Your place is done and ready to be shown off, what better way than invite your closest friends and family to take a peek at all the hard work you put into your beautiful home.
4 To 6 Weeks Before Your Dinner Party:
- Decide the theme and whether you wish to host a casual dinner party or a formal dinner.
- Establish your budget.
- Create guest list.
- Create an online invitation
3 To 4 weeks Prior To Your Dinner Party:
It’s time to start thinking about the dinner party food and decorations.
- Create a menu.
- Book caterers and bartenders if necessary. (When booking a bartender, try one of your local bartending schools, they often will work for just tips in return for the practice and experience.)
- Make a grocery list.
- Plan a cooking schedule (what can be made ahead of time, what needs to be made they day of).
- Decide on the table setting and place orders with a rental company, if needed.
- Buy or borrow serving pieces and accessories.
- Select music.
- Purchase candles or other outdoor lighting if needed. Candle light is an inexpensive way to create an elegant ambiance.
1 To 2 Weeks Prior To Your Dinner Party:
As the countdown is on and you receive RSVP’s for your dinner party here’s a checklist of things to gather and create.
- Purchase nonperishable goods.
- Decide on the types of drinks to be served. (If you hired a bartender, finalize your order)
- Consult with a florist or check out your local farmers market for great seasonal blooms.
- Place special orders with the butcher, fish market or grocery store.
- Confirm plans with the caterer, entertainer, and serving help. Arrange for a sitter to watch children and pets during the party.
- Buy gas or charcoal for the grill, if needed.
- Decide on a party outfit.
- Begin a thorough housecleaning – Let your cleaner know there will be an event, and make sure you book them for the day after as well.
2-3 Days Before Your Dinner Party:
- Clean serving ware.
- Purchase remaining grocery items.
- Check recipes for how far in advance food can be prepared.
- Start food prep.
- Create a party-day game plan.
- Determine seating arrangements- if needed.
- Print place cards, if using them.
Day Before Your Party:
- Buy a great gourmet coffee blend.
- Pick up any dry cleaning needed for the party.
- Continue housecleaning- make sure the powder room is stocked with plenty of soap and TP.
- Continue food preparation for those dishes that can be made in advance.
- Set your tablescape.
And finally, things to do the day of your dinner party
- Pick up party orders.
- Create a bar area.
- Take out extra supplies.
- Finish cooking.
- Organize the kitchen for the final countdown.
- Give yourself a breather- have a glass of wine.
- Get in party mode- the fruits of your labor are about to pay off!
With the dinner party in full swing, here are a few things to get in mind
- Try not to spend too much time in the kitchen- your guests want to see you!
- Offer refreshments in between courses.
Items to check and stock up on for your dinner party
- Make sure you have space on your coat rack, plenty of hangers or a separate room to put coats and bags in.
- Get plenty of ice and make sure you have an ice bucket, and ice tongs or scoop.
- Cocktail napkins
- Paper towels
- Plates (appetizer, salad, dinner, dessert)
- Glasses (water, wine, mixed drink, beer, soda, coffee); some beverages can use the same type of glass
- Silverware (enough for all courses and stirrers for coffee)
- If grilling, check the tank, charcoal, and lighter fuel. Make sure you have plenty of bug spray and citronella candles too.
- Coffee and assortment of tea bags
- Cream and sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Wine and bottle opener
- Bar garnishes (lime, lemon, olive)
- Garbage bags
- Dishwashing soap
- Club soda (for spills and spots)
- Space to chill beverages. It only takes beer, wine and soda 20 minutes to chill on ice. A large tub or cooler can be set up in a room out of the way.
After your smashing dinner party, keep a journal. Include what you served, who was there, and how it went. Make notes on how to improve your next dinner party as well as what made this one successful!