Dinner party planning is essential to ensure your party is a success. However, depending on the number of guests and the size of your apartment, planning your dinner party can be quite difficult. Fortunately, with a little forethought, you can turn a difficult task into a breeze, and have fun the entire time.
Decide What to Serve
The first step after inviting your guests is to plan what you will serve for dinner. Do not despair, though, because you do not need to plan a complicated or multi-course meal; your guests will appreciate any amount of effort on their behalf. When planning the dinner, consider your guests allergies, if any, and dislikes, if you know them. This will prevent you from making the mistake of presenting something a guest cannot or will not eat.
Unless you are an experienced cook, do not create too complex of a meal. Planning several intricate dishes will be too time consuming and stressful and may force you to stand in front of the stove for the entire party rather than mingle with your guests. Keep the food simple or, at the very least, plan only one complicated dish. You might want to consider purchasing some ready-made items from your grocery store or favorite restaurant to supplement your cooking. By transferring these items to different plates, your guests will never know it was not created in your kitchen.
While it has been occurring more frequently lately, some consider it impolite to ask your guests to contribute food or drinks to the party. It is your job as the hostess to provide the elements of the party. Should your guests choose of their own volition to contribute, gratefully accept their offerings, but do not ask for their assistance.
Clean the House
When hosting guests, you want your apartment to look its best. Thoroughly clean your apartment the week before the party, paying special attention to the bathrooms. Wash and iron the table linens and bathroom towels to ensure they are fresh-smelling and looking. Because your will have already cleaned your house, you will only need to make a perfunctory sweep of the area the day of the party.
Purchase the Food and Drinks
Purchase any needed food or drinks two to three days prior to the party. Do not make your purchases too far in advance, though, as your food items may spoil before it is time for their use. Pre-purchasing the food and drinks means that there is one less thing you have to do at the last minute.
Plan the Centerpieces
No table is complete without a centerpiece. Whether you choose to use flowers, candles, lamps or objects d’art, a centerpiece will tie the party together and make it seem truly festive, rather than just a random gathering of friends. If you need to order fresh flowers or purchase items for your centerpieces, do so the week before the party.
Set the Table
Set the table the night before the party so that the task is done early. Use the fresh linens you washed and lay out the necessary plates, bowls, glasses and utensils. Unless they have not been delivered, place the centerpieces on the table also. Your goal is to set the table so thoroughly that all you will need to add is the food.
Depending on your menu, you may need to start cooking a few hours prior to the guests impending arrival. Plan the order in which you will make your dishes so that everything will be done twenty to thirty minutes after your guest’s arrival.
Throwing a dinner party is a great way to show off your apartment and culinary abilities. Because your apartment might not be very large, planning ahead is essential for your party to be a success.