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I love opening my home–welcoming people to your table is a gift. Part of my day job is planning events for tons of people- I LOVE it. However, my favorite thing is to have my Friday Night crew over. So, that got me thinking. I host dinner parties pretty much every week. I thought I would pass along some of the things I have learned!
If you’re going to host a dinner party, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure it goes smoothly. Use the following tips, from start to finish, to make sure your event is a success.
Open Door: Hosting in Your Home!
Hosting a great party at home can be an enjoyable and low-key way to spend time with loved ones. But the first thing we have to remind ourselves of is our home is not perfect, however, it can be filled with love.
That’s what people are looking for–not perfection. They won’t remember that your title is popping up in your downstairs bathroom (yep, that’s my house right now). They will remember the get-together and they were thought of and considered—and the food. They will remember that!
Remember a good party host throws a party we are not throwing something that is perfect!
If you’re new to hosting dinner parties, the prospect of cooking for a group may be daunting. To assist you in getting started, we’ve compiled some tips on how to host a dinner party. These tips cover everything from planning and preparing ahead of time to serving your guests and having fun while doing it. We are all about fun at Novice Cook! Check out our hosting tips below as a guideline and make them your own.
Tips for Hosting: Questions to Consider
- Who would you like to spend the evening with?
- What kind of night do I want? It is lots of people or just a few? Is it full-on fun or a more casual get-together?
- What kind of food do you want to make? That will also help with the feeling of the night. Chicken wings say something very different than steak and potatoes, and both those conversations matter!
- What are you already good at cooking? Play to your strengths
- How do you want to serve the food? Everything on the table, family style or a buffet, where they serve themselves?
- How do you want to have the table set?
Tips for Hosting: Plan Ahead!
The key to hosting a successful dinner party is to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to complete all the necessary tasks.
Make a list of everything that needs to be done. Once you have a list, you can start crossing items off as you go and avoid feeling overwhelmed on the day of the party.
Do a little every evening, so when the day comes you’re ready and rested.
If your party is Friday, maybe your plan looks like this:
- Two weeks before, invite your guest list and start thinking about your menu
- One week before land on your menu
- The Monday (before your party) pick up all non-perishables.
- Wednesday clean your house and finish any last-minute shopping
- Thursday put together any food you can and set your table.
- Friday Morning (of the party) put any other food together and do any last-minute cleansing.
- Friday after you get home from work, everything should be set and ready. Pop any food in the oven, and make sure your appetizers are good to go. Put your feet up and get your playlist ready for your guest.
You are Invited! The Guest List
The guest list is one of the key elements to think about when you’re planning a dinner party. You want to invite people who will get along and have a good time together for the evening.
Here are some tips for creating a great guest list:
The first step is to decide how many guests you want to invite. This number will depend on the size of your home and the amount of food you’re planning to serve.
After that, consider who you want to invite. If you’re inviting friends, try to include both couples and singles so that everyone has someone to talk to. It’s also a benefit to invite people with shared interests so that they’ll have something to bond over.
After you’ve chosen who to invite, create a list of their names and contact information. This will help you stay on track and ensure that everyone is invited.
Lastly, send out invitations! Give your guests a significant amount of time to plan ahead and make any necessary arrangements.
You’ve Got Mail: Invitations
Create a guest list: Begin by making a list of everyone you’d like to invite. If you aren’t sure how many people you can comfortably accommodate in your space, ask a friend for help making the decision.
When you have the list ready, it’s time to invite them! You can do this via email, text, or good old-fashioned snail mail. Make sure to include all the pertinent details like the date, time, and location of the party. I also like to add how to dress.
Tips for Hosting: The Menu!
It’s best to keep the food simple, and simple does not mean boring! However, I always choose recipes that can be made in advance or don’t require last-minute work. This way, you’ll have more time to visit with your guests and won’t feel so frazzled in the kitchen–been there done that–not doing it again.
Check out some of our favorite Appetizers:
The basic and wonderful chips and dips!
Best Gluten Free Appetizer for Christmas (Honestly, it is Just One of the Best Appetizers Period)
Dip into something different this Christmas: a gluten free, Smoky Mozzarella Appetizer
Butter Boards: The New Charcuterie!
Some of Our Favorite Meals:
The Easy Lobster Carbonara Pasta Recipe
Top Choice Cream Cheese Chicken Chili Recipe!
Tips for Hosting: Setting the Table
We eat with our eyes, so making your table warm and inviting is key. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting the table:
- Make sure you have enough place settings for everyone attending the party. Don’t you just love everyone around your table?
- Do you want to host indoor or outdoor?
- Set out any serving dishes or utensils you’ll need so that everything is within easy reach when it’s time to eat. Add extra napkins to the table.
- Don’t forget about candles or other atmospheric touches that will help create an inviting and relaxing atmosphere for your guests. When the evening is extra special I use place cards for names.
Hosting a Christmas Party? Check out these plates (real, our favorite, and paper, because that just needs to happen sometimes)
Christmas Appetizer Plate Ideas That are So Good, Santa Will Be Stealing Them!
Get Your Holiday On With Christmas Paper Plates!
Tips for Hosting: Let There Be Light!
It’s also important to think about the lighting in your home. You don’t want it to be too bright, as that can be harsh, but you also don’t want it to be too dark. If it’s too dark, people might have a hard time seeing their food and each other. Candles are always a good option for dinner parties because they provide soft, ambient light.
Tips for Hosting: Music to my Ears
Music can be one of the most important elements of a successful dinner party. The right music can help set the tone for the evening and create a festive atmosphere. It can also help to mask any awkward silences or lulls in conversation.
There are a few things you should take into account when deciding on the music for your dinner party. Most importantly, think about the atmosphere you want to create. If you’re looking for something festive and upbeat, then choose songs that will reflect that. Conversely, if you’re hoping for a more intimate and relaxed evening, then slower, softer tunes may be more appropriate.
Another important aspect to think about when choosing music is your guests. If you have a range of ages or musical preferences represented, it’s often best to go with tunes that are popular and liked by many. You can also inquire if there are any particular songs or performers your guests would like to hear beforehand.
Just make sure you have a healthy mix of fast and slow songs so that people can either dance or chat, depending on their mood. Additionally, remember to turn the volume down slightly so that people can still carry on conversations without having to shout over the music.
Most Important Tip for Planning and Hosting a Get-together!
Don’t forget the small details that will make your party stand out — fresh flowers, candles, table decorations, and music can all help set the mood. And don’t forget to plan for post-dinner activities like coffee or dessert!
This was something I use to do wrong all the time! Please, don’t forget to relax and enjoy the party! Entertaining guests provide a chance to enjoy delicious food and great conversation, so make sure you savor the moment. If everything doesn’t go as planned, don’t fret – your guests will understand and appreciate your effort nonetheless. It won’t be perfect. Perfection just doesn’t exist.
Remember when people arrive, you are ready! I love it when party planning and fun come together. Open your door!