Definitive Proof That Throwing a Last-Minute Dinner Party Is Possible

Updated 01/03/18

So you’ve decided to throw a little get-together for the holidays for your nearest and dearest but don’t know where to start… After all, you want the occasion to feel intimate, fun, and creative without spending your entire weekend in a planning frenzy. We get it—you’re busy, but that doesn’t mean your party needs to feel any less thoughtful and special.

Case in point: this gorgeous holiday dinner that our very own Rachel Zeilic hosted for three of her girlfriends, Jenny Cipoletti of Margo and Me, Brittany Xavier of Thrifts and Threads, and Michelle Salas. From a simple yet elegant tablescape design to a winning Chandon cocktail recipe that only requires three ingredients, Zeilic proves that throwing a dinner party is only as complicated as you make it.

Ahead, get a peek inside the fashion girl–approved evening replete with her delicious recipes and décor ideas.

how to set table
Clique Studios

No fine china? No problem. Mix and match dishes you already own for a fun and festive look. And to add a little flair to your flatware, simply cradle your fork and knife in a napkin, and tie a ribbon around it in a knot.

holiday tablescape
Clique Studios

You don’t have to splurge on expensive floral arrangements to create a stylish tablescape. Instead, Zeilic opted for simple greenery and fresh pomegranates for a seasonal design with just as much color as a bouquet. To achieve an organic and effortless look, she used the leaves as a runner through the center of the table and then interspersed various sizes and shades of the fruit throughout the leaves. She also added plenty of candles in different vases and votives throughout the table to both set the mood and to hide the stems. If you really want to feel like an expert hostess, do as she did and fill the containers with salt or rice so the wax doesn’t stick to the glass—genius.

hostess gift ideas
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It’s always thoughtful to bring a hostess gift to a party, and Zeilic’s guests didn’t disappoint. The girls all showed up with flowers, and one even brought her a bottle of Chandon Sweet Star.

holiday cocktail recipe
Clique Studios

While putting the Chandon on ice, Zeilic greeted her guests with a sparkling cocktail that was a total crowd pleaser. The best part is that it only uses three ingredients and doesn’t require any prep time. Simply pour Chandon into a glass filled with ice and garnish with fresh mint sprigs, which helps bring out the fruity notes of the sparkling wine. 


mint ice cubes
Clique Studios

If you feel like being a little extra, make mint ice cubes the night before by freezing the mint leaves in your ice tray. It’s super easy to execute but looks quite impressive.

pear bruschetta recipe
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It’s always nice to much on some hors d’œuvres and mingle before sitting down for the main course. We recommend this pear bruschetta recipe from Urban Palate—it’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory, which goes perfectly with Zeilic’s Chandon cocktail.

autumn bruschetta
holiday recipes
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For dinner, Zeilic chose to serve her meal family-style, which makes it so much easier for a low-key dinner. The menu consisted of bright, healthy dishes using seasonal ingredients like pomegranates and squash.

fall recipes
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When creating a menu for your dinner party, think about the colors of the ingredients in your recipes. Adding bright garnishes—like edible flowers, which can be found at most grocery stores—is a simple way to make a dish really pop.

sparkling wine cocktails
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Cheers to a special evening filled with love and laughter! 

mini chandon bottles
Clique Studios

In case you were wondering, Chandon also makes a great party favor as an alternative to sending your guests home with leftover treats. The mini bottles are especially adorable.

Chandon Sweet Star $24
Chandon Rosé $26
Chandon Brut $24

Want to spread the cheer this holiday season by throwing your own dinner party? Don’t forget to celebrate with Chandon.

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