Tips for hosting a dinner party

Thanksgiving has come and gone and all of us are now in holiday mode. I feel like I have been so busy that I have not shared on my blog lately.  I was busy preparing to host my first Thanksgiving ever.  I pulled it off and I did it! With more upcoming holiday preparations under way, I thought that I would share my tips to hosting a successful dinner party. 


Menu Planning

Obviously the first thing on everybody’s mind when hosting a holiday is the menu.  Plan your holiday menu at least one month in advance.  Along with that, make your shopping list so that you don’t forget anything. Use a dinner party calculator to help determine how much food you are going to need.  Where I went wrong in my meal planning was not really accounting for the amount of appetizers that guests were going to bring.  With that, I was inundated with food.  Next time, I will take the amount of appetizers into account.  This was my Thanksgiving Menu:

 Pumpkin Apple Soup
 Harvest Salad
 Maple Brined Turkey – which I prepared 24 hours in advance
 Candied Sweet Potatoes
 Holiday Mashed Potatoes
 Dinner rolls with Texas Road House butter
 Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash
 Creamy Corn
 Bourbon gravy

For dessert we had cheese cake, pumpkin pie, and apple crumble pie. 


Holiday Table Planning

I love a styled dining table.  I think it is very welcoming for guests to sit at a table that has been styled for the event. This takes just as much planning as menu planning. It is easy to do a search for table center piece ideas tailored towards your event.  Pinterest is the place to be to find your inspiration.  With that, I also used my Cricut to make table place setting cards for each guest.  To add a touch of personalization I also made table tent cards for my buffet server. Everyone always gathers around in the kitchen, so I also made signs for my breakfast bar in my kitchen. I knew that everyone would be gathering there for appetizers.  I also used my on trend letter board to make a personalized message for guests. 


Give yourself plenty of time

You really need to start to put everything together in advance to host an enjoyable holiday.  Do yourself a favor and take the day before the holiday off of work.  This will give you enough time to tidy the house, style your table, and start the meal prep.  

Two nights before the holiday, get your grocery shopping completed.  This will also allow for any last minute items to be purchased in the event you forget something. Two nights prior, you can also start to style your holiday table.

If you are brinding a turkey like I did, you need to brine your turkey 24-36 prior to roasting your turkey. 

The day before the holiday, start your meal prepping and tidy the house. I chopped up all of the ingredients that needed to be chopped as well as measured out all of my herbs and spices. I also boiled my potatoes and stored them in the fridge overnight. 

I used two crock pots and had them set up and ready to go for the next day.  I used a crock pot liner to help make clean up easier.

Make a timeline of what time you will start to cook what.  This way you will stay on track. 


The day of

If you prep in advance, the day of will be a lot less stressful, and more enjoyable. I roasted my turkey and started to cook my stuffing and creamy corn in the crock pot as soon as I woke up. After that, I was able to relax for a while and enjoy more morning coffee.  I was able to enjoy appetizers and wine when my guests arrived.  I stuck to my timeline.  My timeline was the key to a successful dinner. Yes, there will still be quite a bit of work to do the day of, but prepping in advance and sticking to your timeline will help you to actually enjoy your holiday. 



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Twin boy parents hoping to motivate and inspire others along our adventure!

One thought on “Tips for hosting a dinner party

  1. Thanks for the tips! We usually invite family over closer to Christmas so this is perfect. Usually I’m still trying to prep on the day of so I’m going to take your advice and try to get it done in advance


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