We hosted our first major dinner party this past Saturday in the form of Friendmas. It was a whirlwind that led up to it as I picked up our new puppy Huxley just the day before. I am so excited to share the details and some pictures here because the party went off without a hitch and we had a great time hosting friends and family.
Format: Potluck dinner with plenty of booze. We used Paperless Post to distribute invitations and asked each guest to write on the event page what dish and drink they would bring. We started at four so people could trickle in and dinner would start around 5:30 or 6.
Apartment prep: This was huge and took the most planning as we needed to comfortably accommodate 12.
Map it out: We drew floor plans and used post it furniture to consider where plastic folding tables would go and how seating would be arranged.
Get handy: We booked a Handy at-home cleaning the weekend before for a thorough sprucing. At $29 for a 2 hour session, it was totally worth it for us to be able to spend our time on other aspects of planning.
Set up: We borrowed folding tables and chairs from both of our parents, took scrap fabric from Kev's aunt to use as table cloths, and covered the plastic long tables with Kraft paper from my giant roll that comes in so handy for life.
We opened the windows to temperature regulate early in the day and lit a scented candle in the morning.
Food & Drink: Potlucks are awesome when everyone gets into it and make and bring dishes they're proud of. We had amazing contributions such as homemade eggnog, polenta with stew, pasta with clams, lasagna, tuna poke, brussels sprouts with pomegranates, and home made Chinese dishes.
For our part, we wanted to make sure we suppled enough drinks and a few missing dishes to complement all the goodness. Kev made a delicious flank steak, I made an apple-cheddar bread, and we also made the spicy rabe (from Parm) that we love.
We gave each guest a gold champagne bottle with their name on it and a little bow. They were chilled on the fire escape since luckily, that particular night was seasonal (70 degree forecast for Christmas!) We also set up our marble table with plenty of festive wines.
Decorations: We moved in last year around this time and so didn't get the chance to decorate for the season with all the fuss of getting settled. This year we had our Christmas tree up in the first week of November and, by my meager standards, really went all out. We also DIY'ed big and small, making several things.
Lights: Of course! Our living room doesn't have ceiling lighting and we did a few things to help the lamps: strung our tree with 600 string lights and a lit star and also wrapped string lights around our bar cart.
Kev learned how to work a pompom maker like a champ and pumped out enough pompom a for me to string a garland over the entranceway to the living room.
With a bag of 36 ribbon bows we picked up from a 99 cent store, we made a box wreath by sticking them on the wall over our bar cart. They needed a little adhesive help but luckily we had white painters tape which blended in well with the wall.
We foraged a bit too! One of the houses in our neighborhood has a tree on its front lawn that drop miniature pine cones. I picked a couple of clusters up and strung them up/placed them down around the place.
All in all, it was a fun and happy night. So glad we decided to host this party and maybe this is the start of a new Forest Hills tradition!