Five Tips for your Next Dinner Party
Before we begin, the most important thing to remember is that your friends and family want to see and spend time with YOU. They aren’t looking for a perfectly decorated house and table with no mess or imperfection. And sure, good food is great, but you don’t need everything to be home made in order to impress your guests. So take a look at a few ideas to make the whole night more meaningful and memorable not only for your guests, but for you too.
Set out an Appetizer
Planning and timing dinner to be warm and ready right when your guests arrive is pretty close to impossible. If you’ve been able to do it, more power to you! But so far, we have not. So, setting out a simple but fun appetizer on a cute platter is a great way to buy yourself a little time when dinner is running behind.
We’re not talking about anything fancy here. Cheese and crackers, precut fruits and veggies, and mixed nuts all count as an appetizer. Display them on a cute platter and your guests will never know that these strategically placed finger foods are all just a guise to buy you more time in the kitchen and alleviate your stress about hungry guests. If you’re waiting for food in the oven, you too can munch and mingle on your yummy appetizers while you wait for the final timer to go off.
A classy platter for displaying pre-dinner snacks will look beautiful to your guests and takes no extra prep time from you.
Any appetizer on this beautiful charcuterie board will instantly look more appealing and sophisticated, with no extra work on your part.
Buy Fresh Flowers
Putting out fresh flowers in a vase is a sure way to make your home feel welcoming and cozy when the guests arrive. Get a small bouquet at the grocery store on your way to the check out line and place them on your kitchen table or counter for an instant mood enhancer. Your guests will feel welcome and you will smile every time you see them.
Now the key here is that we did not say clean every inch of your home or decorate perfectly before the party begins. Again, your home does not need to be perfect in order to feel like a haven for friends and family members. Fresh flowers will simply enhance the atmosphere and ambiance when visiting, and may guide eyes away from dusty corners that can’t be helped. Trust us, no one is judging you. We all have them!
This larger ceramic vase is perfect for a fresh bouquet and it’s sleek silhouette will fit nicely on any table or counter. Fresh flowers are the perfect way to brighten up your party.
These canisters may not be specifically designed for holding flowers, but that’s where a little creativity comes in. They actually work great as a vase and when you don’t have flowers they double as a classy way to store cotton swabs, rubber bands, paper clips, you name it.
Plan a Menu
Plan your menu ahead of time so you know exactly what to buy and prepare for on the day of. Better yet, plan everything you want to make, and then cut down! Don’t overdo it on complicated side dishes and desserts. Pick a few things you know you’ll be able to have time to make and if needed, ask other guests to supplement dishes. They’ll be happy to feel involved and you’ll have less on your plate (literally).
Take this tip one step further and plan the timing of your day before the dinner party begins. If you have multiple dishes to make, start one earlier in the day so you can focus on the main course that evening. Better yet, ask yourself, is there anything I can make the day before? Does your main dish take an hour in the oven to bake? Start cooking two hours before the party starts to give yourself plenty of time. Alleviate stress by planning your day around cooking times so you can sit back and enjoy once the guests start to arrive.
Lovely and delicate with a simple design, this table runner will make your spread look elegant and sophisticated.
Take all of these tips that we’ve given you so far and simplify even further. Cut one thing from the menu. Buy pre cut fruits and veggies for your appetizer. Delegate a task to another family member or guest. Don’t worry about decor or perfectly matching dinnerware, just use what you already have. Like we said before, your guests want to see YOU! So make sure you actually have time to spend with them and aren’t running around cooking and cleaning the whole night.
A cute tray is one of the easiest ways to elevate your next dinner party without any extra time spent or stress on your part. Just pull this out and top it with cheese and crackers for an appetizer or side dish.
Once the party has begun, it’s too late to change anything! So don’t worry if the menu didn’t turn out exactly as you wanted, or you had to switch things up because they were out of a key ingredient at a grocery store. And especially don’t worry yourself with any little messes or imperfections in your house that you just didn’t get to. Your guests, (have we said this enough yet?) just want to see you! They want to enjoy some quality time with their family and friends, and you’ve given them the opportunity to do just that. So pat yourself on the back, you did it! They’re here! And take time to just be fully present and enjoy the party.
For more ideas on creating intentional, spirit-filled gatherings of all kinds, this book from Emily Belle Freeman, Katie Hughes, and Jessica Kettle is a must. Inside The Gathering Home, you will find stories, ideas, and resources to help you plan intentional gatherings and bring the Spirit of Christ into your everyday gatherings and weekly rhythms.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20)