For the premiere of Scandal, it only made sense for me to host a "dinner party" for my girls before the show. I hosted it at my fiance's home, even though he didn't have much for me to work with. I went to storage (aka, grandma's basement) and picked up a table that I scored at moving sale for a store in the mall. I also picked up the crockpot trio from my parents (that I'm keeping until Thanksgiving) to cook the sides and keep them warm. I also stopped by Ikea to pick up some stemware, glass bowls and serving dishes. I had a few bottles of wine on hand, so I threw them in our wine holder.
We had such a great time! Lots of salmon, chicken and veggies to go around. I ended up spending about $150 for all of the food, wine and kitchenware. I learned to:
Find food that you can make ahead of time, then reheat the day of the party
Check out the ready-made section at Costco/Sam's Club.
Throw the food in the crockpot before work. Three dishes could have been cooking all day, cutting dinner time down.
Buy wine by the case, so you don't have to make a trip every time (and you'll have plenty for your party)