Ah, the dinner party.
You’re excited to get your friends together and treat them to a good time and tasty meal. But from the planning to the meal prep to the actual follow-through, knowing exactly how to throw the perfect dinner party can seem daunting.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. When putting on a dinner party for friends, following a simple checklist will make your big night a success with minimal stress.
Draft It Out
- Develop your guest list – Decide who you want to invite taking into consideration what your guests may have in common. A good rule of thumb? Make sure each guest knows at least two other guests. When your list is ready, send out invitations 2-3 weeks in advance of the party.
- Choose whether you want to have a theme – Your theme doesn’t have to be extensive. In fact, you might only take it as far as the menu. Conversely, you might want to incorporate the theme into your decorations or even the recommended attire for guests.
- Plan your meal – Determine your meal well in advance so you know whether you need to call a butcher or reserve a larger quantity of a product at the grocery store. Make sure you have enough serving dishes to accommodate every food item. If serving wine, consider which wines will pair well with the menu. Additionally, consider your guests’ food allergies and dietary restrictions. Prepare much of the food a day in advance and lay out serving dishes.
Prep the House
- Clean it up – Clean your house thoroughly ahead of time and continue to touch it up throughout the week of your party. It’s especially important to make sure the bathrooms and dining area are spotless.
- Do a seat check – Ensure you have enough seats to accommodate every guest. It’s not a bad idea to have an additional seat or two on hand in case someone brings a guest.
- Designate a ‘stuff space’ – Make sure there’s a place set aside for people to leave their purses and coats. No guest wants to carry those around all night.
Details Make the Difference
- Pick a playlist – Come up with music that fits the tone of the party. Test your sound system beforehand to avoid technical difficulties the night of your party and make sure the music isn’t so loud that people can’t easily have conversations.
- Set up your décor – Tasteful decorations make all the difference when it comes to making your party sophisticated and memorable. Consider incorporating candles, flowers, cloth napkins and even place cards (if your guest list is longer) into your party.
While a successful dinner party involves a lot of planning and prep, it doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, your demeanor sets the tone for the evening – might as well make it a happy one! At the end of the night, your friends will be grateful you gave them a reason to come together and enjoy a nice meal. And now you know how to throw the perfect dinner party!