Planning The Perfect Dinner Party

Planning a dinner party does not have to a daunting task. Learn how to host the perfect dinner party with this guide.

People do not seem to entertain as much today as the used to. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that it can be intimidating. Actually, a well-planned dinner party is well within the scope of even the most modest cook and homemaker, and once you successfully have one party, you will be hooked. The first step is to decide on your guest list. Of course you can invite all couples, but if you are inviting single folks as well, make sure that there is an even number of people. There is no need to attempt to play matchmaker, just having an even number will make for an easier presentation of dinner, as well as make it easier to socialize without someone feeling left out. You can invite as many or as few people as you like, but eight is really a good number to start out with. This is enough people to keep the conversation going, but not so many as to be a burden to cook for.

Now that you have narrowed down your list of invitees, it is time to mail out the invitations. It is generally best to mail out the invitations at least two weeks before the party, but around the holidays, you may want to give yourself a full month. As you start to get R.S.V.P.'s back, you can begin to plan your menu.

There are several ways to plan your evening meal. You can have hors d' orves, served buffet style, or you can have a sit down meal around the dining room table. If you go for the buffet style meal, plan your meal so that there are plenty of options for your guests to choose from. While some people will think nothing of diving hand over fist into barbecue ribs, others will go hungry rather than risk walking around with sauce on their shirt all evening. A good mix would be to have about half cold food and half hot, including a tray of cheeses and crackers, and some fruit. Everyone will enjoy these, and will allow you to try some adventurous dishes, confident that there will be something everyone will like. If you decide on a sit down dinner, you will want to provide a light first course, perhaps a soup or salad, as well as the entrée, with side dishes, and a dessert. You may also plan to have some fresh fruit for dessert, for those people who do not eat sweets.

Once you have decided on a menu, make sure that you know how to prepare everything. This is not the time to experiment with new dishes, if you want to try something new, test it on your family ahead of time. Be certain that you have all of the necessary ingredients. Nothing will throw you off schedule quicker than having to make an emergency run to the grocery store.

Try to have as much done ahead of time as possible so that on the day of your party you only have to prepare the food and get yourself ready. This means having the house cleaned and any dishes that can be prepared ahead of time completed. The day of your party, relax, prepare the meal and allow yourself plenty of time to shower and dress for the party. Be sure to have some music selected and playing softly. Once guests start to arrive, take time to great them, invite them into the kitchen if the seem interested and enjoy yourself. The preparation should pay off, and you should have a wonderful time.

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