Finally, the dark cloud of the pandemic is lifting. If you and your friends are fully vaccinated, you’re probably planning to see each other for the first time in ages. And you’re probably running into the same issue: how to do that in a way that makes everyone feel safe. Though it might not be as fun as knocking down shots at your favorite bar, a gathering at your apartment might be the perfect intermediate step. Maybe it’s time to throw a grown-up dinner party from your apartment. Trust me, it’s easier than it sounds.

Text by Katherine Polcari

Decorating Your SpaceFriends using crates as table.

There are several ways to give your apartment an upscale party look, while still working on a small budget and in a small space. Don’t have a dining table? Pull together some other furniture like side tables and desks or get creative. As for the decorations, stick to a color theme. Dark colors or neutral tones will give your party a more mature look. Just add some flowers or light some candles and you have a great setup for a dinner party. And, if your guests are still feeling anxious, you can always set up a hand sanitizer station — or give out cute party favors!

Quality Time with GuestsFriends playing a board game.

Try to make most of the food in advance so that you can spend time with your guests. If you are making something like a casserole or a roast, you can have plenty of time to socialize while it’s in the oven. In order to make the most out of that time, play some party games to break the ice.

Good FoodA finished vegetable casserole.

While people are coming to the dinner party to socialize, they also expect a good meal. If you’re a novice at cooking, there are lots of easy dishes that you can rely on that will still taste great. However, if you are clueless in the kitchen, you could always host a potluck instead. Then, you’ll know that everyone has something that they like.

Reasonably Priced WineGradient colors of wine.

Wine is an easy way to add a little bit of class to your dinner party, but don’t worry about buying the most expensive wine out there. You can try the Vivino app. All you have to do is scan a bottle of wine, and you can read reviews from other users. The users are not experts on wine tasting, but it’s helpful to hear the opinion of an average wine drinker while you make your selection.

Fun DessertFruit dipped in chocolate fondue.

Single size desserts like small pies, cup cakes, or tarts always go over well. You can also do personal trifles or parfaits. Or, if you have the supplies for it, fondue is always a fun way to end a dinner party. Get separate tealight fondue warmers for each guest with this set or these adorable fondue mugs. You can even do different flavors like chocolate, caramel, or even cake batter. No matter which option you choose, you can’t go wrong with dessert.