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23 Awesome Ideas For Throwing Your First Dinner Party

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1. Learn how to make a proper cheese board that'll ruin your guests' appetites.

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2. Or hit up your local Trader Joe's to put together a charcuterie board for under $30.

It'll feed around 10 people! Check out the details here.

3. Erase the waste by using cute and reusable toothpicks to spear nibbles and garnish drinks.

Get a set from Amazon for $5.99.

4. Get the wine right so everyone will be happy.

5. Or make a big-batch cocktail so everyone gets drunk enough to enjoy the food.

No setting out buckets of drinks, no running back to the fridge.

You can make a pitcher of these strawberry gin smashes in less than 10 minutes. Get the recipe here.

6. If you don't have storage for pitchers or punch bowls, make one out of a watermelon or other gourd.

Get the tapping kit from Urban Outfitters for $20.

7. Create ambiance with LED corks that turn empty bottles into lamps.

Bonus: There's no candle fire hazard when you've had too much of the big-batch booze.

Get a set of four from Amazon for $19.99.

8. Keep your furniture looking nice by putting out coasters that your guests will actually want to use.

You can even say, "Use these cactus coasters, or I'll get prickly."

Get them from Asos for $5.50.

9. Instead of making a menu, identify dishes with dry-erase meal tags (the punnier, the better).

You can point out potential food allergens and save yourself from explaining what exactly is in the pasta salad for the umpteenth time.

Get a set from Amazon for $10.06.

10. Make sure you're serving the right amount of food so your guests leave full.

And you don't end up with a week's worth of leftovers.

11. Dish it up family-style on a platter that goes straight from fridge or oven to table.

Chill the platter in the fridge or heat it in the oven so your food stays at the temperature it's ~supposed~ to be at longer. Get it from Uncommon Goods or Amazon for $64.95.

You can also mix and match vintage platters so you don't have to worry about maintaining a full set of matching dishes.

12. And fill the platter with family style–friendly dishes.

This easy mushroom fontina flatbread with sage will make any party a pizza party. Get the recipe here.

13. Make cleanup a breeze by using disposable plates that actually look cool.

If you're not stressed out about cleaning up, your invitees will feel more at ease, too.

Get these fancy lace-edged ones from Amazon for $27.99 (for pack of 40).

Or even better, go green with these compostable plates made from fallen palm leaves.

They're even microwave safe and oven safe at up to 350 degrees.

Get them from Amazon for $21.50.

14. Upgrade super inexpensive wooden serving spoons by dipping them in paint.

Get a cheap set of six from Amazon for under $10, and check out the tutorial here.

15. Set out bargain brand napkins in an adorable dispenser for the convenience of your messy guesties.

This cheery pineapple (the symbol of hospitality) should do the trick.

Get it from Pottery Lodge on Etsy for $21.

16. Serve pre-portioned dessert ramekins so you don't have to leave the party to slice a cake.

Get a set of six from Amazon for $12.95.

Get the recipe for these salted caramel chocolate pots de crème here.

17. Or put out baked goods in advance on a DIY serving stand.


18. Add whimsical touches to traditional dinner party elements like place cards.

Get these nametag napkins from Fancy for $6.

19. Play a game that's a step between "adult conversation" and college-level drinking games.

Try the Voting Game, where you vote on which member of the party would be the most likely to do something printed on the cards.

Get it from Amazon for $25.

20. Don a cute apron that says, "I worked very hard for this food, so you best enjoy it."

Get it from Anthropologie for $28.

21. Check out a highly rated how-to-host book that will actually entertain YOU.

Get it from Amazon for $14.93 ($10.99 for Kindle).

22. Set out a guestbook so people can leave feedback (read: compliments).

Get it from Amazon for $6.89.

23. And take advice from Ina Garten, queen of actually having fun at her own parties.

And follow a recipe or two. Get the cookbook from Amazon for $22.30.



Bonus: here are a few more products that'll help turn you into a dinner party throwing wiz...