Part of adulting is leaving behind your college party life of ramen noodles and cheap beer for place settings and overpriced wine. But don’t put your toga away just yet — even a good dinner party deserves a theme, you know. Whether it’s an al fresco dinner party in your garden or a grown-up pizza party, check out the do’s and don’ts below that’ll ensure that you throw a memorable night every time.
Don’t shy away from hosting because you don’t cook often. These days, a lack of cooking skills is no excuse to avoid hosting a dinner party. Take a trip to Whole Foods and load up on prepared foods or make the event interactive with DIY personal pizzas.
Do leave the dishes for later. Your friends don’t care if the kitchen is a mess. They are there to have fun and spend time with you, so give the people what they want. Plus, once you start doing the dishes everyone will start pitching in to help, and no one wants to do that at a party. Cleaning can wait until tomorrow.
Don’t skimp on booze. Arguably, it’s worse if you run out of booze than food. Don’t be that person who underestimates the amount of wine they need by having a stash of cheap bottles to keep the party going.
Do write out a menu. If you forget to do this once, you’ll never do it again. Instead of having everyone ask separately what each dish is, write out a menu with specific ingredients and dietary warnings for people to read over. Better yet, make recipe cards as favors, and you’ll also avoid the “Can you send me this recipe?” question.
Don’t worry about your space being too small. Your tiny New York apartment might *actually* be the perfect place to host a dinner party. Intimacy is great for conversation and forcing people to hang out in one big group.
Do ask about food allergies beforehand. Even if you think you know everything about your friends, you may not know that they never order shellfish because they’re deathly allergic. Whether it’s a severe peanut allergy, a mild gluten intolerance, or they’re newly vegan, these are things to clarify before planning the menu.
Don’t forget appetizers and dessert. It’s easy to get wrapped up in planning the perfect main course, but you can’t forget about appetizers and desserts. To make it easy on yourself, pick up a variety of charcuterie, cheeses, olives, and bread for a cheese board and order dessert from your favorite pastry shop.
Do be open to last-minute guests. It never fails that someone who RSVP’d for one will show up with their Tinder date. Don’t stress about the extra seat at the table and think of it as an opportunity to make new friends. To avoid running out of food, always plan for two more people, and if you have leftovers you can send them home with guests or enjoy them the next day.
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