If you’ve never hosted one before, the idea of a dinner party can be kind of intimidating. In reality, you’re really just having some pals over for some drinks, eats and good conversation. Don’t stress out. You will find that a dinner party can be a really nice way to show your friends some love.
For some, playing hostess is actually so fun, it’s addictive. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind for your first time at it.
An inviting table setting is a crucial part of your dinner party. If you don’t want to stick place mats, coasters and napkins at each place setting, don’t feel obligated. This is your dinner party, you should do it how you want. Mix and matched cutlery, cups and plates can be fun and look creative. (Just make sure there’s enough to go around!) Get a bunch of fresh flowers, light some tall candles, and have it all set up before your guests come.
Keep appetizers short and sweet. Usually, no one lingers over apps for hours. If your guests do, you’ll get a sense. All you need is some cheese and crackers, grapes, figs, or crudites to whet your whistles before dinner (aim for about 5 pieces per person). Ideally, the meal will be ready to be served about 45 minutes after your guests arrive.
Prepare dinner the night before so you don’t have to keep running into the kitchen. You can make a killer meal even if you have no cooking confidence. Just make sure your ingredients are good and your dishes are simple. Make a big bowl of tossed salad, set out a basket of buns, and a tasty main dish, like a lasagna or mac and cheese. A nice idea for winter is a hearty stew or soup. Set dishes out so guests can help themselves. Another option is to do a fun interactive style dinner like a taco bar. Set out chopped lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream and chili and taco shells and have at it.
Serving a choice of red or white wine is nice. (If your guests have proper dinner party etiquette, they’ll bring a bottle to donate to the night!)
For dessert, a plate of cookies (bonus if they’re homemade), or squares (ie – Rice Krispie squares. Who doesn’t love those?) are great picks. But a box of store-bought truffles is totally fine, too!