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How to plan a stress-free dinner party

Hosting a dinner party is one of those events that is both a lot of fun and, as anyone who’s tried to make 10 individual soufflés knows, can be a little stressful too. Here’s our guide to planning your party so that you can concentrate on the conversation rather than hoping your roast will cook in time.

A desert plate boasting a cake with fresh berries, set at a table with coffee and other dishware.
A desert plate boasting a cake with fresh berries, set at a table with coffee and other dishware.

Plan it out

Simply put the more things you can do ahead of time, the easier your dinner party will be. Some things that are really helpful done as early as possible are working out a guest list and then making a menu plan. This is where you can also send invitations, ask about allergies or food preferences and buy your ingredients.

Prep things early

Lots of foods are great cooked a day or so early. Dishes like slow cooked stews, curries and roasts actually taste better a day or so later when you can just heat and serve. It’s also good here to make any desserts or at least mix the ingredients together before baking on the day.

Don’t be afraid to delegate!

In our experience, dinner parties where everyone has a part to play can be some of the most fun. Jobs around the table are best, like opening wine, making coffee or just making toasts. That way people feel involved and you’ve saved yourself an extra job. 

Serve it up family style

Unless you’ve got a big kitchen or have a secret desire to work in a restaurant, plating plates individually can be tough work. Our solution is to bring things out to serve at the table, so guests can help themselves and you can keep out of the kitchen.

Create a quick clean up

If you don’t fancy washing up or stacking the dishwasher, give your plates a quick scrape and then soak them in containers with soapy water. That way they’re easier to do for the “day after you” and you can spend more time out with your guests - which is what the party’s all about - have a good time!

Made by
Photographer: Daniel Wester
Interior designer: Therese Ericsson
Digital designer: Cecilia Englund
Copy writer: James Rynd