A Dinner Party in your Home can be Easy if you Plan Ahead

There are three steps to follow when you have guests over for dinner;   plan ahead, serve dinner and clean-up.  Here are a few practical suggestions that will ease the pressure of entertaining so dinner parties can be a pleasant experience for the guest and hostess.


Proper preparation is the most important part of having dinner guests.  Most women find it difficult to entertain because of the amount of work involved in getting the home ready.  This problem will go away if you clean routinely and maintain your house the remaining six days of the week.  All family members should be responsible to keep their belongings put away.  Freshen the bathrooms each morning, empty trash cans, and do a quick house check.  If you do this, your house will always be ready for guests.  When the big day arrives, make sure the dishwasher is empty ahead of time so there will be plenty of room for the dinner dishes.  Empty the kitchen trash can and make sure there are plenty of clean towels and dish cloths in the kitchen drawers.  It is important to have everything ready for clean-up later in the evening..

Plan the meal according to your schedule.  Look at your schedule the day before the dinner and the day of the dinner.  This will determine which day you spend most of your time cooking.  Dessert, Jell-O and some main dishes can be made the day before.  If you are tight on time in the late afternoon plan a crock pot meal.  This can be prepared the morning of the dinner party.  Meals prepared a few hours before the dinner are another option.  An example of this kind of meal would be;  Baked chicken with cheese, potato casserole, carrots with sauce, lettuce salad, dinner rolls and for dessert; Cherries Jubilee.  This can all be done in two hours.  Grocery shop 1-2 days ahead of time.

Allow plenty of time to cook so you can relax when guests arrive.  You do not want them to feel the anxiety of preparation but rather the warm hospitality of your home.  Have food prepared and put everything on ‘warm’ or ‘simmer.’  This allows you time to dress, fix hair and put on make-up.  My goal is to be ready to serve dinner when my guests are due to arrive so I do not scramble to have dinner ready on time.  If guests arrive late it is a challenge to keep dinner warm without over cooking.


Ring! Ring!  Guests arrive and you are ready.  It is important not to spend time rushing around the kitchen when they arrive.  You want quality time with your guests.  When guests arrive  greet them and ask them what they would like to drink (ice has been placed in glasses ahead of time).  Family members can help put the serving dishes on the table.  Sit at the end of the table so you can refill drinks and serving dishes.


Do minimum clean-up while guests are in your home.  The reason they were invited was to spend time with you.  If you are cleaning the kitchen you defeat your main purpose.  This procedure can be modified if you are having an informal dinner in the kitchen with close friends or family.  Many friends insist on helping, so you can clean-up together while you talk.  If you serve a formal dinner in the dining room clean the table quickly, rinsing the dishes while preparing coffee and dessert.  Put the food items away to prevent spoilage.  Wash dishes or load the dishwasher after guests have left.  Your husband can help when the guests leave.  If your children join your for dinner they can help clear the table and wash the dishes.

I enjoy entertaining.  It is not a burdensome task because I prepare ahead of time and I have the help of my family.  Most importantly, working together we maintain a clean, organized home .

“A well planned dinner can be enjoyable for the cook!”


About Diana Koenig