(image via The Kitchn)
Yesterday I posted about the first step in entertaining: how to plan a dinner party. Today I wanted to offer up some tips for step 2: how to execute a dinner party.
The first things you guests will see when they arrive is your home, not the food. So do your best to tidy up. Your house doesn't need to be immaculate, but your probably don't want dirty laundry and empty mugs of coffee laying around. It sends the message that this dinner party wasn't important enough for you to take the time to clean your home.
After you've cleaned up, light a few candles, set out some fresh flowers (Trader Joe's has some incredibly cheap options), and play some soft music in the background. Your home is already feeling cozy and welcoming.
If you're using the oven - especially in an apartment - your house is probably warm and smells of dinner. Open a few windows to get fresh air circulating through and turn on the air conditioning or a fan.
I also like to have cocktails pre-made and appetizers set out before the guests arrive. That way you don't have to run around mixing and cooking when you should be greeting your guests. Also, having the cocktails ready to go always relaxes everyone and sets the tone for a fun evening.
The success of a dinner party has nothing to do how amazing your food is. The most important thing about the food is that you shouldn't be cooking it all night. Your guests want you out of the kitchen! Make sure your food is prepped in advance and only requires simple cooking the night of.
Remember to have fun. The host sets the tone. If your comfortable and having a good time, so will your guests.