Throwing a great dinner party is, of course, about excellent food, but it is also about having good conversation and a relaxed atmosphere. Being relaxed might be difficult when you’re trying to cook several dishes at the same time as well as making sure all your guests are happy and not rifling through your cupboards and checking for dust (see Come Dine With Me for reference). This is why preparation is the key to a dinner party that everyone can enjoy, including you!
A Week Before
Start to think about what you want to serve. Decide whether you will make separate dishes for those with special dietary needs, such as vegans or vegetarians, or make one dish that fits all. Flick through your recipe books and think big, if money or skill were no object, what would you serve? You could cheat and just get take away meals or a catered service such as www.dewintons.co.uk but make sure you have pretty plates and serving bowls- it’s all about presentation.
Consider a theme. The season, such as summer; a certain cuisine, such as Italian; a holiday, such as Valentine’s; or your favourite movie are all great ideas for themes and mean that the menu, decor and music should all fall into place.
Make sure you have matching cutlery and crockery- or if you’re not going for matching, then at least make sure you have enough!
The Day Before
You should have by now figured out your menu and even had a test run if you’re feeling unconfident, so raid your cupboards and figure out what you already have. Then make the biggest, most comprehensive checklist that you can, from what you need to buy to what you need to do. There is nothing more satisfying than checking things off a list.
Then, go shopping.
Make a playlist that lasts about three hours. This should cover you for the entirety of your dinner party and you shouldn’t have to worry about it at all.
Think about what you will wear. It may seem silly, but knowing exactly what you will wear will take another little stress off your mind, even if it is just jeans and t-shirt.
On The Day
During the day, make the dessert and prepare and decorate the table or the area where you will eat. As your guests arrive, make sure that you have aperitifs and snacks available in case your cooking goes on a little longer than expected. Introduce people and choose spending time with your guests over perfect cooking. You could even employ them in slicing bread or picking herbs to keep them entertained and you stress free.
And the most important point is: enjoy yourself.
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