5 Tips for Throwing a Dinner Party

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If you love entertaining and you love cooking, a dinner party is a great way to combine the two. Who wouldn’t love a night of fun, delicious food and good conversation with friends? Here are a few helpful tips to plan a great party that everyone will enjoy.

Give Plenty of Notice

If you want as many people to come as possible, make sure you give everyone plenty of notice so they can work your event into their schedule. Those in the know about party planning recommend sending out invites at least 10 days prior to the party.

Special Dietary Needs

Unless you are very familiar with the ‘’food situation’’ of every guest, you should find out before hand if anyone has any special dietary needs. Do not just assume someone will contact you with any special requests, as some people may feel uncomfortable doing so. Include a note with the invitation asking anyone to contact you and inform you of any food restrictions.

Meal Planning Considerations

Grab a pen and paper and rifle through some cookbooks and favorite cooking websites. If any of your guests do have special dietary requirements, make a note of this from the start to guide your recipe selection. Think about what foods are in season and what you may already have at home that you can use. You do not have to plan everything exactly at this moment, but at least you can give your shopping trip some focus. For example, you might decide to make a vegetable lasagna, but you can select the vegetables and cheeses you will use when you actually get to the supermarket. Some would suggest making things you have made before, or at least new dishes that are not overly complicated. A test run may be a good idea if you are experimenting with new recipes.

A low-maintenance meal will allow you to spend more time with your guests, rather than holed up in the kitchen. For example, you can warm up the lasagna while enjoying appetizers with everyone, rather than being stuck in the kitchen cooking up the fajita fillings, which need to be served fresh off the grill. Keep dessert simple.

Gather Everything Early

Do not wait until the last minute to get everything you need for the party. Write out every item you need to buy and go to the store at least a couple of days in advance; there may be some exceptions, such as items that need to be super-fresh. Group all the items you need by recipe to make sure you have not forgotten anything. To save some money, you can purchase white wine and other alcoholic beverages on a variety of websites for a discount.

At the Party

Your guests will surely arrive hungry, but do not serve the main course right away. Have some appetizers and cocktails ready and give your guests some time to unwind. Create some ambience by turning the lights down and placing some candles around the party area. Have some music playing in the background and mix up the selections throughout the evening.  Set the table according to the season and get some nice, fresh flowers for a centerpiece. Have some fun games on hand for after the meal.

About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things parties and entertainment. She recommends visiting citywinecellar.com for a great selection of wines for any event.

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