5 Tips to Help Your Dinner Party Run Smoother!

Hey, Friends!

Today is my lovely, lovely grandmother’s 80th birthday! YAY! And, she’s not like “regular” 80 year olds… she still plays tennis, does yog, paints, throws pottery, carves wood, makes baskets, etc. Simply put: she’s amazing.

Tonight we are having a few friends over for an intimate dinner to celebrate her. And, while planning for this dinner, I have come to realize “my system” for planning dinners, parties, etc.

Having an organized thought process is the best place to start:

1. Make a timeline of when you want to start dinner – then from there, work backwards through your entire dinner. Here is my timeline for this evening:

7:00 – Dinner is served!
6:55 – Take all items out of the oven, and plate
6:50 – Put the wedge salads on the table, have guest fill water glasses
6:40 – Take chicken off grill, and put in oven to stay warm: turn off oven all together
6:30 – Put chicken on grill, put together wedge salads
6:25 – Put veggies in oven, 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes
6:15 – Put salad bowls in fridge to chill before adding salad
6:00 – Take out chicken from fridge, to take chill off –
5:50 – Put marinated veggies on oiled half sheet pan
4:00 – Cut all veggies, and place in marinade: cover tightly
3:00 – Make final table arrangements – flowers, candles, place cards
1:30 – Pick up flowers, and put in vases

Yes, this may be a little on the “too much” side! But, this is what I do every time we have a dinner party – I can even be caught in church on Sundays making a similar list…. And you thought I was a super note taker….! 😉

2. The second thing I do is take all my “stuff” out and put it on the table where we will be eating The cloth, the napkins, silverware, candles, flower vases, etc. This way I can see what matches, what should be changed. Do I have too many vases, too little, etc…

3. Putting your table cloth in the dryer for 15 minutes saves you time! No need to iron! Just throw it in, turn in on, and go do something productive for 15 minutes. Arrange your flower vases, get out your plates and cups, chop something. After the cloth’s wrinkles have been relieved, place the cloth on the table. Followed by the plates, then silveware, glasses, then napkins. Once that is done, you can add your floral arrangements and candles, or whatever else you are using. {Why I do this: sometimes you make a beautiful arrangement, then add your eating utensils, and it makes the table too cluttery! You are having a dinner party, where you eat. Not focus on the arrangment! Keeping it simple it always my motto – simple and elegant.}

4. Use odd numbers. Odd number of vases, odd number of candles. Using even numbers, for some reason, looks “odd” – but using an odd number look right. Tell me  how THAT makes sense!

5. Get as much done ahead of time as you can. This way, when you’re guests arrive, you are ready! And, not running around your kitchen like a crazy person! No one ever had more fun while you were slaving away in the kitchen. Plan your meals so that you are able to be with your guests, not stirring at your stove while they are having a blast.

Do you have any suggestions for managing your time well while you prepare for a party??

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One Comment

  1. Hi Ashley! Happy Birthday to your grandmother. My mom turned 85 on August 15th and is writing e-books. (No yoga or pottery though) but she is still pretty awesome (and assume looking!)

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