*This post was originally featured on Kel & Kate.
One of my favoriteΒ hobbies to do is to invite family and friends over for a home-cooked candlelit dinner and a bottle of wine.
Here are 7 of my favorite tips to make your next dinner party a success:
Β 1.Β Make your friendsβ€™ favorite foods: When planning the menu, consider the tastes of your guests. Nothing says β€I love youβ€ to friends more clearly than making their favorite foods. I keep a running Google Doc of my friendsβ€™ favorite and least favorite foods, as well as any allergies, and I refer back to it when planning my menu. For example, I have friends who adore watermelon, and some who canβ€™t stand the taste of cilantro, so I like to keep those little things in mind when planning the meal.
Β Β 2. Β Work party prep into your week: Make your dinner party playlist during your lunch break, plan the food youβ€™re going to serve during your morning commute, make dishes one at a time and clean one room at a time throughout the week, so by the time the weekend comes, youβ€™re ready to go!
3.Β Consider coats: Fall is here! And that means people are wearing big coats. Know where coats are going to go so that you donβ€™t have big heap of coats lying on top of your sofa. Make space in the coat closet or on your coat hanger, have adequate hangers ready, and designate someone to take them at the door.
Β 4.Β Always serve an appetizer: Have one to two appetizers ready for guests to nibble on when they arrive. This helps ease peopleβ€™s nerves and also covers you in case youβ€™re behind schedule with dinner. Some of my favorite no-cook appetizers to serve are Kerrygold grassfed cheddar, Bella Vitano, spicy salami, apple slices, sliced cucumbers seasoned with salt and pepper, salted marcona almonds, grapes, and carrot sticks.Β If I plan ahead of time, I like to serve my guacamole or maple bacon-wrapped dates. These are huge crowd-pleasers!
Β 5.Β Squeeze in: Donβ€™t fret if you have 6-8 guests at a table that only seats 4. Squeezing in at a too-small table is fun, intimate, and energetic. Consider pulling up a bench or even your coffee table to make space for extra seats.
Β 6.Β Donβ€™t forget about serving utensils: You know that moment when youβ€™re digging through your drawers to find a serving spoon while you a plate of hot food on the table and a room full of guests? Yeah, weβ€™ve all been there. Before the party begins, set out a pair of tongs, serving fork, or spoon to use with each dish.
Β 7.Β Donβ€™t forget to have fun! Dinner parties are created by REAL people, not by designers, stylists, or restaurant chefs. Real people make mistakes and messes. If something goes wrong, donβ€™t panic. Instead of making your friends feel uncomfortable that youβ€™re stressed, just go on with the evening. Enjoy your friendsβ€™ company, and have fun!