banquet table in dark restaurant with loft style

How to Set Up For Your Next Dinner Party

close up photo of dinnerware set on top of table with glass cups
Photo by Mat Brown on

Dinner parties are some of the greatest times…for your guests. But for the person hosting, dinner parties can be quite stressful. While all your guests have to do is show up, you’re stuck getting through an endless to do list before they all arrive. Well guess what! Dinner parties don’t have to be stressful for the host. In fact, they can be just as enjoyable for the host as they are for the guest. If you plan in advance and follow the tips below, I am almost certain your experience as a host will be much more enjoyable.

1. Stock up on cleaning products

crop housekeeper with pink bottle of cleaner
Photo by Anna Shvets on

I did a post just yesterday on the cleaning products you need to have in your home at all times. I’ve attached it here for your convenience. Stocking up on these products will have you covered for your upcoming dinner party. You’ll also feel less stressed knowing you have everything you need in case a mess is made.

2. Clean your house

faceless person cleaning mirror with sponge
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Before you start preparing for your dinner party, make sure your house is pristine. Waiting until the last minute to clean will only stress you out.

3. Prepare

person holding white plastic tray
Photo by cottonbro on

Preparing isn’t just about getting the table ready, or knowing what food you’re going to serve, it’s also about clearing the trash and the dish washer. You want to make sure that once everyone has left, you can easily and quickly transfer trash into the trash, and dishes into the dishwasher without any interruptions. So, on the day of the dinner party, make sure to take your trash out and clear your dishwasher. Setting the table can be done whenever, whether it’s an hour before your guests arrive or two days prior, that is completely up to you and the amount of time it’s going to take you to set your table. But do not wait till the last minute to set your table. Knowing what food you’re going to serve is not something you should be deciding on the day of your dinner party either. Prepare accordingly so it’s a breeze when your friends arrive. Think about if you’re going to serve hors d’oeuvres, if your serving meat or chicken that needs to be defrosted, if you’re baking a cake for dessert, etc., and plan accordingly.

4. Get the kitchen ready

crop woman sprinkling board with flour to knead dough
Photo by Katerina Holmes on

Since you already know what you’re going to serve your guests, it’s time to get your kitchen ready. Will the food you’re preparing require cutting boards and specific knives? Great, take those out and have them ready to go. Will you be serving drinks on a tray? Lovely, leave those trays out so when the drinks are ready, the tray is there. Cooking something on the stove? Have your pans there already waiting for you. The goal is to minimize your tasks as much as possible so that your dinner party runs smoothly and you get to enjoy as much as your guests will.

5. More on preparing the table

variety of fruits on table
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

I wrote a post on how to set a formal dinner table and have attached it here for your convenience. This is of course just one way to set the table, I realize that not everyone is going for a formal vibe. However, the overall message I’m trying to get across is to have the table set prior to your guests arriving. What I mean by this is, know exactly the vibe you’re going for, the things you’re going to want to have on your table (such as flowers, candles, place cards, etc.), where you’re serving plates are going to go, what set of plates, glasses and silverware you’re going to use, etc. This way, you’ll know exactly what your table is going to look like, leaving little room for surprises.

6. Timeline of the party and menu

churro with avocado sauce and lavender dessert served on table

Know the order of how your dinner party will go down. If you’re serving hors d’oeuvres in a different room than where the dinner is taking place, know how you’re going to direct your guests there in advance. If you’re serving soup at the dinner table, know that this is the first dish that’s coming out. Know what’s coming after the soup. Basically, leave no room for surprises. If there’s a card game you want to play after dinner, have it set up already. If everything is planned to a tee, you’ll know exactly what’s coming, when it’s coming. This way, everything will run smoothly.

7. Be in high spirits

happy women with champagne and tinsel laughing near balloons
Photo by Julia Larson on

Nothing makes people more uncomfortable than a stressed out host. Not because you’re weird for stressing out or anything, but if you’re noticeably stressed, your guests are going to feel obligated to ask if you need help and if everything’s ok. That takes from their experience and from yours. Planning accordingly is the only way to avoid this, so make sure you do so. And last but not least, enjoy! You planned an incredible dinner party, and your guests are so happy to be there. Make sure you are just as happy to host them.

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