The meal had been served and my sisters and I jumped up to bus the salad dishes, to remove them from the table and out of the way.

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It was a special dinner party for my dad as we tightly packed in 17 people around several tables pushed together to make one.

I rinsed the dishes quickly and put them in the sink, and then sat back down to enjoy the rest of the meal with my guests.

After dinner, we removed the dinner plates and served up birthday cake. But before I sat down, I quickly rinsed those plates and loaded everything into the dishwasher.

Then I hit START.

I know that everyone has their own routine for doing the dishes while entertaining.

A. Let the guests bus the dishes.
B. Only you or your spouse bus the dishes.
C. Load them in the dishwasher as you use them.
D. Only load the dishes after the meal is completely over.
E. Never do any dishes until the last guest has left.
F. Make sure every single dish is washed before you go to bed.
G. Anyone can help with the dishes after the meal.
H. Anyone can help with the dishes at any time during the meal.
I. Only load what fits in the dishwasher, put the food away, and do the rest in the morning.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few scenarios, but here’s what I do:

I bus/load as I go. It just makes it easier. And when the last guest has left, I’ll empty the dishwasher if the cycle is complete, and start one last load, OR, finish it up in the morning. This isn’t so much out of laziness; we’re usually just so tired. We like our guests to stay as late as they want, and by the time everyone has said their good-byes, it’s usually far past our usual bedtime. It’s not a dreaded feeling, but a happy feeling of, “awww, what a great time!”

There will always be more dishes to do, but we don’t always have our friends and family close at hand.

I feel it’s more important to enjoy our guests.

After this particular party, I did 2 final loads the next morning.

I had dishes on the counter that were hand-washed, and the glasses and plates that came out of the dishwasher.

After putting everything away, my counters looked nice and fresh, like this. (That’s my “purdy” lemon tree in the far right corner.)

Do you like getting the dishes done right away, or do you leave them for later? Choosing betweein A – I (above), what is your normal routine when hosting a dinner party?