If I haven’t made it obvious already, I love to host at my home. I love making memories and inviting people over to feel loved and pampered via food and good conversation.
But with our busy schedules it can be daunting and overwhelming to host a dinner party. But here are some tips I’ve learned along the way to make your next dinner party a huge hit and you get to have fun too!
Keep you guest list manageable
If you don’t like the idea of throwing a huge party, don’t! Keep your guest list small if you’re more comfortable in small groups. Doing this will also allow you to invite your closest friends, making for a more enjoyable evening with people you’re closest to. There may come a time in your life when you have to throw a bigger party than you’re used to, but starting off small is a great start.
2. Give yourself lots of time
The moment you decide you’re hosting a dinner party it’s time to think of a menu and guest list. Planning the menu in advance will give you plenty of time to see what can be made in advance to allow you to enjoy the party rather than being in the kitchen all night. Being prepared takes a lot of the stress out of hosting an event and will let you enjoy yourself more when the day arrives.
3. Prep as much of the menu ahead of time as possible
One of the best tricks for being a great hostess goes hand in hand with planning ahead: do as much preparation before your party as possible. Try choosing a menu that doesn’t require you to be stuck in the kitchen the whole time. Make some appetizers, salads, and desserts the day of (or even the day before), so all you have to do once your guests arrive is heat the food in the oven and put some finishing touches on the meal. Some pf my favorite make ahead dish ideas that require very little work include my Spring Panzanella Salad, Puff Pastry Turnovers (Beureg) , Grilled Stuffed Portobellos, and lasagna.
4. Send out the invite at least one week ahead
By sending the invite at least one week in advance it gives you the opportunity to see how many people will be attending and plan your grocery list and visit. For an added flair I love sending invites with cute designs via Paperless Post
It goes without saying that flowers give a home more inviting, sophisticated feel. It also adds an elegant touch without breaking the bank. It does not have to be anything over the top.
6. Feel no shame in outsourcing
Just because I want an evening at home with friends does not mean I need to labor in the kitchen. Sometimes purchasing food or having a friend bring a dish will reduce your load and ease the stress of hosting a dinner party. One of my favorite hacks is ordering a meat skewer basket from Bristol Farm’s (shown below). If you can afford it, I also highly recommend hiring help to serve and wash dishes when hosting.
8. Get creative
Sometimes being creative means having a theme and other times its means just adding that extra touch of detail that make your guests feel extra special. I remember when I hosted my housewarming party I placed sprigs of rosemary from my herb garden on each serving ware. The guests loved the smell and felt so special.
9. Serve the meal family style
There’s no point in adding extra work. Serving family style gives guests a more relaxed feel and the option of seconds!
Make an effort to chat with everyone at your party, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Your job as the hostess is to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome, and this is the best way to do that. And don’t worry about awkward silences — that’s what music is for!
11. Have a good playlist
You don’t need to have a DJ but a good spotify playlist can help mitigate awkward silences throughout the evening and who knows maybe people will fell inspired to get up and boogy!
12. Keep the alcohol flowing
I sometimes love adding a signature cocktail drink for the evening. But if you don’t have time good wine is more than enough. It goes without saying that your guests should drink responsibly and not drink and drive.
I hope these tips help ease the planning of your next dinner party! Enjoy!