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The art of hosting stress-free dinner parties with style

5 ways-to-host-a-thanksgiving-holiday-dinner-party-with-style

While I enjoy special nights going out to eat at a few of our favorite restaurants, I equally love to recreate that intimate experience at my own home. What better way to share a meal and really enjoy each other’s company than to host cozy dinners at home? 

I’m a big believer in bringing people together by gathering around the table to share a lovely meal and have some hearty laughs. It’s one of the greatest ways to bond with others. It's an experience that shouldn’t be reserved only for a couple of times a year but weekly or at the very least, once a month, even if it’s for an occasional take out night. Personally, the simple act of setting a table alone has always been one of the most delightful parts of the planning process for me. It’s a time where I find solace and get to give thought to each unique individual that’ll be coming, where they’ll be seated at the table and how special I’d like everyone to feel. To create something exceptional, your mindset must be focused on the smallest details. Trust me, your guests will feel it immediately, too.
5 ways-to-host-a-thanksgiving-holiday-dinner-party-with-style

I often hear from friends and acquaintances that I make entertaining look easy and that they’re not as good at throwing such dinner parties or have the time or energy to do it as often as they’d like. Though I can understand and agree with the latter because of our busy lives, I also think the main reason most don’t do this all that often is because it all can seem a little daunting. Or dare I say a chore. But the key is to tend to a few things in advance. Once you do, hosting a dinner party can actually be quite simple, seamless, and enjoyable. Given that we’re in the height of dinner hosting season, I wanted to share a few of my simple tips to help get you hosting more often in the upcoming new year and not just for the holidays: 

1. Plan a Menu That Works Within Your Budget And Time Frame.
First, make sure that you cover all your bases. Great planning is key to stress-free entertaining. Spend time concentrating on details. Plan your grocery-shopping lists, take inventory of everything you will need for your meal prep, including spices that you may think you have enough of. As simple as this may seem, and as much of a detailed planner as I am, I've been caught having my husband run to the store last minute in the midst of meal preparation for something I thought I had. This adds undue anxiety - taking away from the joy of sharing. I normally do my shopping almost a week in advance.

2. Clean Your House Three To Two Days In Advance.
You certainly don't want to be mopping the floor as your guests arrive. Depending on your schedule and energy level, divide the task into small chunks of time during the week but if you're like me, you already have your weekly cleaning day scheduled. For me, Thursday is when I get my house all cleaned up and ready for the weekend for any spontaneous get-togethers. There's no greater feeling when I finish cleaning my home. I always get this deep sense of inner peace once I get it all fresh and sparkly before the weekend. 

3. Buy Your Flowers And Set Your Table The Day Before.
Whether you’re setting a table for twenty guests or just four, it's important to set everything the night before. It saves time. Plus, glancing at a beautifully set dining table boosts the mood, reduces stress, and sets the tone for the occasion. I'm a gal that's all about the details, so the process of setting a dining table is always my favorite part... placing name cards and menus on the table (depending on the occasion and the mood I'm going for), sliding the well-selected napkins through pretty napkin rings, placing the sparkly glassware and flowers strategically... all that anticipation is so exciting! Buy as many freshly cut flowers that your budget allows at the grocery store (Trader Joe's is usually my favorite). Place them not just on your dining table but in vases and set them everywhere in your house - on coffee tables, end tables, and in the bathrooms. Filling your house with flowers adds that extra touch of luxe elegance.

4. Set The Mood Of The Party With The Right Playlist And Candlelight.
Talking about it's all in the details - music and flickering candlelight are the epitome of creating an ambiance that assures a wonderful experience for your guests. Normally, I decide my playlist on several things (I have several playlists for every mood on Spotify): the type of guests, the season, the food and/or the weather outside. Choosing the right music on low volume to croon through the sound system in the background makes for an inviting atmosphere. And of course, make sure to place all your candles in their respective spots when you set your table (see No.3). That way, on the day of your dinner all you have to do is turn them on an hour to thirty minutes prior to your guests arriving. Remember, details make the party and planning allows you to remember the details.

5. Spend Time With Your Guests.
Remember you went through all that trouble so you can spend time with your guests and have a good time. So get out of the kitchen and sit down at the table to enjoy the party along with your company. 

What other tips would you add here? I’d love to hear yours. Please share them with me in the comments below!
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