When you think entertaining, it’s easy to imagine hours spent slaving away in the kitchen to create the finest of buffets to impress friends. But who says entertaining shouldn’t be easy or inexpensive? Here are some creative and fun entertaining ideas that won’t break your back or your budget.
A backyard barbeque is the quintessential way to embrace low budget entertaining in a really casual way. It’s a relaxed way to spend an afternoon or evening with minimal preparation or cost. Most people expect to bring something to barbeques so encourage them to do just that. One friend brings the sausages, another the meat, someone else the bread and you provide the salads. And don’t forget the drinks! These days, backyard barbeques aren’t restricted to meat, so check out the websites of barbeque experts such as BBQ Galore for the latest products, ideas and recipes.
Have some fun with your entertaining by embracing a theme. This doesn’t mean going to great expense either. Pop down to your local op shop for extra supplies and decorate to your theme from there. Themes could include Mexican night featuring enchiladas or tacos, a Great Gatsby inspired cocktail party, or really have fun with a hillbilly theme featuring mismatched plates, jars as glasses and an easy-to-make stew for the main course.
Progressive Dinner Party
Huge in the 1970s, progressive dinner parties are a fun way to share the entertaining load, particularly with friends in your neighbourhood. A progressive dinner party means drinks and appetisers are served at one house before moving onto the next house for entrees and shifting again for mains and then desserts. It’s a truly intriguing way to spend an evening, relocating from house to house and enjoying different cooking styles and dishes along the way.
Step Back in Time
While we’re in the 1970s, why not really step back in time for an evening, encouraging your friends to leaf back through their mother’s or grandmother’s recipe books and bring a dish from the past. Old recipes are great for using few ingredients to maximum effect, and there’s often a story behind them. You can complete the theme by hauling out hand-me down tablecloths and doilies or pulling out those inherited old wares from the past.
It’s just like a backyard barbeque, but without the cooking. Have everyone create a cold dish and come on over for a picnic. Whether you choose to eat at your table or on rugs in the backyard, this is a great way to enjoy relaxed company among friends. Again, the entertaining load and expense is shared and it’s always fabulous to taste new dishes and find out where they come from.
With so many cooking shows now on TV, it’s easy to think entertaining is an arduous affair with the distinct possibility of harsh criticism at the end. But, in reality, great hospitality is more about creating an environment where everyone’s part of the process and the result, and the event is relaxed for all involved.