Congrats! You’re married! [Long pause] Now what?! Here was my story…can you identify?

We spent months planning, preparing + spending thousands on our special day! And it was everything PERFECT! Then we went on our honeymoon + that was glorious + we returned back to MN on a total high/wedded bliss! We settled back into our work routines, made a house our home + adjusted to married life. And then if I was honest, I went through a ‘wedding postpartum’ [is this a thing?]. What’s next? Wedding planning was stressful + fun but crazy. We have all these wonderful, thoughtful wedding gifts. And I asked myself one question… “What can I plan next?” #relatable to anyone? Sound familiar?

As we approach the holidays, my guess is you will be gathering with close friends + family + enjoying the best of the best meals. Maybe you are even hosting your first Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. If you’re feeling like the itch like I did to plan something unique but petite in size [by no means a wedding size], than keep reading! We have a fun idea for you!

Two words. Dinner party. Think small, simple + stunning. Think community, conversation + cocktails. With the Christmas season around the corner, why not invite 2-3 new couples over for a small dinner party? We see this as the perfect opportunity to get to know other newly engaged or married couples, breakout that wedding china you may not ever use again, create an [easy] dinner menu + focus on what is truly important this season.

Let us help you! Here are some simple steps + tips to follow to ensure that you + your new husband are able to host the most perfect dinner party!

1) USE WHAT YOU HAVE. So you have all these gifts you received for your wedding. This is the perfect opportunity to use them! Set a pretty table with all the fun pieces…salad fork, dinner fork, spoon + knife; chargers, placemats, dishes + REAL napkins. This doesn’t have to be complicated. See the example below for a pretty place setting perfect for the holiday!

2) CENTERPIECES. Again, this does not have to be stressful! We love Trader Joe’s…and this season they have the BEST greenery/florals for you to use for garland and/or centerpiece for your tablescape. Use a variety of greenery/textures - like evergreen + eucalyptus - add some red hypericum berries for a pop of color. Have any left over votives from your wedding centerpieces? Break those babies out + layer throughout your greenery. Have other festive, Christmas decor? Layer those in as well! As we learned from tip #1 simply use what you have. See below!

3) MENU. Think outside of the box. Not every Christmas meal needs to include ham, mashed potatoes + green bean casserole. But if yours does, awesome! To make this easy, we suggest you, as the host provide the main dish + have your guests bring sides. Allow them to be creative + bring their faves. Not only does this remove stress from your plate but it helps to create conversation. You’ll be surprised at how fun this turns out when your friends arrive with a yummy pomegranate + goat cheese salad or a twist on the infamous green bean almandine. Generally people ALWAYS want to help by bringing something. So why not make it easy + delegate the various courses! But of course, if you prefer to make the entire meal, here is one of our go to holiday meals/recipes that is sure to wow! Click here.

4) CONVERSATION STARTERS. Pretend you are having new friends over. What do you say? How can you create intentional conversation? We have some helpful questions to get anyone chatting around the dinner table. Start here with these chat packs ;)

5) FOCUS ON FELLOWSHIP. After all, isn’t this one of the main reasons why you are hosting a mini dinner party? Make decisions that will make this evening less stressful. For example, if baking is a stressor, buy the Harvest Cheesecake from Costco. If you don’t like the idea of salad, sides + a main dish, do an after dinner soirée with a cheese platter + cocktails. Or scrap the whole idea + order from your fave Chinese take-out place using paper plates + chopsticks! No shame in this! Whatever you need to do to keep things simple, focused on community + giving thanks for what is truly meaningful. FRIENDSHIPS! Who knows…maybe it will become a tradition!

Happy planning + Merry Christmas!