15 steps to pull off a fabulous dinner party!

Hosting a dinner party can be a challenge. So many questions to be answered. So much self doubt to fight off. Sometimes you just want someone to tell you “you’ve got this!” and maybe tell you how to pull it off?   

1.You’ve got this!!!

2. Here’s a checklist


  1. Keep the menu simple. Stick to things you’ve cooked before.

  2. Prepare and cook as much of the food ahead of time as possible (1-3 days ahead)

  3. Heat up/assemble what needed just before guests arrive.

Ambiance / tableware

4. Set your table properly: fork on the left. knife, spoon, chopsticks on the right. Napkin in the middle of the plate or under the fork(s). Water and wine glasses line up with the point of the knife or chopsticks. Wine glass lines up to the right of water glass.



5. Use what you’ve got — use water pitchers as vases, light whatever candles you’ve got, put music on with whatever speaker you have — create a  playlist ahead of time  — connect anything besides your phone to bluetooth to avoid interruptions.

6. Drinks - set up simple self service bar. Tray on countertop with bottles, glasses, wine opener, bucket or bowl of ice — buy ice beforehand and keep in a cooler to save space (1 pound of ice per guest)


7. Fill up hand soap. Hand lotion (optional)

8. Hand-towels clean and stocked.

9. Extra Credit- set out washcloths to dry hands and a basket to catch used washcloths.

10. Light a scented candle.

11. Extra toilet paper roll easily found.

12. Find a box with a lid — place tampon/pads inside the box. Leave it on top of the toilet.

13. Extra Credit: floating votives:  In a clean bathtub — fill with 2 inches of water and float votive candles.


Living/Dining Room

14. Get rid of old magazInes and newspapers hanging around.

15. Straighten up your sofa, coffee table, shelves and floors(do a quick sweep.)

And finally...

Just remember the whole reason for your dinner party - spending time with people you care about. The less you have to do, day of, the more time you get to spend with them.

Stock up on glasses, stemware, candles, plates if necessary: We stock our home with IKEA water and wine glasses by the half dozen. If a glass breaks, it doesn’t hurt the wallet. Crate and Barrel and CB2 also have beautiful and affordable dinner and glassware.

Use what you have — chairs, sofa, ottoman, desks, coffee tables can all be used as seating and tables. We once used a few large coolers as seating for an Easter brunch.

Don't aim for perfection. Aim for having fun and relaxing.

Let me know how it goes. Send me your thoughts, questions and suggestions below.