Three Fun Alternatives to a Dinner Party

Now don't get me wrong, I love a great dinner party.  In fact, I threw one just earlier this week - it was southern themed.  We had twenty one different types of Southern dishes, mint juleps and a bluegrass band.  It was lovely and most importantly, our guests had fun!  But sometimes dinner parties can be restricting.

Dinner parties fall during the same time of day and most commonly on the weekends when caterers or any other event vendors (bands, florists, etc.) are going to charge the most.  They also require a great deal of preparation to provide a satisfactory amount of food for a real dinner for your guests.  Then there's cost of alcohol and probably some dessert... it can add up, in money and stress.  Now I'm not advising abandoning dinner parties altogether, but I wanted to talk about some of the fun alternatives so you don't feel so stuck.

The delicious selection from my Valentine's Day shoot. 

The delicious selection from my Valentine's Day shoot. 

1. Dessert Party
A dessert party is perfect if you'd still like to host an evening event but would like less of the stress of a typical dinner party.  You only need to provide enough dessert for everybody and you can have fun with putting together a beautiful spread.  The dessert table I put together for my Valentine's Day shoot (if you didn't catch that post, check it out here) is a perfect example.  I got to pick out lots of fun varieties of desserts, a signature cocktail involving Veuve Cliquot Rose and voila - a dessert party was born!

Image via  Lia Griffith

Image via Lia Griffith

2. Tea Party
Now a tea party doesn't have to be a throwback to little girls playing dress up, nor to a stuffy English tea room.  I lived in London for a while and still drink tea almost everyday, but I rarely sit down for high tea as it is properly served.  Tea parties are a great event for an afternoon get together.  You don't have to limit yourself to just serving tea - as shown in the photo above, cocktails are also acceptable!  Tea Parties are a fun opportunity to incorporate bright colors and festive flowers - perfect for the dawn of Spring we are experiencing right now.  Food can be limited to little sandwiches and pastries - much more manageable than a full blown dinner party, but if making all those little things is still too much pressure, they are very easily purchased.  Of course tea parties are also perfect for children's birthday parties as well, but we can't let the kids have all the fun!


Who doesn't love mimosas? And with a variety of adorable offerings...I'm in love! Image via  Design Love Fest

Who doesn't love mimosas? And with a variety of adorable offerings...I'm in love!
Image via Design Love Fest

3. Brunch Party
Why not throw a party in the morning?  Not many people will have thought of it, not to mention that brunch food is some of the most soul-satisfying food out there.  You can get creative and really show off your party planning chops with any variety of "bar" offerings - Mimosa Bar (as above), Bloody Mary Bar, Waffle Bar?  There are some great ideas in this article (and I'm not usually a Buzzfeed reader, but I found it on Pinterest), but basically with this event, anything goes!  As much fun as mimosas or bloody marys are, you can also easily cut costs by making the event alcohol free and focusing on the parfaits or waffles or granola options. Have fun with it!