How to Host a Dinner Party

Creating the Perfect Dinner Party Menu

The number one key to planning your dinner party menu is choosing foods you're experienced at cooking. It's also important to choose foods that are fairly simple to prepare. After all, you want to spend the evening with your guests, not sweating over the stove. Selecting easy versions of your favorite foods to serve will allow you to spend more time enjoying the party.

When planning your menu, start with the main course. If choose to throw a theme party, you'll want to choose a dish that works with your theme. If you've decided to keep it simple, consider sticking with a simple roast, a baked ham, fish fillets or a stuffed turkey or chicken. All of these items are not only easy to cook, but each can be complemented by a large variety of side dishes, soups and salads. The best part, however, is that all of these items can be prepared well ahead of the party, allowing you to simply heat and serve, and spend your time mingling with guests instead of cooking.


Appetizers can include cheese and vegetable platters or hot dips made from crab, spinach or artichoke. Keep these items light and easy; you don't want guests too full to enjoy your cooking. Be sure to provide plenty of coffee and tea for after the meal, along with a dessert or two. To save time, focus your energy on cooking the meal and pick up a cake or pie from a local bakery. Most guests will never know the difference.

Many hosts have to evaluate the pros and cons of serving alcohol with the meal. Decide ahead of time if you want to serve alcohol or if guests are responsible for their own. If you plan to invite a large number of guests, and don't want to be stuck with the tab, be sure to note on the invitations that the party will be "Bring Your Own Beer (BYOB)."

Finally, if you want to experience all the fun of a dinner party with none of the hassle, consider hiring a caterer or serving staff to help with the process. You'll be free to enjoy the party, and your guests will be happy to enjoy your company. Even if you choose to prepare food ahead of time, a serving staff can free up your time during the event so you can spend more time with your guests.