One of my friends loves throwing wine tasting parties; bring your favorite vintage, cover the label and sip away. Another organizes routine pastry parties. And another coordinates her efforts with a local café or diner to create the perfect party ambiance for her crew. I marvel at the results, and can’t help but wonder how much work went into the planning and prepping! Seriously; dinner parties are a bit like planning a small wedding.
If you just moved into a new home (congratulations!), maybe a housewarming party is the perfect way to introduce everyone to your humble abode. Whether it’s awesome conversation, delicious recipes or bright décor you want to share, a memorable summer dinner party is just a short checklist away.
- Be Our Guest
Knowing who you want to invite is the first step. This could help determine when and where you plan your awesome event.
- Love Logistics
Should you plan a 4th of July bash at home? Maybe after the holiday in your favorite local diner would be better? If you want most of your invitees to attend, consider your guest list, and plan accordingly.
- Design Your Theme
Once you know when and where your shindig is going to take place, you can choose a theme. Whatever your style, simple and clean with pops of color and subtle flashiness will save your budget and retain your sanity; it’s easy to go crazy with decor, so do yourself a favor!
- Refreshments, Please
Bring out the BBQ and beer for a casual gathering in the backyard, or go all out with elaborate dishes served as three-course meals at your formal table. Not a fan of preparing lots of food? Encourage guests to bring their favorite dish to create a smorgasbord of food. Don’t forget the dessert! I seldom eat dessert at a restaurant, but it’s a must at any dinner party.
- Fun & Games
Is your crowd up for recreation and games? Maybe badminton or croquet is the perfect option, or perhaps a more relaxed board game is a good choice? Have some entertainment lined up! Sure, the conversation may take over and you might never get to your first round of Monopoly, but at least you’ll be prepared.
- Make It Personal
Create simple place cards (and party favors) for each guest. This little step goes a long way to a successful welcome when your guests arrive.
- Stay Cool
As a host, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially during the party. Here are some tips to help you keep calm and party on (because you should enjoy it too).
- Have hors d’oeuvres ready before any guests arrive. If people come hungry (and they often do, so they can indulge), they’ll have something to snack on.
- Delegate simple jobs to party copilots. If a close friend or family member is up for it, reach out to them for assistance setting the table, refilling drinks, etc.
- Leave dirty dishes for later. If you’re concerned about the huge mess on the dining room table, take your dessert and coffee to another room or outside. Guests will admire your chill attitude.
At the end of the day (evening, rather), have fun with your guests and don’t take it too seriously! Proper planning ahead of time should ensure a smooth, lovely, and fun party everyone will love.