Dinner Party Step by Step Guide

Dinner Party Table - Reserved

Do you suffer the days before hosting a dinner party overwhelmed with anxiety and frustration? What if your friends don't come? What if they don't enjoy the food and entertainment? Resolve these worries by planning ahead and preparing.

The Basics:

The following steps will ensure you're on the right track:

  1. Choose the reason, cause or holiday for your party - this will set the mood and keep everyone in the same spirit. Make sure your guests are aware of the what and why.
  2. Select a date and make sure it's far enough in the future so that you give yourself plenty of time to prepare.
  3. Choose a theme or style for your dinner party; outdoor picnic, late night, dinner and games.
  4. Create your guest list and send out the invitations.  This can be as easy as contacting friends by email, or more formal by sending out hand written invitations.  Keep in mind, if you're using post mail you should leave at least 4 weeks for everyone to receive and respond.
  5. Create your setting and party ambience.  Table settings, decorations, colours and music.  These will define the look and feel of your party.
  6. Consider the menu and what your guests will enjoy.  Now is the time to consider who you've invited and what special dietary requirments they may have.

The Week Before:

Now we're ready to get down to business:

  1. Create the menu
    1. Need ideas?  Ask around
    2. Visit your local farmers market and find out what's fresh and in season
    3. Balance your menu, not too many of one item, try to add variety to your dishes
    4. Try to cover all the food groups
    5. Make sure you don't overdo it, you need to manage your time the day before and the day of the party
  2. Create your seating arrangement
    1. Sit likeminded people together
  3. Make contact with any contractors you may require
    1. Staff
    2. Caterers
    3. Housekeeper (to clean up)
    4. Chairs, tables, silverware

The Days Before:

  1. Polish, clean and prepare the table settings, silverware and miscellaenous items
    1. Setup the tables and chairs
    2. Place nice crisp name cards if you're party involves more than a dozen indviduals
  2. Plan your music
    1. Not very musical?  Have a friend create a music list for you.
  3. Choose the wine and beverages.  Now is a good time to pickup these items unless a caterer is bringing them on your behalf

The Day of the Party:

  1. Conversate.  Master the art of mingling and create conversation corners and comfortable seating areas around the venue.
  2. Enjoy yourself and relax.  A relaxed you will ensure relaxed guests.
  3. Pay attention for restlessness as the party winds down.  Kindly thank your guests for coming and see them to the door.
  4. Having trouble getting your party to end?  Kindly offer a last up of coffee or tea.
  5. Pay yourself on your back with a last glass of wine, you've done it, you've run a successful dinner party for your friends or family!
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Great article

Thanks TC, great article, very informative. I used this to plan my husband's 60th birthday party in our backyard. We had a pig roast, it was great!

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