9 Steps to Hosting an Intimate {at home} Birthday Dinner

9 Steps to Hosting an Intimate {at home} Birthday Dinner

I’m showing you how to host an {at home} birthday dinner complete with a full dinner menu, fun cocktail, party games, and pretty tablescape. With these tips & tricks, you’ll be on your way to hosting the BEST adult birthday party!

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summer dinner party tablescape

Ever stumped on how to celebrate your friends and families birthday? Like… you know they don’t want a crazy night out on the town, but you also don’t want to sit at home (like every other night).

When we have a friend or family member celebrating their birthday, we oftentimes overlook hosting a fun (and elegant) birthday dinner party all within the comfort of our homes. Forget that restaurant who sings the cheesy happy birthday song. This year, we’re planning an unforgettable adult birthday night at home!

Planning a birthday party can be super fun, but also super stressful. I’m here today to help take away the stress so all you’re left with is the fun! Follow my step by step guide and you’ll be on your way to hosting an unforgettable birthday party at home!


1. Create a Theme for the Party

First things first, when planning any birthday party, you’ll need to come up with a theme for the night. The theme is going to help guide the decision on your menu and decor. Be sure to keep in mind the preferences of your birthday guest of honor. You not only want to create a night that’s all about them, but also something the other guests can enjoy.

We recently celebrated my mother-in-laws birthday. For our birthday dinner party, I wanted to embody a summer vibe. Think: summer flowers, bright colors, and grilling. I even put together a little mood board on Pinterest to help get my creative juices flowing!

When selecting a theme for the birthday dinner, the sky is the limit. You could go with something as simple as “summer backyard BBQ” or something elaborate as “night at an Italian winery.” Most importantly, choose something you know the birthday guest will love!


2. Invite Your Guests

Once you’ve selected a theme, begin looking at what day of the week will work best for hosting the party. Determine a time as well, then make sure the chosen date/time works for your birthday guest. Once a date is decided, you can start brainstorming a guest list. I recommend 4-6 guests to keep things intimate and personal.

With as busy as everyone is these days, the earlier you get the dinner party on your guests’ calendar, the better! Don’t forget to ask them if they have any dietary restrictions.

peach crostini with ricotta


3. Create a Party Menu

Is it just me, or is creating the birthday party menu the most fun part?! When planning the menu, remember to keep the theme selected in step one. The more everything ties together, the more fun and cohesive the party will feel!

Typically, for a dinner party, I like to have the following courses. This is what our summer birthday party dinner menu looked like:

Appetizer: Grilled Lemon Ricotta & Peach Crostini

Salad: Arugula Summer Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Main: Marinated London Broil with Herb Compound Butter

Side: Grilled Asparagus

Dessert: Homemade Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

{RELATED POST: Birthday Charcuterie Board}

steak with compund butter

When planning a birthday party menu, I like to keep a few things in mind!

  1. Chose recipes that have ingredients that can be prepped the day before or the morning of the event.

  2. Stay conscious of the amount of space you will need to cook, refrigerate, and prepare your dishes.

  3. Print out all the recipes chosen for the dinner party menu. Read through all the recipes and make any necessary notes. Make a grocery shopping list. Take note of items already in your pantry, and items that still need to be purchased.

  4. And finally, keep in mind any dietary restrictions guest may have.

peach and lemon smash cocktail

BOUNUS POINTS: It always adds a fun aspect to the birthday party when the food can become part of the entertainment for the night. Consider planning a DIY cocktail bar, grazing table, or interactive dinner (i.e. build your own sushi roll).

{RELATED POST: How to Make Homemade Sushi}

{RELATED POST: How to Build a Party Grazing Table}

If you need help figuring out how much food to serve at your party, grab my serving size guide to make your life a little bit easier!


4. Find a Signature Cocktail

It’s always fun to create a signature cocktail to kick off the night! Even if you ask the guests (not the birthday guest of honor, of course) to BYOB, it’s nice to have a drink ready when everyone arrives.

For our signature cocktail of the night, I made a grilled peach & lemon rum smash. It not only used lots of summer produce, but also incorporated our theme of “grilling” into the night.

Make sure to set out a pitcher full of the signature cocktail and enough glasses for everyone so it’s all ready when guests arrive. I always love displaying the drink and glasses on a cute serving tray!

{RELATED POST: Easy Summer Watermelon Margarita}

peach and lemon smash cocktail
cocktail recipes


5. Brainstorm (and order) Party Games

Every dinner party needs some good entertainment. Board games are always our go-to! Depending on your crowd, I’ve linked a few of my favorite party games below.

Make sure that you order the games so they arrive in time for the party. Thank goodness for two day shipping!!!

If you’re looking for more dinner party entertainment, try casino/poker games, Jackbox Party Pack (games played everyone’s individual phone & broadcasted to the TV), or outdoor lawn games.


6. Build a Fun Party Playlist

Every good party HAS to have good music! Make sure the playlist matches the vibe & mood for the night. If you’re feel especially creative, try building your own playlist based off of the songs the birthday guest of honor will love!

For a simple summer birthday dinner like I hosted, any of these playlists would work nicely!

Dinner Party Essentials

Dinner Party 🍷

Dinner Party Jazz Playlist

Dinner Party/Dinner Music

Starbucks Dinner Party

summer tablescape with flowers and white dinner plates


7. Design an Elegant (but easy) Tablescape

I find creating a tablescape makes an at home birthday feel just a little bit more special and elegant. You don’t have to go crazy, over-the-top with this.

I started by lining the center of my table with bright, colorful coffee cups and a tall, clear vase. I filled these by divvying out flowers from one bouquet into the various vases. Then, I added some lemons and limes around the bottom to really make it feel summery!

For the plates, I kept things simple and used white plates, with a pop of blue for the napkins. If you don’t have a set of white plates (large for the main & small for salad/appetizer), I highly encourage you to invest in some. They are fairly inexpensive and work with any color tablescape you could possibly dream of!

summer tablescape with flowers and candles
summer tablescape with flowers and candles


8. Get Your Space Ready

Before any party, go ahead and clean/de-clutter all the main areas guests will see. Give the bathroom a good wipe down, vacuum the floors, and remove any unnecessary clutter.

The night before the party it’s good to set out any serving platters and trays. This helps you think through how what dishes are needed for the party. Oh…and don’t forget to add any beverages to the refrigerator so they get nice & cold!


9. Morning of the Party Preparations

Use the morning before the party to your full advantage! This is the time to prepare what you can so you also get to relax and enjoy the party! Here’s what you should aim to get done:

  1. Prep any food items that can be completed ahead of time. Think washing/cutting produce, assembling the salad (without dressing), making parts of the appetizer.

  2. Wash and empty the dishwasher one more time! You’ll thank yourself when it’s time to clean up after the party.

  3. Last minute cleaning & tidying. Make sure the counters & tables are cleaned off.

  4. Take out the trash.

  5. Set up the drink station.

  6. Pre-set the table or the buffet area

Then, about 30 minutes before the party, light a candle & start the music!

Hosting an adult birthday party at home can definitely be fun & something guests will remember. Keep things light, have good food & drinks, and of course, don’t forget to enjoy the party. After all, you’re way more than just the hostess.

peach and lemon cocktail in pitcher
pretty summer tablescape with bright flowers


Did you Host an at Home Birthday Party?!

Tell me all about it – how did it go?! Comment below, or share a picture on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #HomebodyEats. Happy entertaining, Homebody family!



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