How to Throw a Dinner Party Like a Real Adult

When you’re in your early 20s, your idea of a dinner party typically involves something like ordering pizza and inviting your girlfriends over for The Bachelor—and there’s nothing wrong with that! But as you move into your late 20s and 30s, you realize there’s almost no greater pleasure in life than hosting a truly grownup, elevated dinner party. At this next stage in life, most of your friends are busy with full-fledged careers, and perhaps they are starting families or becoming puppy parents too. It’s harder than it used to be to get everyone together in one place, but nothing does the trick like an invitation to an elegant yet comfortable dinner party with a multi-course menu. With that in mind, today we are sharing a beautiful dinner party designed by Tasteful Tatters and photographed by Anna Delores Photography. Oh, and did we mention there’s a full menu of recipes from chef Marlene Bernstein?

Scroll though to see the gorgeous photos and delicious recipes, plus a few expert tips for throwing a dinner party in your 30s…

Three Grownup Dinner Party Tips

  1. Bring a host/hostess gift. This isn’t your BYOB party right out of college. A lot of planning and effort went into this dinner, so show some appreciation by bringing an indoor fern for the green thumb, an incredible bottle of wine for the wine connoisseur in your life, or some artisan bitters for the friend who loves crafting new cocktails.
  2. Serve the meal in courses, not family style. A coursed out menu gives an air of elegance. Conversation also flows better when you aren’t constantly having to ask someone to pass the salad.
  3. Make a seating chart. There’s nothing officially wrong with the free-for-all seating plan. But taking this extra step and strategically placing certain guests next to each other can help conversation flow in the most optimal way possible and even spark a lifelong friendship between two people you know will get along.

Vanilla Bean Lavender Whiskey

Serves 1

Vanilla Bean Lavender Whiskey

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. pour (or 2 shots) whiskey (we used Johnnie Walker Red Label)
  • 4 Tbsp. simple syrup (see recipe for homemade simple syrup below)
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice, fresh squeezed
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • orange rind

Vanilla Bean Lavender Whiskey

Instructions:

  1. Mix together the whiskey, orange juice, simple syrup and cinnamon.
  2. Serve over ice, and garnish with orange rind.

Lavender and Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of lavender

Combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and lavender in a saucepan and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Brown Buttered Scallops with Shishito Tomatillo Salsa

Serves 6

Brown Buttered Scallops with Shishito Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa Ingredients:

  • 2 large tomatillos
  • ½ cup roasted shishito peppers
  • ½ onion, medium chop
  • ¾ cup cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 pinches of salt

Scallops Ingredients:

  • 6 large scallops
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt, as needed

Brown Buttered Scallops with Shishito Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Remove the husk of the tomatillos.
  2. Place the tomatillos and shishito peppers on a baking sheet underneath the broiler and cook until the skin looks slightly charred.
  3. Cool down, then place in the blender with cilantro, jalapeno, onion, garlic, water and salt. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.

Seared Scallops Instructions:

  1. Heat oil and butter in pan. Stir the oil butter mixture over medium high heat until it begins to turn golden brown.
  2. Pat scallops dry, season with salt, and add to pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove from heat and plate over the tomatillo salsa. Garnish with fresh cilantro or chives. Serve immediately.

Blood Orange, Treviso and Goat Cheese Salad

Serves 6

Blood Orange, Treviso and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 blood oranges
  • 4 heads treviso
  • 6 Tbsp. goat cheese
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Blood Orange, Treviso and Goat Cheese Salad

Instructions:

  1. Tear the Treviso from the stem, layering the leaves into each bowl.
  2. Segment the oranges, using one per bowl.
  3. Using a fork, crumble one tablespoon of goat cheese on to each salad.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Acai Dessert Bowl

Acai Dessert Bowl

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 packet acai powder (100 grams)
  • 1 bag frozen mixed berries
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey or agave
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 young coconut, scoop out the meat and the water

Suggested Toppings:

  • strawberries, sliced
  • blueberries
  • kiwi, sliced
  • banana, sliced
  • hemp seeds
  • dark chocolate chunks

Acai Dessert Bowl

Instructions:

  1. Combine the acai packet, frozen fruit, honey or agave, coconut water and meat, and vanilla extract in the blender. Pulse until smooth. It should have a slightly thicker consistency than your traditional smoothie.
  2. Spoon acai mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings. We added strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, banana, dark chocolate and hemp seeds to ours, but feel free to use your favorite ingredients.

How to throw an adult dinner party by LaurenConrad.com

A gorgeous dinner set up for a girls night in

How to throw a dinner party like an adult {we'll cheers to that}

How delicious does all of the food look?

Have you ever thrown a dinner party all on your own?

Share your own tips and favorite recipes in the comments below.

XO Team LC

Photos: Anna Delores Photography, Recipes: Chef Marlene Bernstein, Design: Tasteful Tatters, Table: Circa Vintage Rentals
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