I remember when I was nine years old I told my Mom I wanted to have a dinner party. I asked if she could invite some people over and I would do the rest. I spent a good amount of time setting the table, cleaning the house, and adding all the little details I could think of. I don’t recall what we did for food, and I don’t think anyone other than our family came, but I did really enjoying the whole process and couldn’t wait until I had my own house so I could do it all the time. Ok, I will admit I was a strange nine-year-old. =)
Since we have been married I’ve estimated Suzy and I have had over 350 different people a year over to our house. The only downside is that most of those people came for parties, church events, workshops and portrait things. They’ve all been fun, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of awesome people. But only a handful of those events were small dinners or one-on-one scenarios that facilitated enough time to sit down and have a real extended conversation with any one person. It hit me recently that I could solve that problem by reviving the old tradition of having a dinner for eight.
I love going to Starbucks, and there are few things more fun to me than a coffee meet up with a friend. But there is something about having someone over to your home the makes you vulnerable, real, and invites extended friendships. A coffee shop or restaurant is a great place to meet, but I feel like if I ONLY do that I can sometimes throw off an unintentional vibe that says “I don’t want you to know about my real life”. Having people over breaks away from that and says “I’m real!”
So here’s the advantages:
– You get to spend an extended more in depth time with a smaller group of people.
– Your guests get to meet and make contacts with new people.
– Your guests get a free meal.
– It’s a great excuse to decorate your house.
– It’s a good reason to do some deep cleaning every so often.
– It’s INCREDIBLY fun!
All said we decided to jump in and do it! Thanks so much those of you who came! I hope to have many more! For those of you who are thinking of doing your own dinner party I put A LOT of details at the bottom with my sources for everything involved. I hope you enjoy the photos & tips, and would love to hear ideas for future dinners!
Here’s a little info on all my sources.
Sheer Curtains and Table Clothes: Downtown LA Fabric district has sheer for $1 a yard, and the table clothe, and chair covers were $2 a yard. I ripped all the shear into 8 inch wide by 12 foot long strips and then screwed twine to the ceiling in a square around the table. I then hung and knotted the shear.
Dinnerware: Each piece of silverware was a different antique style, and can be found at Fishy Finds in Simi. I spent a good deal of time looking through boxes of silverware to find a lot of unique individual pieces that all looked cool. The plates, cups, wine glasses, and water carafes are from various Goodwill Stores. Goodwill usually has the widest range of dishes for cheap. We spent some time making sure everyone had a unique wine glass as well.
Table Decorations: The candle holders, books, and some of the cameras, and the vintage twine I hung the sheer from is all also from Fishy Finds! See my blog on it, the place is incredible. The paper flowers were made from book pages and there is a tutorial on the Tasteful Tatters blog on how to make them… Suzy put a bobby pin in the back of hers and wore one in her hair as well! The name tags were made using a little stamp kit we got from Michael’s which has all the letters from the alphabet. I think it was under $5.
Chandelier: The chandelier is from a thrift store called “Collectible Thrift” 7118 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. Other than Fishy Finds, Collectible Thrift has the best deals on all the coolest things, a great place for chandeliers, lamps, picture frames, and some bedroom furniture at unbelievably good prices. Although I wasn’t sure if they existed at first, I eventually found 11 watt light bulbs at Home Depot. I LOVE the soft light.
Meal: Most of the food was from Trader Joes, but the best place to get Jarritos Soda is at Food4Less. It’s only .58 cents a bottle! I love that stuff, and it’s so bright it makes great photos.
I hope the ideas help and are some inspiration as your create your down dinner parties! Feel free to Pinterest the photos!