Having a dinner party feels like a very grown-up thing to do. Whether you’re planning your first one or are a seasoned party thrower, you can use a few tips. It’s dinner party time! Here’s a hostess’s stress-free guide.

Strategic Menu Planning

If you’re throwing a dinner party to show off your culinary skill, then your primary focus should be on the food. Even if it’s more about gathering friends or family together for an enjoyable evening, you still need to serve food. But you don’t have to pressure yourself as much.

Plan a menu full of dishes you feel confident making. If you can prepare foods ahead of time, such as desserts or side dishes, do so.

Avoid making something that will have you cooking in the kitchen all night long instead of mingling and conversing with your guests.

Have Plenty of Drinks

Wine is your safest bet unless you already have a well-stocked liquor cabinet. Get a few different kinds of wine and enough bottles to last everyone through the evening.

If you’re not serving alcohol, you can create a mocktail, lemonade, or tea for guests to enjoy. Grab sparkling water to create a more luxurious dining experience.

Prepare in Advance

There are three types of preparation: preparing the house, mentally preparing, and preparing the food. For the food portion, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for the final menu. Give yourself enough time to make a couple of trips to the store just in case they’re out of items or you forget something.

Make sure you clean the areas of your home where people will gather. Ensure there’s enough toilet paper in the bathroom and that your table is ready to go.

Are you feeling stressed or nervous? Perhaps you’re more excited and giddy? Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself and calm down. Then, move forward with preparations.

Go Easy on Yourself

Set your expectations low, but don’t apologize. If mistakes happen, that’s okay. Causing yourself to go into a frenzy won’t help your food taste better or make your friends feel more comfortable. Relax and enjoy your dinner party.

You don’t need an excuse to throw a dinner party, but you do need a bit of time to plan. If you follow this hostess’s stress-free guide, you’re sure to create an enjoyable time for all. Happy planning!