How To Throw the Perfect Dinner Party

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Everyone wants to be the “host with the most,” and if you love entertaining, you’re probably always looking for the best ways to throw the perfect dinner party. Thankfully, with a little planning and preparation, it’s easier than you might think!


Putting together a dinner party for friends and family doesn’t have to be stressful. You’ll take a lot of the pressure off of yourself and ensure you have everything completely thought through by starting your preparations about a month in advance.


We’ve got a simple timeline you can use to keep yourself organized and on track, so everything goes off without a hitch. Follow these guidelines to make the party planning process easier for yourself.

One Month Before

About a month before you want to throw your party, decide what you want it to look like and whom you want to invite.


Start by deciding whether your party will be indoors or outdoors. If you’re throwing a get-together during the summer, an outdoor party is a great option that almost everyone will enjoy. You’ll have more room, options for outdoor games, and the choice to keep things casual with classic cookout food or do something a bit more formal.


Whether you’re throwing your party inside or outside, make sure you cross the following off of your checklist a month before your party:


       Pick a theme;

       Choose a date that works for everyone;

       Plan a menu;

       Decide on decor and make a list of what you need.


Finally, create a guest list and send out invitations. You might want to consider inviting your neighbors, especially if you’re having an outdoor party that they’ll see. There are many benefits to being friends with your neighbors, so you can use this as an opportunity to build a bridge there and invite them to your fun event.


It might seem like a lot to keep track of when the party is weeks away, but taking care of a lot of the planning and details now will make it easier to streamline the process as you get closer to the event.

One Week Before

With only a week to go until your party, you should check on who RSVP’d so you have an idea of how much food to get. While it’s still likely too early to get any perishable items, you can pick up any tableware and decor you might want for the party, aside from fresh flowers.


As you look over your RSVPs, pay attention to how many people are bringing children. If there are lots of kids coming to the party, you might need to adjust your menu or add some more kid-friendly dishes, especially if some picky eaters are coming!

Two Days Before

The countdown is on! With only two days to go, it’s normal to feel a little anxious about your party, but don’t let those thoughts distract you from your tasks or keep you from having fun preparing. Now is the time to go shopping for your food ingredients and any drinks you might want to serve, including alcohol. Don’t forget the ice!


In addition to picking up the food you’ll be preparing, it’s a good time to create a party playlist. Having music playing in the background can make a big difference in the overall feel of your event. The right music can:


       Encourage conversation;

       Make people feel more comfortable;

       Provide a sense of familiarity;

       Reduce stress.


You’ll be doing a lot more to prepare the following day, so use this time to get your shopping done and relax as much as possible.

The Day Before

With just 24 hours left, now is the time to do as much as you can so you’re not rushing around right before the party. Prepare as much of the meal as possible and keep it stored in the fridge until your guests arrive the next day. Cooking is often a major time-sucker when it comes to party preparation, so doing as much as you can the day before will reduce your stress on the day of the event.


Once you’ve prepared as much of the meal as you can, take the time to clean your home. Even if your party is outside, guests will still likely come in to use the restroom, so make sure any area where people will be is vacuumed, dusted, and free of clutter.


Now is also a good time to pick up any last-minute decor, like flowers. Keep them in water, and they’ll still look great for your event and you won’t have to worry about running any errands tomorrow.

The Day Of

After a month of planning and preparing, the day is finally here. The good news is you’ve taken care of a lot of the hard work. Now you just have to prepare the final dishes and set up your tables and decor. It shouldn’t take long depending on how much you were able to get done the day before.


Try to take care of these small tasks as early in the day as possible, so you’ll have a few hours before the party to focus on minor details and to get yourself ready.

Two Hours Before

With your guests about to arrive, it’s time to add the finishing touches to your event. Arrange all of your food and put it on display in the serving dishes of your choice, and set up a drink and snack station for your guests. Try to have a variety of options for your guests to choose from while they wait for the main meal. If you’re not sure what to serve as far as drinks go, the following are always popular:


       A variety of sodas;


       Beer and wine;

       Hard seltzer;

       Bottled water.


Finally, get yourself ready! By getting as much done as you can early in the day, you’ll have plenty of time to get dressed, look your best, and even enjoy a bit of downtime before your guests arrive.

During the Party

Take advantage of the downtime and enjoy yourself during the party – you’ve earned it! Mingle with your guests, enjoy the delicious food, and be a good host by refilling drinks whenever you can and being social with everyone.


Don’t stress too much about any little hiccup that might occur. If a drink spills, that’s okay. If things get slightly off-schedule, that’s okay too! You’ve put in the work, and now it’s time to relax and enjoy the company.


As you can see, you don’t have to overwhelm yourself when you want to plan the perfect dinner party. Start early, have a theme in mind, and know whom you want to invite. With a little time and effort, everything will fall into place from there.

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