Boy, do we love dinner parties here at Modernize. The planning, the plating, the friends complimenting you on your taste: it’s basically a design nerd’s dream.
Still, they can be stressful little affairs. But there are some smart solutions out there that can guarantee you’ll stay out of the weeds and be the belle of the buffet. Below you’ll find some of our favorite tips from menu planning to cleanup time.
Since dinner party tasks are so time-sensitive, we’ve given you a guideline for when each tip applies so that you’ll be on your game when the big night comes around. And because we know that everyone is trying to watch what they eat, we’ve tried to include some health-conscious choices where possible.
Two Weeks Before: Ask Your Guests About Dietary Restrictions
Is someone going gluten-free? They won’t be thrilled about the delicious rabbit and leek pot pies you’re planning, no matter how you butter your biscuits. Hostesses with the mostesses remember to ask their attendees about allergies and special diets before they even crack open a cookbook.
Via The Kitchn
10 Days Before: Try Out New Recipes
You don’t want to be caught in a lurch on the big day with a recipe that calls for whipped egg whites when you have nary a mixer. Unless you’re an experienced chef, the night of your party isn’t the time to be experimenting with a new recipe. And if you’re feeling stumped when it comes to selecting a menu, we love these healthy gourmet entrees from Fitness Magazine.
Via Food Network
One Week Before: Restock Your Pantry
Now that you’ve tested out your recipes, you’ve probably got a pretty good feel for what you have on hand in your kitchen. This is the perfect time to create your shopping list, but instead of writing one long log roll, divide your ingredients into two categories: buy now and buy later. Canned and packaged goods can all be purchased early. It’ll help you keep track and ensure that you’ll have another store run in the works should you forget anything.
Two Days Before: Go Shopping
The night is drawing ever nearer! Remember that other list? Now is the time to pull it out and finish up your shopping. One tip for this final shopping trip is to buy more wine and booze than you think you need—trust us, it always goes faster than you think it will. And if you’re looking for an extra special cocktail to serve, here’s a great collection of low-cal mixed drinks.
Via The Fifteen
The Night Before: Set the Table
Feeling swamped with last minute details? Well, here’s one you can cross off the list early: setting the table. You’re not going to want to stop your dinner prep to take care of your tablescape. And remember not to leave off often over-looked items like water glasses and salt and pepper!
30 Minutes Before: Fix Yourself A Drink
Everyone looks to the host for cues, so a grumpy maître d’ can totally be the iceberg to your party’s Titanic. If you’re the type to get a little stressed waiting for things to start, fix yourself a stiff drink while you do your final prepping, and the night will likely be better for it!
During: Do the Dishes
Is a hostess’s work never done? We know it’s hard to consider adding one more job to your to-do list, but you’ll thank yourself if you do the dishes while you cook, instead of letting them pile up in the sink. After all, that’s more time you’ll have to kick back with your guests.
Via Robin DuPont
Follow these tips and you’ll be the subject of toasts all night. Here’s to hitch-free hostessing!