The day of the dinner party I need to have a plan. In the past I usually had this sketched out the day before, but I began to notice that the plan was basically the same each time. I decided to compose an entertaining countdown sheet I could use before each dinner party.
I can look at it and know immediately what needs to be taken care of. Also, if someone wants to help, I can consult the list and assign them an activity. This has been a lifesaver. My day-of-the-party anxiety has mostly disappeared.
Just before the guests arrive, I pause for a moment. I put myself in their place, and wonder what their first impressions will be. How they are received upon arrival can set the tone, so I ask myself the following questions:
- Who will greet them at the door? Does the house look inviting?
- Is there a place for their coats? Is the mood lighting right?
- Is there appropriate music playing?
- Is there a drink ready (or close to being ready) for them?
- Are the bathrooms inviting?
- Because it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the kitchen, we need to remember that our guests are the real priority, not the food.
You can’t think of everything. Something unexpected will always come up, but by following the hints and advice listed in your entertaining countdown, you’ll have covered most of the bases.
And remember, few dinner parties are perfect, but even fewer are total disasters. So after the guests have left, sit down in your favorite chair, pour yourself about two fingers of wine, do a rewind of the evening and dwell on the highs, toast your efforts, and be generous with praise. You have pulled off a social event that your guests will remember for a long time, maybe forever. What better use could you make of your time?