Having people over for dinner can be exciting and extremely stressful. It’s nice to have friends and family — even new acquaintances over to your home for some good food and company. At the same time, there are some major stresses that come with feeding and entertaining people in your home. There’s what to feed people and how much food to make. Then there’s the worry about making your home clean and presentable, and creating an ambiance that will want them to feel welcome with a desire to come again.
While we may not be able to remove all of the anxieties that come with hosting a dinner party, we can provide you with some useful tips that will help ease the pressure so that your guests and hopefully you will be able to enjoy this special night.
1. Prepare the food ahead of time
Cooking is a messy endeavor, and the last thing you want is to have to hurry up and clean right before your guests arrive because you are still cooking last minute. Using a slow cooker is a great way to both cook delicious meals while keeping those meals warm. You could easily prepare a side salad a few hours earlier and keep it fresh in the refrigerator. Dessert can also be made in advance and chilled for a few hours.
Doing all the food prep ahead of time will leave you time to prepare your home for the company.
2. Plan the serving area
If you have a small group, this may not apply because you might be able to have all of the food at the table. However, if you have a larger group, you may want to have a separate serving area planned out.
When doing this, you need to take into consideration the placement of different foods so your guests can easily move through the line. For instance, if you are serving a rice meal with toppings, you would need to put the rice first, followed by toppings and side dishes. Perhaps consider having a separate table for drinks and desserts.
Planning your serving area well will put your guests at ease, allowing for a smooth transition to the meal.
3. Plan for garbage and/or dishes
Whether you’re using disposable dishes or your own dinnerware, you will need to plan for a place for your guests to put those dishes when dinner is over. If using paper products, make sure that your garbage is empty and big enough to handle the amount of garbage used. If you are using your own dishes, make sure that your dishwasher is empty so that you can easily load it as dishes come in.
4. Make sure there’s enough seating room
One of the most challenging parts of hosting a dinner party is making sure that there is enough room for your guests. It’s also nice to be able to have all your guests at one table to be able to carry on a conversation without having to move around the house.
If you plan on hosting several dinner parties, it might be a good idea to invest in an extended dining table so you can easily adjust it when guests come over.
Even after following all of the above tips, things may not go flawlessly, and that’s OK. The best way to hide those flaws is to be a good host who is not easily ruffled by imperfections. Smile the night away. Facilitate and participate in good conversations. Thank your guests for coming. Be a good host.
In the end, your guests may not remember the burnt Crème brûlée or even the perfectly seasoned scalloped potatoes, but they will remember how they felt in your home. So, relax, and enjoy the night, and look forward to several more night like it.