How to Host a Fantastically Low Stress Dinner Party

Low Stress Dinner PartyHow to Host a Fantastically Low Stress Dinner Party

There are many occasions for which a dinner party is a perfect celebration: a new home, a new job, a big promotion—or just a Friday night when you’d like to get together with your favorite friends and acquaintances.  We’ll share some strategies to help it be a low stress dinner party.  The goal is so you can enjoy it as well, while you are hosting it.

Hosting a dinner party yourself also has many benefits that attending someone else’s dinner party does not have.  You pick the food, you pick the music, and, most importantly, you pick the guests. At a dinner party that you host yourself, there is little chance of an awkward encounter with someone you didn’t want to see again.

However, even though this type of stress is eliminated when you host a dinner party, there are myriad other factors that can make hosting a stressful endeavor. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to host both a memorable and low stress dinner party.

Don’t Try To Do Too Much

The most important thing to remember when hosting low stress dinner party is to keep it as simple as possible. Offering the high style and entertainment that your guests will enjoy is much appreciated by them.  Choose to either make an extraordinary, stand-out cocktail or hors d’oeuvres that will keep everyone talking for the week to come. Don’t try to do both. It is alright to pick up appetizers at a local restaurant.  See my post Totally Amazing Appetizer Shrimp & Cheese Dip Recipe as a possibility.

Additionally, don’t go overboard on cocktails that you serve at the party. It’s better to choose a super simple, delicious cocktail that is a breeze to make.

Spend Time on the Guest List

Carefully selecting the guests who will attend the party is essential for the party to go off without a hitch. It is important to take your time to think about how the guests interact with each other.  Consider what they have in common and what they may have conflict on. Try to choose guests who will have many topics to discuss with each other so there is a wealth of conversation opportunities.  You want to minimize the dreaded awkward silences over drinks and dinner.

Avoid choosing many people who are strangers.  If you do invite people who have never met, make sure that they have a mutual friend or other means of connecting at the party. It is also a good idea to begin building your guest list by choosing one person who is your “anchor guest.” This is a person who is specifically chosen as the life of the party.  Preferably someone who has a great sense of humor and can make everyone laugh. Every party needs this person.

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Recruit Lots of Help

Don’t try to do it all on your own! Find friends or family members who are great cooks, amateur mixologists, or who can simply lend a hand when you need one. If you try to do everything yourself at your dinner party, not only will you be stressed out, but there will come a time when you simply cannot meet all of the needs of your guests. While you are making drinks, someone else should be handling the music, while someone else makes sure the house stays tidy.

These helpers can be close friends who are guests of the party, who assist you in running things more smoothly. When you’re hosting a dinner party, it is important to have time to relax and enjoy yourself, as impossible as that might seem. You should enjoy your guests’ company. That is where party helpers come in very handy.

Make the Entrée Ahead of Time

Carefully select an entrée that tastes even better if it is allowed to set overnight. Examples include a braise or a stew. Having this portion of the dinner set aside and ready to go the night before, will take an enormous weight off your shoulders.  Then all you have to do is heat the meal during cocktails.  It also conveys the care and detail that you have put into the dinner party.

Make Dessert Ahead of Time

Another portion of the meal that you can make ahead of time is the dessert. Choose something that will not melt, like a cake, pie or pudding.  Make it the day before the party. This is essential because during the dessert course is when the party will be beginning to wind down.  It is important that you are present to thank guests for coming and not off in the kitchen.

You might also enjoy my post Turn Your Hearty Soups & Stews into an Elegant Experience.

With these simple tips, your next hosting should be a fairly low stress dinner party. It is sure to be both beautiful and stress-free!

Until next time,

Valerie Garner

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Low Stress Dinner Party

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