The holidays are here, that means more hosting and entertaining. There are some things that are always guaranteed when hosting a dinner party. Your closest friends will arrive first to help out. If your guests are from various circles in your life, mingling may not flow as smoothly. While you are adding the final touches to your entrees, your kitchen will suddenly become the center of social activity. While these factors are not detrimental to the festivities, or your final preparations, some pre-planning will help the night progress smoothly and ensure that all the guests enjoys themselves.

Have Pre-Dinner Drinks

Set up a table that acts as the bar, so guests can enjoy pre-dinner drinks. It’s not necessary to have a fully stocked bar, but instead, create a signature drink for the night. Name the drink something that goes along with the theme for the party, and have the beverage made before guests arrive. Serve it in a gorgeous punch bowl or carafe. For other options, stock the bar with wine and beer. Keep space on the bar for other bottles that your guests may bring, along with a serving dish for the ice. If some of your guests don’t drink alcohol, be sure to have a tasty option beyond juice and soda.

Have Pre-Made Conversation Name-Tags/Party Game

This is a fun game to get the conversation flowing and bonding going between your guests. The game is called “Ask Me About…” Prior to the dinner party, create name tags that say “Ask me about,” then add a funny topic to each name tag. For example:

  • · The craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed
  • · The worst date ever
  • · How I knew my spouse was not perfect
  • · My annoying co-worker

Have your guests pick up a name tag as they enter the house, and require them to ask at least five other guests about their name tag. This is a great icebreaker that allows your guests to get to know each other. Once dinner is served, everyone can share the stories at the table.

Create a Great Playlist

Set the mood by playing music in the background. This is easier than ever, with free streaming music services you can create a list that will allow your company to enjoy the music selection while entertaining conversation. In other words, you want the music to blend in the background, and not over-power during the evening. The volume should be set low, and the music should not have so many words that it conflicts with the conversations at the table.

Use Tried and True Recipes

Your dinner party is not the time to try out that new exotic recipe that your saw on Pinterest. Stick to recipes that are easier for you to prepare, and are guaranteed to satisfy your guests. When choosing your meal, keep in mind some of the dietary restrictions of your guests  such as vegetarian, gluten-free options, and allergies.

Send “Thank You” Notes

Handwritten notes are always a gracious touch post-dinner party. Start the note by addressing the individual, and then write something that was memorable about the person for the night. End the note with the “thank you,” and how their presence enhanced and made the night enjoyable.

Francina James

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