty. The food can be fries, but it feels like dining in a palace depending on the presentation.

Use hand-picked flowers for table decoration and cloth napkins

“Picking flowers in the front yard and making them centerpieces is free and fun,” Soltani said, adding that the cloth napkins made all the difference in the world.

Dress frozen foods

“Don’t hesitate to buy frozen items, like a turkey and frozen vegetables – once thawed it’s like the real deal,” said Michelle Keldgord, co-founder, CookingHow. “Just be sure to brighten it up a bit. For example, I cook my turkey in a slow cooker with a mixture of onion soup and a pinch of water. I will steam the vegetables and soak them. in butter, Parmesan and garlic powder.

Make prosecco floats for dessert

“Prosecco floats are a simple dessert that requires very little preparation,” said Malik. “A bottle of Prosecco and a pint of sorbet is enough. Make your own sorbet, if you’re feeling particularly fancy. When you want to really wow your friends, use a shaker to make whipped cream. You will look great doing this compared to using an electric mixer.

Keep the menu simple

“Be as simple as possible and choose a few appetizers, especially if you are making something like appetizers, as they can take a long time to prepare,” Ramhold said. “So go for a simple main course – turkey and ham are popular this time of year, but a roast chicken is also a good option, or you can even think outside the box and do something outside of the box. your comfort zone.

Make appetizers only

“Another idea is to make quite a dinner of appetizers,” said Seb Evans, co-founder of Banker. “Instead of preparing a traditional three-course meal which can be pricey, make hearty appetizers instead. Make sure you have a variety of meat and vegetarian options, but keep it fun. The appetizers are sometimes the best part, so serve up some unique options.

Find ways to get a free turkey

If you go for the traditional main course and serve a turkey, be sure to take advantage of discounts, coupons, and maybe even a free bird.

“If you spend $ 300 at ShopRite with a Price Plus card before November 25, you’ll receive a free turkey up to £ 21,” said Maria Juvakka, Founder of Chic pursuit. “Likewise, if you spend $ 100 on certain products at BJ’s, you can get a free Butterball turkey. The opportunities are there, you just need to dig a little deeper. “

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Save money

“To save a lot of money when hosting dinner parties, I take advantage of thrift stores,” said Nora Mitchell, editor-in-chief of Household tips. “They often have unique vintage items that I can reuse and feel good to use because I don’t contribute single-use plastics that end up in landfills.”

Mitchell added that by saving, she has found some very rare pieces that always receive compliments.

Keep your guest list small

“It’s the easiest way to bring your vision to life without spending a fortune. By keeping your guest list small, you’ll be able to afford some splurge without feeling like you’re sacrificing your entire plan just to stay on budget, ”Ramhold said. “Besides cutting costs, you can spend more time with your guests if you host 8-10 people (or even less) rather than double, which can end up harassing you and leaving you with little time to visit or have fun.” -you well.”

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor and author based in Los Angeles, Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, The Atlantic, Vice and The New Yorker. She is a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, “Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray,” received rave reviews from Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and has been published in the US, UK, France and Russia – well let no one know what happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.


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