Food,  My Life

Hosting a Dinner Party?…

Happy Monday and first day of June! Hope you got to enjoy some downtime this weekend before the week kicks off.  I always feel like we need an extra day to relax!

We had a busy weekend! We hosted two dinner parties back to back – Friday & Saturday.  Friday night, we had 7 people and Saturday night we had 6 people (including us) so a full house to say the least.  We absolutely love hosting but when we book dinner parties back to back, there’s a lot of planning, prepping, and organization involved to ensure we don’t work around the clock.

Here are a few tips on how to throw a dinner party that is fun, easy to prep, and still follows dinner party etiquette.

1. Prepare & Organize During the Week. Every evening last week, I organized the house so I didn’t have to do everything the night before the party.  One night last week, I mopped the floors, another night I cleaned the toilets, and the night before the party I cleaned the kitchen – I even had a girls night that evening and still came home and cleaned. The only thing I had to do when I got home on Friday was prepare the food!

2. Set the table. One thing I absolutely love doing is setting the table for guests. Before I left for work on Friday morning, I set up our dining room table so that was one less thing I had to do.  On my way home, I picked up flowers and put together a sweet centerpiece. I love pulling out fun napkins and placemats and setting them up.  I also place water glasses and wine glasses at each setting so it’s readily available when we sit to eat. Lastly, I top the table off with a water pitcher and a wine decanter. I usually pour the wine in there about an hour before we eat so it can breathe. To me, a table is so special because you make such fun memories while you’re sitting there, you tell stories, laugh hard, and have great conversation with your friends and family.  Why not make it special and add details that your guests won’t forget?

Table is set

Placemats: World Market • Plates: Kate Spade • Silverware: Kate Spade • Glasses: Crate & Barrel • Napkins: World Market • Centerpiece: Z Gallerie • Wine Decanter: Crate & Barrel • Water Pitcher: Crate & Barrel

Centerpieceplace setting 23. Keep it simple. Prepare a main dish, i.e. chicken, steak, or fish, and a side, i.e, corn or veggies.  Cook your main dish on the grill so you don’t have to dirty your kitchen. Summer has started so everyone wants to be outside anyway.  This weekend, we cooked balsamic glazed & jerk spice glazed half chickens from Whole Foods on the green egg plus BBQ’d some corn. The only prep work I had to do was butter the corn and wrap them in foil.  The chicken was already prepared which made my life super easy. I just grabbed them out of the fridge and Chuck threw them on the grill. Done and Done!

Corn Prep

4. Ask your Guests to Bring Something. Most of the time your guests will offer to bring something and if/when they do, take them up on it.  We asked our guests to bring a salad and an app one night and a dessert and an app the other night. That way I have less to prepare and you get the opportunity to taste another dish that you may love but wouldn’t have thought of.

full plate

5. Drink of Choice. Know your guests drink of choice before they arrive. Most of the time your guests will ask if they can bring a bottle of wine or beer but I love knowing if they love martinis or vodka/soda with a splash of lime so I can have it prepared for them when they arrive. This is just an extra touch that I try to do for our friends and family when they come over so they leave happy that they got to drink their favorite beverage.

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