How To Host A Stress-Free Dinner Party
The summer months are finally here, and along the Grand Strand that means patio dining, wine festivals and plenty of dinner parties. Even if you’re just hosting a few friends, planning for a dinner party can get hectic. Choosing the entrée, finding a wine that pairs well, and planning for a dessert everyone will enjoy can mean you spend hours hunting recipes and cooking. At Chive Blossom, we think summer dinner parties should be more about the moment than stressing over the meal. We’ve developed a way to plan a stress-free dinner party, even for those who can’t help but worry.
Don’t plan too far ahead. A stress-free dinner party is best planned about three weeks in advance. If you start any earlier, guests may forget. Send out your invites and request an RSVP so you can plan for food and drinks.
Consider a weeknight. Fine dining doesn’t just happen on the weekends. Besides, it’s summer, so it’s travel season. A Thursday night may be your best bet for a well-attended party. Plus, planning a weeknight dinner party means your guests will enjoy themselves without overstaying.
Don’t attempt everything from scratch. We promise not to tell if you launch the party with purchased hors d’oeuvres. If you want to make a signature cocktail, opt for an easy starter to the night that you don’t have to create. It’ll give you time to mingle with guests without getting lost in the kitchen.
Create a guestlist of eight, including yourself. Don’t over invite. You’ll become overwhelmed with cooking, crafting cocktails and entertaining. It’s best to invite a couple of people who are familiar with everyone on the list. Inviting several people who have never met will leave making introduction all evening.
Simplify the meal. Whether you opt for a meal you can prepare before hand – like a stew or braise – or order the meal from your favorite Pawleys Island restaurant, keep it simple. You want to meet everyone’s taste and make it easy on yourself.
Politely assign seats. Skip the place cards, but strategically invite guests to sit in certain seats. You want to position the outspoken or funny guests toward the middle to keep the conversation alive. Quiet guests will feel more comfortable near the host and couples should be split up to invite more conversation.
Let the music play. Choose a playlist or channel ahead of time and let it play. The music isn’t the center of attention, so if you begin to think the songs aren’t any good, it’s probably just too loud. Turn the volume down a bit. You’re going for background noise, not a dance party.
Prepare the dessert ahead of time. As everyone is completing the fine dining entrée, you don’t want to have to rush off to the kitchen to prepare the last dish. Prepare a pudding or tart ahead of time so you can fully enjoy the dinner and your guests.
Before you know it, your successful, stress-free dinner party will come to a close. Of course, if you’re better at making reservations than a savory roast, your friends will be happy to gather at one of the best Pawleys Island restaurants.