I know most of us enjoy going to a dinner party, but we’re often more hesitant to host one ourselves. The idea of it can be pretty overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Today I thought I’d share some tips to help you have a stress free dinner party – and I’d love to hear your tips too!
Don’t over commit to the food options
Just because you’re hosting a dinner party doesn’t mean you need to serve elaborate meals (unless you enjoy that!). Don’t feel like you need to cook something brand new either – tried and true recipes are excellent choices because you know exactly how long things will take, and what you need to do. You don’t have to impress your friends with fancy food, as long as it’s tasty they’ll be happy!
Choose prep-ahead food
When planning your menu think about how much of a recipe you can prepare in advance, to limit the work both on the day, and after your guests have arrived. Even preparing your sauces, chopping your veggies and the like can help create a stress free dinner party.
Don’t be afraid to order in
There’s also nothing saying you have to do the cooking for a dinner party! People are there to spend time with you and have a good time, most of the time the food is secondary. So, if ordering in food, or buying some of those meals you just have to finish cooking, will reduce your stress levels then go for it.
Remember why people are there
Often the reason we put off hosting people is all the other ‘work’ that comes from it. For some reason we feel the need to deep clean our houses, tidy the garden, clean out the pantry – you name it. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never noticed any of that stuff when I’ve been at dinner parties before – sure, a general tidy up is important but there’s no reason to go overboard. It all comes back to remembering why people are there – to catch up and spend time together.
Source a pre-made playlist
Having the right music can help set the mood for your dinner party, but sometimes the thought of preparing the perfect playlist is just a step too far. Thankfully, there are some excellent people out there who have done all the hard work for you, and I’m sure you will be able to find something to suit your needs. Zoe Foster-Blake is a good person to start with, she has some excellently curated Spotify playlists!
Make sure you plan ahead including timing
One of the most important ways to ensure a stress free dinner party is to properly plan ahead. This means writing out exactly what you need to prepare, including how long everything takes to cook and what pans/appliances you need to use. There’s nothing worse than getting in to the cook and realising that you simultaneously need the oven at two very different temperatures, or that you won’t have enough pans to cook everything. Do this before you head out and buy your ingredients in case you discover you need to change up any of your plans.
Serve food buffet style
I find thinking about preparing individual serves of meals a much more stressful way to cook. Portion sizes, suiting everyone’s needs, there’s just so much to consider. Serving food buffet style reduces a lot of that stress – you can provide more options so people can pick and choose, plus they can serve themselves as much or as little as they like. There are also endless food options that suit buffet style – from hearty salads to curries, build your own tacos, you name it. It’s my favourite way to eat too!
Set up the night before
One of the simplest things you can do to create a stress free dinner party is to set up everything the night before. Set the table, get the cutlery sorted, have all your serving dishes out and ready, you name it. The less you have to leave to the day the more relaxed you’ll feel, and the more you will enjoy yourself!