When it comes to dinner party tips, I’ve got a fair few under my belt. See, I love cooking. I love having friends over. And I love nothing more than whipping up a special meal for the people I love most in the world, and catching up over some good food and fine.
But I’m definitely no Nigella Lawson. Though I enjoy getting creative in the kitchen, I know my limits, and I know what I need to do to make sure that my get-togethers go according to plan and everyone has a fantastic time.
There are the dinner party tips that I use on a regular basis, and they’re guaranteed to ensure that you and your guests have a great time, without any unnecessary stress for you…
1. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW ABOUT ANY DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
The last thing you want to do is spend a full day preparing a beef stew, only to discover that one of your guests has recently turned veggie. To avoid any nasty surprises or last minute panics, send a text out to your guests before you plan your menu, and ask if they have any dietary requirements that you should be aware of. This is especially important if you’re inviting guests who you don’t know too well – such as a new partner of a friend – or if you’ll be inviting friends who you haven’t caught up with in quite a while.
2. CHOOSE DISHES THAT CAN BE PREPPED IN ADVANCE
Ideally, you’ll want to pick dishes that you can prepare in advance, and then just heat them in the oven and plate them up once the time comes. Consider things that can be prepared in a slow cooker, such as curries and casseroles, and serve alongside side dishes that you can make earlier in the day. Great British Chefs has a fabulous selection of showstopper recipes that are ideal for dinner parties, if you need some inspiration. But, do make sure that you do a trial run. Now’s not the time for experimenting, if you want to keep your stress levels low!
3. WRITE DOWN YOUR PREPARATION TIMELINE
One of the best dinner party tips that I can give you is to carefully write down your timeline for the day of your bash. Include absolutely everything that will need your attention, from setting the table, to tidying up your kitchen, to getting yourself ready before everyone arrives. This will help you to feel calm, collected, and in control, and it’ll ensure that you don’t forget about any important details along the way.
4. CONSIDER HOW YOU’LL KEEP YOUR GUESTS ENTERTAINED WHILST YOU’RE BUSY
There’ll be points in the evening during which you’ll have to be away from the table to sort things out. Especially if some of your guests might not know each other too well, think about including a little bit of entertainment as an ice breaker, or to keep them occupied. A quiz or a card game is a great option here, and will buy you a little bit of time to get all the finer details right!
5. ENJOY YOURSELF!
Ultimately, a dinner party shouldn’t be about getting yourself so stressed and worked up that you can’t enjoy a night with your friends. If something does go wrong, just laugh it off and move on. At the end of the day, your guests are there to see you, and the food and wine is just a nice bonus along the way!
Do you have any dinner party tips that have helped you to host awesome evenings without the stress? Leave a comment below and share your best advice!