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Don’t be intimidated by entertaining – today, in Part II of her guest post, blogger Rachel Myerson from Kitchenbug shows you more of how a little bit of planning can help you relish a lovely evening with friends in your own home.

Planning a dinner party is never an easy task but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Read on for more tips about how to enjoy your own party (for Part 1 click here).

Step 3: Prepare

Preparation is inextricably linked with planning, but let’s break it down a little.

1. The week of the party:

  •  Consult your Kitchenbug box containing all your pre-planned dishes and prepare as much as you can in advance of the big night. The freezer is your friend so research which elements of your menu can be frozen. Soup is my savior – you can make it months in advance, stick it in the freezer, defrost it the night before your party and heat it up 15 minutes before you intend to serve it.

Dinner Party

  • Shop for your food 2 – 3 days in advance. This will ensure that everything stays fresh for your dinner party, but also allows you to see if you forgot to buy something, and fix it without a last-minute panic.
  • Don’t rely on your guests bringing things (wine, flowers etc.), it’s best to have bought them yourself so you can cross things off your to-do list, and avoid any panics if the guests forget.

2. The day of the party:

  • Busy yourself in the morning with final food prep, set the table and cross as many things as you can off your list (see my check-list below for inspiration).
  • If you discover you’ve bought the wrong ingredients, or a recipe flops, search Kitchenbug by ingredient or recipe to view other options or adjustments.
  • Write a Timings List, particularly for the few hours before and during the dinner party to allow yourself time to be with your guests, as opposed to running to and from the kitchen. e.g.: 6:30 pm put chicken in the oven, 7:00 pm chop salad etc…

A final word of advice: The point of a dinner party is to spend time with your friends, not to prove yourself as the next Martha Stewart. Do not apologize or point out flaws in your food, they won’t notice. If all else fails: alcohol and laughter are your friends. Bon Appetit!

Dinner Party

Dinner Party Checklist:

• How many guests are attending?
• Menu (consult Kitchenbug.com for inspiration!)
• Decor
• Playlist
• Drinks (for before and during dinner)
• Canapes (if applicable)
• Starter
• Entrée
• Dessert
• House Cleaned
• Table set (correct amount of cutlery, crockery, place mats, chairs, serving spoons, seating cards)
• Place to hang coats
• Dishwasher empty
• Decor assembled (flowers in water, candles lit etc.)
• You are showered, dressed, wined!