HOLIDAYS & ENTERTAINING · LIVE

How to have an impromptu dinner party

Some of the best memories I have are created with friends sharing a meal together. There is just something special about everyone sitting together and breaking bread that warms my soul.

For many the idea of hosting more than one or two people is terrifying. They get caught up in the details and can’t enjoy themselves. I’m here to tell you that you can do it. Here are a few tips:

1. Choose a meal you can make a head of time or that can be served buffet style.

Think of meals that can be made in mass quantity that can easily be plated either individually or buffet style. For example, you could make a big crisp salad, sizzling fajitas, spaghetti with spicy sausage, or a slow cooked juicy pot roast (depending on how much time you have). Ask a few friends to come an hour ahead of time to help you prepare the meal. Cooking together is fun and many times friends like to be included.

2. Keep an entertaining box.

Keep your entertaining supplies in one go-to container. Casual linens, candles, plates, cocktail napkins, etc. Keep this box up to date so all you have to do is just reach in and set up. After you use your supplies restock quickly either with the same or new items. Launder linens quickly after entertaining to remove stains and then store until your next occasion.

3. Choose a fun and easy activity for after dinner.

Once everyone has finished eating, clear the table and begin preparing for your next activity. Whether it’s a simple conversation around the table, a bonfire in the backyard or a game night, don’t rush your guests out of the house. Invite them to stay at least another hour. A few fun group games I suggest are: Five second rule, Cards Against Humanity, Battle of the Sexes, Loaded Questions.

4. Clean up in waves.

Don’t expect to have your kitchen spotless right after dinner but do clean in waves. You don’t want to be away from your guests too long. The best way to manage the mess is to clean as you go and clear all the plates and cookware and stack them in the sink. Once your guests leave you can load the dishwasher and tidy up.

Take the stress out of entertaining by following these four simple tips. Share a meal with friends and make some memories!

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