If you’re considering hosting a dinner party, you’re likely imagining a seamless, effortless and elegant evening. You’re blissful and calm, the candles are flickering, music serenading, your guests engage in light, intelligent banter and everyone is demanding to know how you managed to attain such a delicate crust on those delectable cod fillets.
Unless your dinner party is creatively directed by Tom Ford, there’s a high likelihood that it won’t be quite as perfect as your fantasies- and that’s okay! There are plenty of ways for you to make the evening a lovely and enjoyable one for you and your guests. First things first, take the pressure off yourself, relax and keep things simple. You’re not June Clever– no one is!
Here are ten simple steps to help you prepare for a magical and memorable evening:
- Keep the guest list manageable – just because you have the space to seat everyone you know, it doesn’t mean should. Know your limits and invite accordingly.
- Send an invite at least a week in advance – giving your guests plenty of notice is simply the polite thing to do. Invites can be delivered via phone, email or mail.
- Plan ahead – gather the supplies you need to make a meal at least three days in advance. Buy the alcohol, ingredients (save fresh ingredients for the day of) and plan how you’ll set up the table. Make a dessert ahead of time that you can keep refrigerated or simply throw in the oven. Anything you can do to plan ahead will help you feel more relaxed when your guests arrive.
- Start with hors d’oeuvres – preparing a simple starter will take some of the pressure off and ensure your guests are satisfied and not starving as they wait to be sat for dinner.
- Simplify the menu – make something simple, familiar and with steps you can prepare ahead of time. While it’s tempting to prepare something lavish, it’s safer to go with something you’ve already made before.
- Invite a close friend or neighbor over early – having another set of hands and eyes at your aid will help you to stay focused on preparing an incredible meal rather than trying to multi-task.
- Mingle – a home with an oversized kitchen island is ideal when it comes to hosting a dinner party so you can stay engaged with your guests and make them feel at home as you prepare and serve the meal.
- Keep the table setting simple and timeless – nothing will WOW your guests like an exquisite table setting. The best part about this is you can set everything up ahead of time. Try incorporating linens, runners and layering simple tablecloths and placemats. A simple eucalyptus or single flower centerpiece is elegant and effortless.
- Serve the meal family style – not only will guests feel more at ease with this style of serving, it will take the pressure of you to make each plate look flawless and perfectly portioned.
- Don’t overlook ambiance – the mood and vibe of a dinner party are often overlooked yet potentially one of the most important pieces. Consider your playlist ahead of time. Spotify has playlists to match whatever mood you’re looking to set. Since guests are naturally drawn to well-lit areas, ensure the dining room has various sources of soft light and candles flickering on the table to add a glow to the room.
Whether you’re hosting your family and friends for a home warming, holiday meal, birthday party, or a simple get together, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy! Enjoy the excitement of entertaining, bringing family and friends together and your time with the ones you love.