We have to be willing to make room in our world for others, if we want to be fulfilled and connected with people around us. I’m the first to admit that our family is very busy during this autumn season, so for entertaining to happen, it takes some planning. Today I’m sharing 4 simple principles for planning and hosting a casual autumn dinner party.
Following these tips really does help. I’ve done it both ways – being prepared and not being prepared. It’s not a good feeling to feel horribly behind when your guests knock at your front door. On the other hand, I don’t believe everything has to be perfect, either. But having a goal, like my 30-minute window idea, does make a world of difference.
Now maybe you’re thinking you can do this, too. I want to encourage you to NOT talk yourself out of it. You will be so blessed!
1. Set your mind: Look at your calendar, find a date that works for the family, and make a decision that you can and will plan a dinner party. Remember a dinner party can be as few as 4 people. Know in your mind that you will be blessed and happier, to be with friends or family who care about you and want to get to know you more, or just catch up with what’s happening in your life.
2. Know your finances: Look at your budget and see what you can afford before you plan the menu. Choose recipes that work with the menu, and then delegate a few dishes, drinks, bread, or appetizers if that will help offset your budget. Don’t let finances get in the way of having people over!
3. Make a plan: Decide what you can start preparing a day or two in advance, getting your grocery shopping done early, too. Give chores to the family, if needed, and think ahead to where you’ll be hosting (inside or out), and what you plan to use for the table. Thinking this through ahead of time relieves the feeling of panic the day of the party.
4. 30 minute window: Aim to be complete with cooking and chores, with the table set and your hosting clothes on, 30 minutes before the guests arrive. This helps you breathe a little, or gives you time to sit down and rest, with possibly a drink, so you’re fresh and ready for your guests.
Dinner parties have a life of their own, and like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike. The secret for me is to think about the people who are coming, and gear up for great conversation and encouragement. Of course, if your family is stressed and it’s a busy season for you, too, think hard about who you’ll be inviting. Possibly you read my post on how to deal with negative people at a dinner party?
I had these items set up on a side table on our back patio for our guests. It took me 5 minutes to gather the supplies, put the flowers in a Ball canning jar, and lay it all out.
I thought you’d like to know where the items came from:
Clear glass mugs: Canning jar look-a-likes with handles from Dollar Tree
Large bowl holding mugs: Cash N’ Carry (bulk food service and entertaining supplies store in our area)
Napkin box and napkins: Repurposed Harry & David gift boxes; napkins from IKEA
Sunflowers and vase: Grocery store sunflowers and Ball canning jar
Blue jars and silverware: My kitchen silverware in blue Mason canning jars (purchased at Target, but you can also buy online at Amazon)
Candle: Outside entertaining so I purchased a citronella candle
What stops you from hosting a dinner party?