How to Host the Un-Dinner Party

You’ve been wearing the same thing all day. You don’t go to the store, you don’t even touch up your makeup. With two hours in between work and dinner, is it possible to have people over and enjoy it? You use what’s in the pantry and fridge. You choose to not sit around the table alone, but instead invite others into a simple meal. It’s just that-simple. No flowers or foraging. Not even thirty minutes to clean the house. Life won’t be perfect or the most amazing magazine spread all the time.

Meet the un-dinner party.

It brings people together and allows for friends to come over without putting a serious strain on your time or wallet.

It’s stupidly simple, but exercises great restraint.
You might not be able to make a meal from scratch for the un-dinner party. Don’t let it stop you. Who said everything had to be homemade to make it work? It might mean wine, cheese, bread, and a few friends. Or a game night with popcorn from the stove. Maybe it’s a pot of chili before walking to a football game. Simplicity is the key. This isn’t Christmas, Thanksgiving, Kinfolk, or Pinterest. It’s real life.

Begin by letting others help you, whether by bringing bread, wine, or dessert.
The only way the un-dinner party works is being willing to accept help. Do it and make your life simple. When someone offers to bring something, let them.

Gather a delicious meal from your pantry, freezer, and fridge. For us it meant, a grilled shrimp antipasto platter. (All made with items from the fridge.)

Because we all gather in the kitchen, let your friends help you while you’re prepping the meal. The meal doesn’t have to be complete when people arrive. It’s probably best that it isn’t. Now breathe. Find the full recipe for the grilled antipasto platter here.

You set the tone.
Have you ever planned an event and been so stressed out you couldn’t slow down and enjoy the company around you? I think that’s my favorite part of the un-dinner party. It allows us grace for ourselves, our imperfections, and allows others into this space of our lives. It might not show up on a curated feed, but it will be just right. Set the tone by putting on your favorite tunes. That Johnnyswim, Bon Iver, or Mason Bates album you’ve been loving lately? Open up Spotify and have a dance party while drinking and cooking together.

Have a great outdoor space, let people chill out while you grill or cook together. 

Around here fall is the perfect time to finally enjoy being outside. Our evening temps don’t get much colder than 60 degrees. With a charcoal grill going, string lights hung above, and a few candles lit, we love being outside and gives more spots for people to hang out while having a smaller kitchen.

All it takes is an invite.

It’s simple, but allows you to ask people over without an occasion in mind. What begins as an invite becomes more. It’s the shared moments, depth of connection, the conversations that fill our days, and the lack of perfection that makes this approachable. It’s the version of “family dinner” that our childhood days knew so well, but as a single person our lives greatly lack. Invite people into your home, celebrate life, and keep part of it for solely you (that’s right experience it rather than capture it). Gather around the common table and the un-party. Our barbecue is waiting for you.

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