A dinner party is all about good food, refreshing drinks, great conversations, and even greater company. With Christmas just around the corner, this might be your first year of having your own place to call home, and you might be playing out your fantasy of hosting your friends and loved ones a lovely dinner over the holidays. This can be an excellent opportunity for you to have your friends dressed up for a fancy evening in, or this could be your great excuse to make yourself feel like a proper adult. Whichever the reason may be, we have here the ultimate checklist you need to host a perfect and fun-filled dinner party!
1. Get Your Guestlist Ready and Save A Date
If you’re hosting your very first dinner party, start small and build your way up to more guests as not to overwhelm yourself. Four to six guests is a great starting point so that you can adjust your cooking habits to cook for a few more people instead of a large volume of people. Plus, if you’re having your closest friends over, you can probably burn the whole thing, and they will still love you! Save a date and invite your guests at least a month ahead to give all of you some wiggle room to figure out a date that works for everyone. Fridays and Saturdays are always the best nights to host your dinner parties!
2. Be Mindful of Your Menu Planning
If you’re a natural-born chef and your goal is to show off your culinary skills, then surely your main focus in planning should be some killer food. However, if you’re not the best cook, you can still serve food, but you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself. Take some time to google recipes that seem fancy but are actually incredibly easy to make. To make things easier for you, have your desserts ready a couple of days ahead, or you can order them to be delivered to you the day before. Don’t forget to time your cooking way ahead so that it leaves you some room for last-minute touch-ups before the guests arrive.
3. Get Your “Prep” Ready in Advance
When we talk about “prep,” it can actually mean three things—food, decoration, and mental. For food, start by making a list of all the ingredients and items you may need based on the menu you have in mind. Always give yourself enough time to go to the store for a second trip just in case you forgot something. If you’re living with a roommate or partner, it’s a good tip to have one pick up the supplies while the other clean and decorate the apartment for a good ambiance. Last but not least, prep yourself mentally, especially if planning has been causing you some stress over the past week or two. Take a second to breathe, get calm, and focus on the excitement of having your loved ones over for a good time!
4. Create The Ambiance You Want
When it comes to decoration, you don’t need to go out of your way and order some new pieces for your home just for a one-night dinner. What we meant is to do a few minor touch-ups, such as decorate your dining table with some fresh flowers. Set the scene with fresh-smelling candles and some night lights to get the mood going. Also, don’t forget the music! A room filled with awkward silences is the worst thing to happen, thus have a small speaker or your laptop nearby playing some jazzy music that people can vibe to while they chat around the table. You are the hostess, so it is your job to set the mood right!
5. Cleaning is Just As Important
Don’t put it off and start cleaning up right after the party. While it’s common courtesy for the guests to offer some help, please don’t feel like you have to accept it. Remember, you were the one who invited them over for a dinner party, so it’s good practice to take care of everything until the very end. Gather everything up, plates, glasses, or anything else lying around, and put them in the kitchen. Now, if you don’t have a dishwasher, don’t feel like you have to stay up washing the dishes until 3 in the morning. The host needs some rest too! So just put everything in the sink to soak overnight, and clean the rest up tomorrow morning.
6. Be Nice To Yourself
It’s human nature to set such high expectations on oneself. Hence, remind yourself to set your own expectations low as it is your first time hosting guests. Assess the situation and learn from your mistakes, which you can use to improve during the next dinner party! Everything comes down to planning, but sometimes, life doesn’t go as planned, and it truly relies on how you react to a situation that makes it a terrible experience or a wonderful memory to look back to. Thus, go easy on yourself and just enjoy it!