Try This: An Impromptu Dinner Party

If hosting a dinner party seems like more stress than celebration, here are a few tips to uncomplicate the process (and make it more fun).
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Image Credit: Leah Verwey

We hesitate to even introduce this idea as a dinner “party,” so shall we call it a get-together? Nothing more than good people gathering for a good time? There, that’s better. Hopefully, in removing the party pretense, we can also remove the stress from hosting those you love in your home. 

Eating can (and should!) be a daily joy, and spring is the perfect season to share the cheer with your tribe. We want to encourage you to invite your favorite people over for a meal and enjoy time spent laughing and feasting all together. Make it fun, delicious and just as entertaining for you as for your guests. 

Here are four tried-and-true components to help you get started:

  1. Knock off the nerves. Fear usually prohibits us from doing anything we may enjoy, and this is especially true for opening your (messy! unfurnished! haphazard!) home to others. But let us just say: get over it. Your friends are your friends for a reason — they know you and love who you are, toys on the floor and mismatched chairs aside. As long as the atmosphere of your space is warm and inviting, your guests will feel more than comfortable.

  2. Let the food be your guide. Set the mood and the tone by the meal you are serving. It may be the perfect time to try a recipe you’ve been thinking about for ages — your friends would love to be the benefactors of this experiment, we’re sure. Or serve something fail-safe that you can cook with your eyes shut. Whatever it is, make it simple and pleasurable for yourself. Your guests will sense your ease and feel the same. Maybe even try platters to share and lots of things to dip, spread and nibble, family-style, to ease the burden of perfectly plated dinners.

  3. Think: more hanging, less entertaining. Our point here is this: loved ones will come over to hang out with you — to be together, to chat, laugh, cook and have some fun. Try not to encumber yourself with the need to “entertain” your guests — join in the conversation and festivities! And don’t think that just because you are hosting, you need to invite four other couples or your seven closest girlfriends. Start small and stick with numbers that you can handle easily, without undue stress. And, really, don’t over-complicate things. Relax.

  4. When in doubt, take out. If all else fails, don’t shy away from take-out or delivery. No one will judge, we promise! Grab a pizza, throw together a quick and easy salad and serve ice cream sandwiches out of the freezer for dessert. The point, above all, is simple spontaneity, so you can even ask guests to each bring a side to help feed the masses. And, really, never underestimate the power of leftovers.

  5. Of course, food is meant to be enjoyed, but most often the best part of a meal is whom you share it with — so give this gift to others and to yourself. Bon appétit!

p.s. From serving slabs to flatware, here are ten essentials to take your food-filled festivities up a notch.