One of the few good things about getting older is the fact that at a certain age, you realize that you don’t necessarily need to “party hard” to have a good time. I’m not sure if that’s because with age comes wisdom, or crotchetiness…either way, it doesn’t matter.

Our method of partying naturally evolves. Where once was a need to dance and drink in a loud, dark and overcrowded club appears an appreciation for a good meal, great wine and relatively quiet, focused conversation. It is at this point in one’s life when they begin what will be a long and meaningful relationship with the Dinner Party. But just because a dinner party is more mature, does not mean it comes without it’s fair share of drama.

A great dinner party doesn’t just happen. A great dinner party is the product of design.

Hint #1 Make Decisions Early.
When at all possible, decide on the menu and guest list at least a week in advance. Leaving things up in the air will only open the door to last minute problems. Determining the headcount and menu allows you to shop for select items in advance, cutting down your shopping time on the day of.

Hint #2 Pass Me A Cold One
You don’t want to spend the entire party in the kitchen so give yourself a break by including a few low maintenance cold items. Not only will you appreciate the relatively easy prep, hungry guests will thank you for the “no wait” options.

Hint #3 Take Time to Take Care of You
Nothing ruins a dinner party more than a hostess without the “mostest”. When figuring out the shopping/cooking/serving schedule for the day, be sure to budget at least an hour for you to prepare yourself for guests. Don’t forget, you want to look and feel as well put together as the meal.

Hint #4 Help Wanted!
A dinner party is no small feat so don’t be afraid to accept help. Whether it’s an extra hand in the kitchen or another bottle of wine on the table, don’t hesitate to take your guests up on any offers of help to ease the burden.

Hint #5 Set-Up at Sundown.
Minimize the amount of work on the day of, by setting the table the night before.

Hint #6 Have Fun!
Now that your guests have arrived, don’t forget to have fun. Let go of any idea that you can control everything or that your dinner party will be perfect. Nothing can go wrong that a glass of wine and good friends can’t fix.

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