There are few things more exciting than hosting a dinner party. If you’re like me, your head starts whirring with ideas days in advance about what to cook, who to invite and where to seat them. But if you’ve never hosted before or found yourself stuck in a rut creatively, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways for anyone – even those without any previous hosting experience – to start improving their skills right away. Read on for six ways to be an epic host!
Start by Planning Ahead
When planning your next dinner party, try to give yourself a few day’s advance notice. This way, you have time to think things through and set aside the appropriate amount of time (and money) for shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. Even if it’s just an informal gathering with friends or family members you see frequently – not everyone can drop by without warning on any given day! So make sure that when people do come over, they’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy themselves in your home instead of worrying about where their coats are located or whether there will be enough food available once all seven courses are finished being served at midnight. (LOL just kidding! Please don’t serve seven courses unless you’re a pro chef!)
You can also plan your cooking timeline. I like to write down an hourly timetable so that I know exactly what needs to be done and when, so that I can stick to the time I want to serve the meal. This is especially important so that your guests are not waiting around hungry. You can find out more about how to plan your cooking timeline here.
Create a Menu that Guests will Love
One of the easiest ways to ensure your dinner party is a success is planning a menu that guests will love. This doesn’t mean you have to slave over the stove for hours on end or spend an arm and a leg at the grocery store – in fact, quite the opposite! There are plenty of easy (and affordable) recipes out there that will please even the most discerning palates, so why not try this recipe for chile verde, or this recipe for a Simple Salmon Supper. It looks impressive but doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make.
Familiar menu ideas can also be jazzed up to make it extra special and fun. For instance, you could have a gourmet burger bar with different fun toppings, such as fancy cheeses or artisan sauces. Or perhaps making your favorite hearty soup recipe, and including a smorgasbord of different toppings so everyone can make a bowl in their own special way.
Take some time to browse through cookbooks, online recipe sites, or your favorite food blogs until you find something that sounds enticing. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members what their favorite dishes are – they’re sure to have some great recommendations, or they may even offer to bring it to the gathering!
Prepare as Much as You Can in Advance
Once you’ve settled on a menu, try to prepare as much of it in advance as possible. This will save you time and energy during the party itself, ensuring that your guests don’t experience any unnecessary delays or hiccups throughout the evening. So make sure to chop vegetables ahead of time and cook side dishes like rice or noodles early so they can cool off properly before being served later on down the road (and avoid serving them at lukewarm temperatures). In fact, if there’s one thing that’s recommended, it’s worth doing well in advance for every dinner party – aside from shopping for groceries – and deciding what wine pairings work best with each dish. I’m not a wine connoisseur so this blog post is super helpful!
Make the Evening Run Smoothly
Now that all the prep work is out of the way, it’s time to focus on hosting itself. This means ensuring everyone has a good time and feels comfortable throughout the evening – starting right when they walk in your front door! Set the scene by making your home inviting, with a warm welcome at the door, cozy areas to sit and some music playing. Have plenty of beverages available (preferably not wine until after dinner begins), as well as appetizers or snacks if you’re planning a later meal. If people arrive at different times during the night, be prepared by setting the alarm for specific intervals so that everything doesn’t get served at once. And finally, don’t worry too much about cleaning up afterward since guests will likely pitch in with this part of things anyway – do what you can beforehand so that nothing gets left behind for your next dinner party!
Ensure Your Table Looks Great
One of the most important aspects of any dinner party is the table setting. This is your chance to show off your best china, silverware, and glassware – not to mention creativity! So take some time beforehand to plan out how you want everything to look. Will you be using a formal or more relaxed style? What about color schemes – will everything be monochrome, or will there be pops of bright hues throughout? Once you’ve decided on a style, make sure to stick with it from beginning to end so that guests feel like they’re really in for something special when they sit down at your table.
End on a Sweet Note!
No dinner party is complete without dessert! So make sure to have something sweet and delicious waiting for your guests when they finish their main course. There are many options to choose from, from individual servings of cake or pudding to a large platter of assorted treats. And if you’re stuck for ideas, why not ask friends and family members what their favorite desserts are? That way, you can be sure that everyone will find something they love on the table – even those with the most discerning sweet tooth!
Some of my favorite dessert ideas are this Raspberry and Almond Butter Freezer Fudge (perfect for making ahead of time) and this Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake. Sweet, delicious and so easy to make!
So these are just 6 ways to be an epic host for future dinner parties. Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to get creative and share some of your favorite tips and tricks in the comments below.
Looking for some healthy and delicious recipe ideas for your next gathering? Check out my #1 New Release cookbook, Nourish Your Body: A 30 Day Healthy and Delicious Meal Plan!
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