To celebrate all of the good things in life and because we were away for Thanksgiving in 2015, Cliff and I are hosting some friends for what we're calling a "Thanksgiving - Christmas - New Year - Birthday - Home warming - all-around-good time - book-signing extravaganza." Technically, it's a dinner party, but we're treating it as Thanksgiving in January.
Here's the catch: Cliff and I have 0 entertaining experience. We've never hosted a dinner party or Thanksgiving or an extravaganza of any kind before... but you gotta go big or go home, right?
Since this is our first time having guests over in a more formal setting, my goal is to make this party a success. I know that involves fancy drinks and decorations, but my knowledge of this kind of thing is so limited that I did what any sane, responsible 30-year-old woman would do: I frantically ran around my condo hyperventilating before attacking my computer. Google: HAAALP!!!!!
Turns out, people blog about this kind of stuff all the time (thank God!). I've been able to take some very helpful cues out of The Kitchn's playbook:
1. Guest List & Menu. After creating a guest list (which was a lot harder than it sounded, considering space is limited) I developed a menu using suggestions from The Kitchn to I go with what I know. So, the dinner will closely follow what we had for Thanksgiving two years ago, (last year we traveled to the Grand Canyon during Thanksgiving!) but with a few more items. I want to make sure friends with dietary restrictions get their fill, so most dishes are gluten free and there are plenty of vegetarian options.
apple walnut blue cheese salad
lemon rosemary grilled chicken
green beans almandine
brussels sprouts rice pilaf
twiced baked potato cups
apple pie a la mode
3. Theme & Decor. Ooof. Even though I'm a creative person, this is where I really struggle. Decorating isn't my forte, and themes--what's that? Given this is my first go 'round, I figured I'd keep in simple with winter theme (cause it's January!) I plan on re-purposing old vases and filling them with white carnations for center pieces.
4. Odds & Ends. This is the fun part, mostly because I love shopping! We are on a budget, so I wont be doing that much shopping, but there are a few things we need for this dinner party, including an extra serving platter or dish, table coverings and a large drinkware container for those aforementioned cocktails. For these items, I'll be turning to two of my favorite home good stores, Wayfair and Marshalls!