We are kicking off an entertaining series with the ladies of ooh! events about entertaining at every age. These ladies, experts in their field, give tips on brilliant styled tables, partying on a budget, and how to use those great items around the house. We’ll start with the youngsters! Photographs by Brandon Lata
By Cayleigh Hopkins
Although I was born and raised in the Midwest, I like to say I am a Southerner at heart. And being a Southerner comes with a knack for planning and producing beautiful dinner parties. As a young professional living on a young professional’s budget, I like to keep things inexpensive without sacrificing style or pizazz.
Be resourceful: It’s as simple as using what you already have in your house. Mismatching items is trendy these days, so take advantage. Most people in their twenties rarely have complete sets of anything! The key is to have fun with it and not stress about small details. Trust me, anyone at this age is just excited to attend a party that isn’t set at a college bar!
Get crafty: A dinner party is the perfect opportunity to be creative. Pull out the craft paper, and use it as your table cloth. Not only does it look great, but it is a fun place to label the appetizers you’re serving or to jot a quick welcome note to your guests. Pick up some flowers at your local grocery store, and create your own arrangements. Don’t stress if you don’t own a vase—use what you have. Mason jars or coffee mugs make adorable flower containers. As for napkins, go to a fabric store, choose a print that matches the theme of your soirée, and cut them yourself. It’s a cheap purchase that can really tie a party together!
Divide and conquer: Just because you’re playing hostess, doesn’t mean you have to provide everything. Get your friends involved, and encourage everyone to contribute. I love hosting wine parties where each person brings a bottle of wine, removes the label, and places a number on the top. The result is a fun little wine tasting. I’ll offer a couple of appetizers, but also assign each friend to bring a favorite dish to share. People like to feel included!
Stay thrifty: If there’s one thing that’s important about your twenties, it’s sticking to your budget (which is hard). Don’t feel like you need to go over the top – you can save that for another decade! Keep things in balance by using items you own and spending money in areas that make sense. The most important part of entertaining is having fun and creating memories, which happens with or without fine china!