Planning fine dining on a budget

Carolyn Fertig


Sending out invitations might be time consuming and expensive. One way to send invitations without spending money is by using E-cards. These are electronic cards that you can design on the Internet. This saves trees, ensures that the person won’t lose the invitation, and it’s a little more personal than mass invitations through Facebook.

For traditionalists who prefer to mail invitations, make the cards yourself. Pick up a pack of colorful construction paper ($4 at Walmart) and decorate it. Just add postage.

Place settings

When it comes to place settings, there are many options; it depends on what you want your party to be like. If it’s a formal party, but you don’t have good plates to use, buying place settings from a store can be expensive. A good place to look for some plates is at a thrift store. Many people donate place settings when they get new ones. Just make sure to wash before using.


Centerpieces don’t have to be anything spectacular or expensive, but it’s a statement to guests. Arrangements of candles or a vase with items in it can be great, simple centerpieces.

Eat, drink and be merry

Food is the most important part of the dinner party, but it can be very costly. Keep in mind how many people are attending. Making too much food can be costly, and making too little food can be humiliating.

For the meal, pick food items that appeal to a number of people, are not too difficult to make and aren’t too expensive. Pasta is an easy and inexpensive meal item. Instead of just having plain spaghetti sauce, pick a variety of sauces. Marinara, alfredo and pesto sauces are options, and pre-made sauces can be found at your local grocery store. Rice, beans or vegetables are easy and quick side dishes.

Switching it up

If you don’t want to have a normal dinner party, you don’t have to. Themed parties are very popular on college campuses. This would involve your guests’ participation and is a fun spin of a traditional concept.

Remember, it’s your party, so make it your own, make it fun, and be yourself. This can make your dinner party a huge success.

Contact features correspondent Carolyn Fertig at [email protected].