Essentials of Planning the Perfect Dinner Party


Invitations set the theme of the event. But more importantly, they are the guideline for it. RSVP’s will give you a headcount of those attending. This will then domino affect into your party prepping. Knowing the amount of guests will help you with your seating, menu, and drink supply.

Table Setting & Seating

Set the table early in the day so you don’t have to worry about it when the oven timer is going off and the doorbell is ringing. Don’t forget to make room as well. If you have to move some furniture around to accommodate a table large enough, get that done early on as well. You don’t want your guests feeling crammed.

Stick to the theme when setting your table. The center pieces of a table should always be low so your guests can see each other. Fresh flowers or plants, unscented candles, and water vases are a simple yet elegant setting. Small details such as the plates and napkins you use and how they are folded can make quite the impression.

Assigned seating isn’t always necessary. However, if you feel it will help the conversations flow or get your friend talking to that guy from work you invited by all means do so. Little name cards really can tie the table together when doing so.

Hors D’oeurves & Music

Having an appetizer and cocktail table out with some music will set the ambiance for your dinner party right off the bat. While you may be finishing up some last touches, this allows guests to make their self at home while not having awkward silence to fill. Keep your apps small and easy to walk around and mingle with. You don’t want your guests to fill up before dinner is served.

Dinner & Dessert

Be sure to run your menu by your guests prior to the party in case there are any food allergies or restrictions. This really isn’t the time to try to make a dish you have no experience with. If you plan on making that gourmet meal you saw on Pinterest, be sure to do a trial run before the night of the event or just stick to what you know but feel free to spice it up a little.

As for dessert, I prefer to stick with a dessert table somewhat similar to the Hors D’oeurves table you started the night off with. This will give your guests the option to partake in this course without feeling obligated to overeat. Switch out the champagne on the table for a dessert wine for an added touch.

Raise a Glass & Relax

By now you’re probably exhausted, but on the bright side you’ve planned a memorable and enjoyable night. Sit down, relax, and enjoy your company! The dishes can wait until tomorrow.