Hosting a dinner party can be incredibly stressful and a lot of hard work. You need to make sure the house is clean from top to bottom, set the table, create an atmosphere and cook and present a delicious meal to your guests. And let’s not even go into the clearing up afterwards!
The thing is, it really doesn’t have to cause all that stress. If you concentrate on being a relaxed hostess, your guests will relax, and even if things don’t quite go to plan, you will all have a good time.
Here are a few tips to help your dinner party go with a swing, and you to appear as the host with the most!
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
Go shopping in advance to pick up all your ingredients and tableware. The last thing you want to be doing is running around the shops to find missing items on the day. Make sure the kitchen is clean and tidy early on in the day and that you have tidied up the house. Look into hiring a cleaner or rope in some friends to help you, if you think you are going to run short on time. Make sure your dishwasher is empty, ready to load the dirty ones in, as soon as they have used them.
Cook in advance
Look at recipes that don’t involve you spending all evening in the kitchen cooking. Your guests haven’t just come for the food – they have come to see you as well!. Lots of things can be cooked, or at least prepared, several hours before, if not the day before, ready to be heated up when needed. If necessary, use a few shortcuts – we won’t judge! You might decide to use pre-chopped and peeled vegetables or sauces to save some time.
Set the table
Table setting can be one of the more fun jobs to do, and you can even rope your kids into helping you. Think outside the box for something a little quirky – can your children make some place cards for your guests? Even the most elegant of dinners can be simple, though. A couple of vases of fresh-cut flowers dotted about on the table or candles can turn it from ordinary to extraordinary. You could even pop about some little succulents or glass jars with fairy lights in for something different and easy.
Think about entertainment
Some of the best dinner parties are ones where guests relax, sit back and chat and enjoy each other’s company. However, it is always a good idea to have something up your sleeve for after the meal, to fill in any awkward lulls in conversation. You might pull out a deck of cards or another game you love. If you know your guests well, you might want to do something like karaoke!
Of course, health and safety are the priority right now. What are your tips for hosting big groups for the holidays?
This post has been contributed, and it was made possible by the support of our readers.