5 Tips for a Smoother Dinner Party

Leah's List

Having people over can feel daunting and overwhelming but I'm here to tell you that it is totally something anyone can do, and it's something everyone should do more often! And no, your house doesn't have to look like it came out of a Serena and Lily catalog for it to happen. These are a few tips and tricks I've always carried with me when having people over to my house. 

1. Have an appetizer out when people arrive

Give people a little something to snack (and/or drink) on when they arrive so they're not staring at you waiting for dinner to be ready. Having an appetizer doesn’t have to mean something fancy. Usually some party mix, olives and/or a bit of cheese will do the trick!

 2. Always have an item that doesn't need to be cooked

Basically anything that has "salad" attached to its name - Caprese Salad, Pasta Salad, Coleslaw (okay that doesn't have salad in it but it's the name thing). Having an item that doesn’t need to be cooked is super helpful for freeing up that coveted stove and oven space. Bonus points if it can be made the day before and kale is great for that!

3. If someone asks to help, give them guidance on how 

I don’t generally ask for help (unless it’s like a Friendsgiving situation) but if someone wants to help, I’ll tell them what would help the most! Maybe I need napkins or forgot to pick up a white wine option for people. Whatever it is, I find it easier to tell people how they can help when they ask! That way, you don't end up with a tray of chocolate chip cookies when you already had some key lime pie ready.

4. Outsource at least one item

Speaking of key lime pie - I personally would never make that myself for a dinner party. I read somewhere once that a smart host knows what to cook yourself and what to outsource. Definitely never try to cook everything, unless you want to feel overwhelmed then go ahead. Usually I outsource dessert, but there are times (especially at things like Thanksgiving when your pescatarian cousin comes by and you need some other main for her) when I will do things like buy the pre-marinated salmon to make things easier. 


5. Make something you've made before

I feel like this is self-explanatory but having people over is just not the time to experiment with something new. Unless you feel confident you can do it! A good rule of thumb is to stick to what's familiar and what you know is delicious! 

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