There’s nothing quite like sharing good food with good company to help us unwind and lift the spirits — especially after a long week. Hosting dinner parties doesn’t have to be expensive, either. If you’re on a budget and trying to get the most out of your money, there are plenty of ways you can put on an impressive spread without breaking the bank.
Here to give some inspiration, ceramics and homeware brand Denby share their top tips on perfecting the art of smart and cost-effective dinner parties.
Serving up in style
When it comes to simple, cost-efficient hosting, one-pot dishes are your best friend. Not only do they mean less washing up at the end of the night, but investing in some staple pieces of cast-iron cookware means that you can cook, serve, and store leftovers all in the same vessel. This is perfect for wholesome dishes like a sweet potato and bean cassoulet, a spiced Moroccan tagine, or a classic Sunday roast. Cast-iron dishes are also great for desserts like blackberry crumble, so you can end your evening with something sweet and satisfying.
Once you’ve cooked your delicious one-pot recipe, present it on a serving board or placemat to protect your table from the heat and let your guests tuck in. This is a great way to make your dinner party feel more relaxed and informal, and each guest having control over their own portions means that there should be less wasted food (as well as providing the option to go in for seconds!). Cooking hearty recipes in large batches can help you use up fresh produce before it goes out of date, meaning you can get the most out of your weekly shop and keep leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
Getting creative with presentation
Hosting a dinner party doesn’t mean you have to splash out on new décor or homeware every time. Not only is this not very cost-effective, but it’s much more sustainable to invest in versatile pieces and just get creative with how you use them. Below are some of our favourite ways to liven up your table without it costing the earth.
If you’re planning a coffee morning or afternoon tea, you don’t have to go out and buy a cake stand to achieve beautiful presentation. Instead, you can make your own DIY cake stand from homeware you already have waiting in your cupboards.
Start by choosing your favourite ceramic bowl and plate, preferably ones that match or compliment the colour palette of your tablecloth and the rest of your dinnerware. Opt for a small cereal bowl and turn it upside down, setting it at the centre of your table. Gently lay a plate on top of the upturned bowl, and you’ll have your own ceramic cake stand in seconds!
To continue the afternoon tea theme but add a fun twist, you can always try serving up some seasonal cocktails in your favourite teapot. You might want to make the most of the teapot’s insulation by making a round of warm cocktails, such as mulled apple cider or a homemade hot chocolate with a few shots of rum or cream liqueur inside. This way your guests can enjoy them in a cup and saucer set that matches the teapot. If you want to stick to classic cold cocktails, you can still serve a round of long drinks such as a sloe gin fizz by pouring them from the teapot into your favourite glass or crystal tumblers. If you’re keeping things simple with a jug of water for the table (for example, if your guests don’t drink or are bringing their own alcohol), you can spruce it up for next to nothing by adding slices of lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves for a pop of flavour.
Using what you already have in your kitchen to decorate your table is a simple yet very effective way to make the most of what you own. Not only this but getting creative with your existing homeware can create a unique look that your guests are sure to appreciate. One way to do this is by using a pottery jug to display flowers instead of a glass vase, to give your dinner table a rustic, farmhouse feel and add a little personality to your décor. Similarly, you could add an extra touch of class to the table by filling your favourite statement ceramics with scented potpourri.
Another great way to decorate on a budget is with bouquets of dried flowers, as these can last up to a year if cared for properly. Rather than fresh flowers that last on average for a week to ten days, opting for dried varieties can help you bring a pop of colour and beauty to your dining table while saving money too. Just be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight and excessive heat, and you can enjoy these dried blooms for much longer than regular flowers.
Established in 1809, Denby is a leading British homeware brand that specialises in ceramics, kitchen décor, and glassware. From handmade pottery to cast iron kitchenware, Denby pride themselves on their high-quality products that are stylish enough for your best occasions, but versatile enough to use every day.
For more information, visit https://www.denbypottery.com/