photo via blmurch

Having a dinner party doesn’t have to be stressful. It should be a time to enjoy the company and conversation of friends and family. Try these five tips to make your next dinner party a success!

Make Food Ahead of Time

Plan your menu with dishes that can be prepared ahead of time to reduce last minute tasks. Always use recipes that you have tried and tested previously-a dinner party is not the time to test out an exotic new dish you’ve never made before! Be sure to check with your guests for any food allergies or restrictions they might have so you can take those into account when planning your menu. Need menu ideas? Roasted chicken with potatoes, salad, and bread are a classic dinner party menu that can be prepared with very little stress!

Skip Dinner

Consider hosting a dinner party without the dinner! A wine and cheese affair or dessert bar offer the same opportunity for socializing without the extensive preparation and stress of making a full dinner, especially if you are a planning a larger guest list.

Create a Playlist

Create a five to six hour playlist ahead of time so you can skip the DJ duties during the party. A good playlist helps to disguise the lulls in conversation and provides ambiance to the evening. Be sure to mix it up with some unexpected tunes that may spark conversation!

Plan Your Guest List Carefully

Dinner parties are fantastic opportunities to introduce new friends from your various social circles but be sure that you plan your guest list with mingling in mind. Try to invite people that have something in common or you know will hit it off so new friendships can be made and conversation flows easily.

Set a Beautiful Table

Take a few moments to set your table with colorful linens and napkins to match your theme and add candles or fresh flowers to instantly set the mood for your party. If you need centerpiece ideas check out these 15 table centerpieces using food. A beautiful table also gives guests an icebreaker for starting conversation!

Do you host dinner parties often? What is your top advice for others planning a dinner party?