When was the last dinner party you had? Are you contemplating having another one, but feeling a little stressed about the specifics? If the memory of the mess of the last party you had is still weighing heavily on you and stressing you out, don’t stress about it! I know that it seems like the time it will take you to get everything ready for the party will be exhausting and the clean up will be miserable. Honestly. Nope! With a couple simple steps, you will be having a great party with a low-stress preparation and virtually stress free cleanup.
So let's talk about what we can do to make throwing the party just as much fun as you can imagine, without having a cleanup situation that drags you down.
- My first tip to a lower stress dinner party is to have your party on Friday as opposed to Saturday. This forces you to make your party preparations happen bit by bit throughout the course of the week and saves you from having a chaotic one day of prep time.
- A part of your week long preparation is to determine what your menu will look like. What are you going to prepare? And for time and sanity saving purposes, you need to ask yourself one very important question. Are you going to offer cocktails or are you going to offer hors d’oeuvres? Individually each of these things is a lot of work in preparation and cleanup. That doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on party goodies, if you choose to offer hors d’oeuvres, you can still offer simple drinks. There is not much preparation involved in pouring a glass of wine and the clean up is a breeze, you just pop that glass into your dishwasher! I have been using Cascade Platinum lately and it is getting all of my glasses sparkling clean. If you haven’t yet used it, you really should check out the reviews on Cascadeclean.com, they are pretty impressive!
- Prepare dessert early in the week. Desserts can easily be prepared much earlier in the week than, say, the main course. For example, if your party is being thrown on Friday, Wednesday is the perfect time to prep your dessert. It will keep well and still be delicious come party time, but it gives you one less thing to stress about once it comes time for your guests to arrive.
- Plan your main menu around 1-dish meals that can be prepared ahead of time. For example, have a salad chilling in a large salad bowl and use the end of the drink hour to transfer to serving dishes. Also, consider having your main dish be something such as stew or a casserole that tend to rest well overnight and taste even better the next day so that you can cook the night before. (Of course this is where your Cascade Platinum will come in handy! It has 3x the fighting power to clean stuck on foods and grease and save you time!)
- Don’t invite too many people. The more the merrier, right? Well, that is not necessarily true. The truth is that anywhere from 6-10 guests is generally considered to be the magic number for a small dinner party. Also, try to make sure that not all of your guests are strangers. It is nice to have an person or two there that know the others to help turn strangers into friends without the awkward silence that will often fall upon a room full of people who know nothing about each other. With 6-10 people, you can all easily sit around the table and converse, while it is not so easy when you are talking about 15 people or more. You will likely have several conversations happening at once with that many people.
- Be sure that when the party starts, you have a clean house, an empty dishwasher and Cascade on hand (get a coupon here). Making sure that your dishwasher is empty at the start of the night makes it easier to load the dishes as they are finished with as opposed to having an unsightly stack of dishes in your sink or on your counter during the party.
- Time to party. Now that you know you have prepared for the evening in the most stress free way possible and you have everything ready, it is time to relax and have a nice evening with your guests. Make sure that you take the time to take part in the conversation and have fun. Don’t stress about the meal, your guests will enjoy it. Don’t stress about the dishes and the mess, you’ve got that covered.
Keep these tips on hand to help you throw the best dinner party each and every time! Your guests will keep coming back.