Five tips for dinner party planning

I love hosting events but I know that to many people, they may seem daunting.  To have a successful stress-free gathering of friends and family, it’s important to plan ahead.  Here are a few tips that will help you to effortlessly host a fabulous brunch, lunch or dinner: 

1. Plan your menu in advance 

Shop for non-fresh ingredients a week ahead.  Fresh 
herbs and salad items you can buy a few days ahead, 
meat a day or two ahead but seafood you will 
need to buy on the day of your event. Go first 
thing in the morning. 

2. Road test the menu first 

It’s a good idea to road test the menu ahead of your
event so you know what you’re doing, how it’s going
to taste and how long it will take you to prepare and
cook. 

3. Prepare in advance 

If you can prepare any part of the recipe in advance,
do this, as it will be one less thing to do on the day. 

4. Set your table the night before 

By doing this, you will have one less big job to do
on the day, and you will know that you have all the
right cutlery, crockery, glassware and table linen
ready and clean. If you have children and are nervous
putting your good glassware out, leave this until
closer to your guests arrival time.

5. Getting the timing right 

Write a “timing” list of all the things you need to 
do on the day of the event.  I always do this when I 
am hosting a big dinner party or lunch.  On your list 
work out when your guests are arriving and what 
time you would like to seat everyone.  From there, 
work out when to make your entrée (if you haven’t 
already made it in advance) and when you need 
to pop your main dish into the oven. If your 
dessert needs cooking, consider the timing for 
this as well.  By doing this, I find it takes the 
pressure off remembering everything that needs 
to be done.  I can also cross things off my list as I go, 
ensuring that I haven’t forgotten anything. 

Have fun!
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