If it’s not something that you do often, the idea of hosting a dinner party may send you into a flat panic, but the truth is that it need not be a stressful process.
With a bit of preparation and a delicious meal, your dinner party will go off without a hitch and your guests will have a great time from the moment they walk into your home until the moment they leave.
Here are our top tips for hosting a stress-free and fun dinner party.
Prepare Well In Advance
Simple preparations such as emptying the dishwasher and the trashcan before any guests arrive may sound silly, but it will save you time and energy later.
Cleaning as you go is your best bet, especially if you have a small kitchen, and if your dishwasher and trashcan are already empty, all you’ll have to do is fill them!
Sorting a Stress-Free Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home and the last thing you want is for your guests to walk into a disaster zone. Prep everything you’ll be cooking ahead of time and then wash all knives, cutting boards, and pots once you’re done with them and pack them away immediately.
This will save you a lot of time when it comes to the post-dinner party clean up.
Setting Your Table
Depending on your personal taste, you can go simple or spectacular with your table setting – it doesn’t have to look like a VIP Cox Plate betting dinner. The basics which must feature are plates, cutlery, napkins, wine glasses, and water glasses, while anything else is optional.
A centrepiece is always a great idea, but keep in mind to not make it too high as you don’t want to the guests to not be able to see each other over your incredible creation.
Where to Splash Out and Where to Save
Tableware can be expensive, but you can always go simple and cost-effective with plain white plates.
Where you should splash out though is on your glassware, as you don’t want your guests to be drinking an excellent wine from a cheap wine glass. Fabric napkins can be expensive, but they are a great investment as you can use them time and time again.
Planning the Menu
Unless you’re Nigella Lawson in disguise, we wouldn’t suggest making a set three-course menu with plenty of sides and different cooking times as you’re likely to ruin your night by spending most of it in the kitchen.
A simple pasta dish with a big side salad and some garlic rolls is perfect for a bigger group and dessert can be kept simple by baking cupcakes.
Not Just Dinner
Start with appetizers – a simple cheese board, preserves, and crackers perhaps – and then move into the dining area for the main and dessert.
It’s a good idea to ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine if you’re working on a budget and after dinner clear the table and play a board game.