Hosting your very first dinner party can be exciting. Building your guest list, cleaning the house, finding the perfect recipe, setting the table, and everything in between.
It quickly becomes stressful.
You begin to think about the people that have dietary restrictions, and choosing a recipe becomes even harder. How much food is going to be enough, so people aren’t leaving your home still hungry? And the list of fears and concerns begins to grow.
Take a breath. Even if you’re not the best planner or worse, you’re not the best host; you can pull off the best dinner party. And it will be a dinner party that your friends will be talking about for months.
Making your guest list
There’s no right or wrong way to build your guest list. With that being said, since it’s your first dinner party, you may want to keep your more intimate by inviting four to six guests. Remember, the more people you have, the more food that you’ll need to cook.
Who should you invite? All of your guests don’t necessarily need to know each other; it’s fun bringing different groups of friends together. But it can make for an awkward night if the only person they do know is you. Invite friends who are familiar with one another, they don’t necessarily have to be friends, but this will allow for good conversations.
When do you send out invites? You’ll want to give your guest at least three weeks’ notice of your dinner party. Don’t forget to ask for any dietary restrictions so that you can begin planning the menu.
Creating the menu
Now is not the time to be creative. Stick to the meals that you know you make the best. So if you know that you make the best baked ziti, then that’s what you should cook. But that doesn’t mean you cannot try something new. You have three weeks to test out new recipes to see what’s good, so take advantage of that time if you want to be creative.
Always have appetizers. Veggie, fruit, and cheese platters are always a hit. They are simple and not the most filling, which makes them the perfect snack before dinner.
Setting the mood
The atmosphere of your home will make a big difference in the way people feel as they enter your home. This can be achieved using decorations, lighting, and music.
Lighting is important; by dimming the lights and using lights from candles or fairy lights, you’ll create a more relaxing environment, and that’s how your guest will feel – relaxed. Making a song playlist that plays softly in the background will help to set the mood as well.
You don’t have to go overboard with decorations, a simple setting for the table is often enough. It can be as simple as fresh flowers on the table filling the room with its beautiful aroma.
What to wear
Getting dressed to impress can be done with a casual dinner outfit. You want to look polished but not over the top and the best way to do that is by crafting a classy yet relaxed outfit – a chic sweater with a pair of jeans finished with heels or flats for the cooler weather, or swap the sweater for a blouse for warmer weather.
Don’t forget to get your partner his outfit. Men’s designer belts are a great way to finish off his casual dinner outfit.
Don’t wait until the last day to start preparing. Things go wrong – you forget something at the grocery store, work piles up, and cleaning is set back or you cannot find the wine that you wanted in any store. Waiting until the last minute is just too stressful if things don’t go as planned, and they rarely do.
There are three important preparations you’ll want to focus on – kitchen prep, house prep, and mental prep.
Kitchen prep. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need and go shopping a day or two beforehand. Chop, dice and prep the food a day before. This gives you a chance to get the last-minute things you’ve forgotten.
Getting your house ready. It’s instinct to want to start cleaning everything when we know that people will be coming over. But you don’t have to clean every room in the house. Make sure that the living room, kitchen guest bathrooms are clean.
You’ve done all of your preparations, so it’s time to enjoy your guests; after all, they are there to spend time with you. They are not there to judge you on anything, and because you have done your preparation work, there’s nothing left to do but have fun.