3 Tips For Making A Dinner Party Feel Special

Palm Springs Birthday Dinner

Last September I met my girlfriends in sunny Palm Springs to celebrate our friend Lily’s 30th Birthday! There are few things in life more relaxing than a weekend getaway with your girlfriends, and this mini reunion lived up to every expectation. One of my favorite parts was the special birthday dinner we planned that didn’t even require us to leave home!

Knowing that we would all want to spend as much time together as we could, we opted for a catered dinner party at the house mansion we were staying at. Instead of going out on the town, we found a chef who would come to the house and cook for us! In hindsight, this turned out to be really perfect considering our overly ambitious energy the night before. Kristen, so many props to you for the brilliant idea!

The weekend was filled with super adorable and thoughtful ideas that everyone contributed. Think floral crowns, unicorn floats, flamingo drink holders, and personalized tattoos and lollipops. I {of course!} assumed responsibility for the paper goods and decided that every birthday dinner prepared by a private chef, deserved proper place settings. It’s really amazing what a little menu, place card and glow sticks can do to make a dinner table feel official.

As a kid I loved setting the dinner table and it was not uncommon for each place setting to have personalized place cards and folded napkins (my mom taught me some fun techniques from her restaurant days!). My parents totally played along with it and I’m pretty sure this is where my love for hosting began. I’ve always enjoyed entertaining, and I love adding special touches for people to enjoy. You can do it, too! 

Consider these three things when planning your next dinner party, and you’ll be sure to make your guests feel extra special.

  1. PLACE CARDS Because who doesn’t love to see their name written out in pretty lettering? And it’s by far the most personal touch. Digital or handwritten-you can’t go wrong.
  2. MENUS These can be very simple and go a long way in terms of making a sit down meal feel fancy. You don’t even need a design program to do it. Just open up any basic word document, type out the entire menu first and then go back to format. I suggest centering the copy, and making the MENU text a bit larger than the rest. Then bold the sub-titles and italicize the descriptions. You can add a fun header like I did, and a cute closing phrase at the bottom. WA-LA!
  3. FUN MEMENTO This doesn’t have to be any over the top. A lollipop, piece of chocolate, maybe even a pretty pencil. I like to think of things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves. I opted for glow sticks this time. Fun, right? They were $3 for a tube of 20-ish found in that fun affordable section of Target.

These things take time, and I realize not everyone enjoys doing it as much as I do. That’s OK! But if it is your thing, give it a try. I promise your guests will appreciate the effort.

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Girl talk, endless laughing and lots of cocktails; these ladies sure know how to have a good time. Until next time Palm Springs…

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Big thanks to Emily for the images!

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