A dinner party should be a chance to enjoy friends and treat them to a special evening, but so often hosts get stressed about the details. There certainly are a lot of details involved in hosting a dinner party, but no need to get stressed out about them. With plenty of planning and prep, anyone can throw a relaxed and fun get-together that the host enjoys as much as the guests.
The Guest List
A guest list should be chosen with care. The group should get along well and be able to have interesting conversations. It isn't necessary to avoid controversy entirely, but two friends who are vehemently opposed to each other on political matters probably shouldn't be at the same dinner party. If controversial pairings can't be avoided, however, a good host should know how to gracefully steer conversations away from sore subjects.
Guests should receive invitations two weeks before the party. Phone or email invitations are fine, but hand-written invitations are fun for a fancy dinner party. These initial conversations about the dinner party are the perfect time to ask about allergies or dietary restrictions.
The meal should be planned about a week in advance. New recipes should be tested on an honest friend or family member. Even signature dishes should be tested out if they'll be made for a crowd. When meals are bulked up, cooking times can be affected. Anything that can be done ahead of time should. Salad dressings and sauces can be made three days in advance and veggies should be chopped the day before. Hosts should visit the liquor store with the finalized menu to ask about food and wine pairings. A knowledgeable liquor store employee should be able to suggest pairings at any price point.
Set the table the day before the party, wash serving platters and pick up some flowers to grace the table. Give the house a deep clean a couple of days in advance, paying particular attention to the bathrooms. House cleaning services are particularly helpful in this step of the party planning process to keep stress levels at rock bottom. It isn't a bad idea to skip washing the floors, however, unless it's been a while since their last cleaning. Someone will inevitably spill something and hosts will just end up washing the floor again. It's better to wash the day after the party. If you're short on time, hire a cleaning service, like Classic Home Care Inc.
The most important thing to remember about having a stress-free dinner party is to expect something to go wrong. Good hosts roll with the unexpected because guests will follow the host's lead when it comes to how to react. If the host laughs off an accidentally blackened meal, so will the guests. After all, that's what pizza delivery is for!