7 Little Things I Stopped Doing for Dinner Parties — and 3 Things I Always Do

7 Little Things I Stopped Doing for Dinner Parties — and 3 Things I Always Do

When I host an dinner party I want to give my guests that special feeling. I want them to feel like they’re getting treated as the special guests they truly are. This means that you have to put a lot of effort into preparing everything. But I’ve also learned that not every preparation is worth it.

You’ll be so busy fussing over details that your guests will miss a lot. Here are seven things I never do when I host dinner parties and three that I prioritize.

Do not mop the floors

Do not mop anything that is wet. Do not use the mop if your house is clean. Most people prefer to keep their shoes on. When there are no stocking footed guests, I do not waste my 20 minutes or the light sweat that I build up by doing a complete floor cleaning. On the day of the party I dry mop and leave the spraying for later.

You can’t do everything by yourself

My first instinct is to say no when my friends ask me if they could bring something. But now, I know that it’s OK to ask for assistance. My dream is to have my friends show up with no worries in the world. Time is running out, I still haven’t changed into my dress and I notice that my partner has a bag of ice that weighs only seven pounds instead of 20. Then I send a hasty text to ask for help. Your friends will be happy to assist, whether you ask one person to bring extra ice or everyone to bring wine to reduce the cost of hosting.

Don’t put out appetizers

It’s shocking, I know. It goes against all my instincts – if I have invited someone over to eat, I should give them food right away! It’s not true. My friends seemed more interested in dipping their first cocktail into the bowl of hummus that I had prepared. If you have a dinner menu that is ready to be served whenever, everyone can start sitting about 30 minutes after the last guest has arrived.

Do not change the menu

The same thing should be done for all parties. I’m serious. You’ll save a lot of mental energy by not changing your menu completely. We only host parties every few months, just enough for our guests to forget the food we usually serve and be excited to come back. This menu will please everyone because it is suitable for all dietary requirements, including vegan and gluten-free. This menu is easily scaled to accommodate more people, and it uses the same ingredients multiple times.

The menu we always serve includes Greek chicken, which can be baked until ready to serve, Greek salad, (which I make on a single serving plate without feta cheese), Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, (again, for dairy-free and vegan people, I don’t add cheese), roasted potatoes and crusty bread.

This rule does not apply to seasonality. In the winter when tomatoes aren’t as tasty, you can swap the Greek salad out for roasted roots vegetables. Even after the switch, I still make this menu. That’s all. That’s it. It’s not necessary to create a new culinary experience.

Do not remove plates from people’s cars

After everyone has finished eating and is smiling, I open the lid of the trash bin, let the dishwasher door hang down and tell them to break their own plates as soon as they are ready. It’s true that nobody cares and they feel relieved to be able to help after I have stuffed them with a delicious meal.

Avoid serving a dessert that requires plates and forks

Cookies we use every fork in our collection for a 10 person dinner party. Instead of using 100 grams per cookie, I use 75 grams instead. These cookies are still big and beautiful and fit well in your hand.

Do not clean the next day

Yes, I do understand that the floors are slippery. I understand that the counters are out of hand. I changed all of our furniture around to turn our living room into our dining room. Stay on the couch or your bed all day. Take the day off if you have nowhere to go. Play video games, read a book, or binge watch a new series. Give yourself a break and celebrate the success of the dinner party.

Here are three things I will never compromise on.

Cleaning the bathroom

I clean my bathroom every day. The floor, the toilet and counters are all important. It will make your home look more polished and ready to welcome guests. You can do a shower without going all out. Close the shower curtain.

Do make tons of food

I always cook enough for second helpings. I always make enough food for leftovers. After all the preparation, a couple of days without cooking is a reward. I want everyone to be satisfied. Some friends may serve themselves less out of politeness. They’ll eat more if they have enough food, since a large pan of chicken and potato is so appealing.

Enjoy yourself immediately

You want to enjoy yourself, no matter what your reasons for hosting are whether it’s to get your friends together, to create a sense community or to celebrate a special birthday without worrying about splitting the bill. As soon as the first guest enters the house, I relax and have fun. It’s okay if you haven’t prepared everything. Your hard work will be rewarded when you have guests in your home. So, do everything that you planned and enjoy yourself!


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