Fall Dinner Parties- Five Pointers for Seamless, At-Home Entertaining

Fall Dinner Parties
—Five Pointers for Seamless, At-Home Entertaining

Set a timeline.
Although it doesn’t have to be an elaborate schedule, the best-laid plans have just that, a plan. Put the pencil to the paper and plot out what you will be serving for both food and beverage, a shopping list for food and flowers. Having a larger group? Perhaps consider hiring an extra hand for the evening to help with food prep and clean up.

Meal Planning.
Decide what you will be serving and stick to your list. Whether you have hired a chef to assist with the meal, or you are planning to cook yourself, carefully consider your guest list and make sure that you will have something for everyone. In our world of ever-changing dietary restrictions, when in doubt, always have an all-in-one gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian dish on hand.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
Have you ever walked into someone’s home and they are just beginning to cook something, from scratch? You automatically jump in to help, and rather than being able to sit and socialize, you end up chopping onions and washing casserole dishes. How to avoid this? Pre-cook, pre-chop, pre-plate anything and everything that you can before your guests arrive. Of course there will always be finishing touches, but go ahead and have the kitchen cleaned up before your guests arrive. The best parties are always the ones that look like they were planned effortlessly, and the reason for that is all of the pre-planning that the host put into the party. When your guests arrive it is time to take off the chef hat and put on the host/hostess hat.

Set the table beforehand and with consideration.
Having a large dinner? Make sure you will have enough seating for everyone. Serving three courses? Go ahead and pre-set the tables with the proper flatware so as to not leave your guests scrambling when the dessert arrives. Think through the menu and make sure you are properly prepared with all of the correct utensils and serving ware before guests arrive.

Décor goes a long way.
Go ahead and pull out the linen napkins that you despise to iron, or the crystal glassware that requires a hand washing. What is the point of having these beautiful things if they only live on shelves? Plan a centerpiece (low flower arrangements are a must in order to avoid blocking line of sight). Lastly, don’t forget about the ambiance. Make sure you turn the lamps on, kill the overhead lights, burn a scented candle and turn your iTunes playlist up. Make your guests feel like you went the extra mile for them, and they feel welcome in your home.

Start small, and each time you entertain, plan to add one extra element to your process. After a few trial runs, you will be a pro in no time!