Men are a social animal and there are people who love to socialize or mingle up with their friends and foes, in their free time. Talking about socializing, how can we skip lunch or dinner parties in our discussion? Dinner is essential to be together, for a regular friend’s meetup or an official meeting.

Your first dinner party could serve many purposes, like calling out friends at your place to celebrate your anniversary, move to a new city, just a get together to be dressed up for a fancy evening or to watch a live NBA match.

Dinner for friends is not just an affair of filling up the modern dining table with food, it requires a lot more effort by the host. Hosting a dinner party could be a very stressful task. However, if you are a relaxed host/ hostess and love to invite people at home; you can make this into a less stressful, organized and well appreciated get together. There is no manual to the perfect dinner, or specific book of measures if you have hosted your guest at par.  It is advisable to pre-plan everything, in order to hold a reunion of friends or family, in a most peculiar manner.

Here are the 10 ways on how to plan a perfect dinner, along with making it happen to be a stress-free task as much as possible:

1- Decide the list of invitees in advance 

If it’s the first dinner party that you are hosting, you can initially go for not more than 6 guests. However, do set a list of invitees that you intend to invite, prior to any other advanced preparation. Do keep in mind the number of chairs and couches along with the living space that you have in your house.

2- Think of a creative yet delicious menu   

Practically everyone likes food. You ought to include some food irrespective of what type of party you are about to hold. For a dinner with your friends do not underestimate the importance of good food on your menu. If the reason for holding a dinner is to show off your culinary skills, then the focus should be on your menu.

You can even go for some easy recipes that seem fancy and are extremely delicious. Prepare at least 2 desserts in advance. After all, you need to cater to the sweet tooth of your friends. Prepare the main dishes in advance leaving them to be baked later.

3- Prepare your kitchen

Preparation means three things, food preparation, home preparation and getting yourself mentally prepared. But here we will talk about just the kitchen preparation. Yes, you heard it right we must look into the advance planning for the kitchen that must be organized on the day of our friends’ dinner.

In order to have a stress-free gathering at your home try to be prepared with the kitchen, to minimize the discrepancies. Empty the dishwasher beforehand to create more space and room for immediate deposit of unclean utensils.

4- Go easy on yourself

In order to make it less stressful for you to host a party, go easy on yourself. Do not make it so complicated that you fear of doing it again for your friends. Let it be a dinner that is not only enjoyable for the guests but for you as well. Try to take advantage of other members of your household and gather their help as well.

5- Use paper products   

If you are not an environmentalist and would love to get relief of not washing all the dishes yourself, you should get the pack of paper products to be used as crockery for your dinner. You can select from a variety of cute paper plates and glasses available in the market. This might be against the go green campaign, but hosting the large group of friends would probably mean using a whole lot of crockery. 

6- Keep a variety of drinks

None of us would disagree that the drinks are an essential entity for any party. Friends have a long session usually when they get together. The dinner is conducted with the long chit chat and reminiscence of the old days.  It takes rounds of appetizers, dinner and, drinks, without any specific time to serve the bottle of wine or a variety of other cocktails. You can have a variety of homemade non-alcoholic drinks to sir your guest, with the BBC Top 10 non-alcoholic drink recipes.

7- Follow a theme

If you are a creative animal and love to throw fun-filled parties for friends you should follow a specific theme in organizing the perfect evening for your friends. Convey the same to your guest, so that they too shall follow a specific colour theme to dress. It creates vibes of unity and coordination among the guest and hosts simultaneously.

8- Set a classic table

When it comes to the table setting, I usually prefer the traditional style and conventional tableware that gives a classic table decor. The most appealing and ideal addition that you can do to your table setting, is having a great centrepiece that does not necessarily have to be grand and expensive, but it pulls the whole table setting together. You can pick up the flowers from your backyard and arrange them to place as a centrepiece for your dinner table. Add candles as well to your table setting, to create a subtle mood.

9- Set up a proper timeline

Setting up a proper timeline for each set of food items makes it easier to serve the guests. Serving appetizers and welcome drinks, makes your guest feel home as soon as they come to your house. Make sure that you know how much time each dish requires heat and set a timeline for serving accordingly.

10- You are your own cleaning hero

Remember, that you invited your guest over to your house. Keep gathering dirty dishes right away, even as you are done serving the first round of the dinner menu. Cleaning up seems to be an arduous task unless you are prepared to wind up everything with delight. In case any of your guests are courteous enough to offer their help, do not hesitate to have a company while you complete your chores. Otherwise, be your own cleaning hero.

Conclusion

In order to hold the perfect dinner for your friends, you need to take care of the preparations in advance. Shop your raw materials and decoration in advance, making sure that there is nothing remaining to make the last-minute trip. The greatest tip to have a successful get together is to make your friends feel comfortable and cherish every moment that they spent at your place. If they are your close friends and hold no bar of having to stay at your place, you can arrange a tombola night, dumb charades or heads up type games for a fun-filled evening.

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Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.