Stress-Free Tips for Planning a Dinner Party With Style

When throwing a dinner party and inviting your guests over, it can be easy to stress about cleaning your home, preparing the perfect appetizers, and ensuring that each person has a good time. Many people dread throwing a dinner party due to all of the work that’s involved. To enjoy yourself and avoid the anxiety, there are a few tips to follow for a stress‐free event.

Keep the Food Simple

Instead of attempting to make new dishes that you’ve never tried before, keep the menu simple. You’ll have more fun making appetizers and entrees that are easy and simple without attempting a new recipe. Check with people in advance to see if they have any special dietary requirements or things they just don’t eat. Consider having only one dish that needs attention at the last‐minute.

Do the Hard Work the Night Before

Check your inventory of menu ingredients a day or two before the party. Do as much prep work ahead of time, such as dicing, slicing, marinating, and any advance cooking a day in advance. Desserts can often be baked in advance, too.

It’s satisfying to get the table ready the night before. Iron tablecloths and napkins, set the table and arrange the centerpiece. Don’t forget the salt and pepper shakers. Set the mood with a mix of candles in a variety of heights. Chair covers are a lovely way to spruce up your dining room chairs and prevent unwanted damage from spills and stains (or strategically cover up already existing ones!).

Homemade Little Extras

Guests won’t expect everything to be homemade, but they will definitely appreciate it. Spiced nuts, Popcorn Scramble, Tuscan‐style Mushrooms, Blue Cheese Crisps are easy to make and can be made ahead of time. Add just one of these homemade appetizers to your spread, and you are sure to impress your guests.

Make It a Weeknight

You may want to host your dinner party on the weekend to have more time during the day to prep the food and clean your home, but this can make it easy to be less organized. Hosting the event on a Friday or another weeknight will force you to strategize the menu and be more organized instead of planning everything in one day. This will also allow you to have the weekend to relax instead of having Saturday and Sunday revolve around all of the planning and clean‐up.

Anticipate Their Arrival

Make sure your porch light is turned on and it’s easy to see your address. Double check that there is water and water glasses on the table. Dim the lights and light the candles. Last, but not least, turn the music on low to the set the mood.

Set the Table for Success!

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