How to Host a Dinner Party

Preparing for a Dinner Party

The most important item to focus on now is, of course, the food. Once you're menu has been determined, it's time to go shopping. ­Start by making a list of everything you'll need when you start cooking. Don't forget spices, garnishes, beverages and alcohol, if you've decided to serve it. If your party will be themed or involve decorations, make a list of everything you need for that as well. Try to do your shopping a few days before the party. This gives you time to get everything you need, but isn't long enough for your food purchases to spoil.

The day before the party, get the house ready for your guests. Start with a thorough cleaning, focusing especially hard on any areas that guests may see, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, dining and sitting rooms. Bring silver flatware and tableware out of storage and polish it. Make sure all dishes, plates, cookware and glasses you plan to use are clean and ready for your guests.


Prepare as much of the meal as possible in the morning. In between food preparation, you can focus on decorating the house, setting out flowers and making sure the dining area is clean and ready.

At this point, depending on the foods you've chosen, you can begin to prepare the main course. With most basic meals, such as roasts, chicken or fish, the food can be prepared early and left in a warmer or heated during mealtime.

Start setting out appetizers and drinks just before guests begin to arrive. Turn on music to create background noise during the mingling and introduction phase of the party. When your guests have finished making basic introductions, it's time to get them seated in the dining area and serve the food.

Finish the evening with cocktails, tea, coffee and dessert. For livelier or themed events, you may want to follow dinner with games, entertainment or dancing. Hopefully by this point, your hard work and planning have paid off, resulting in a wonderful evening for both you and your guests.

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  • The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. "Common Food Allergens." 2007. (02/10/2009)