Wednesday, September 11, 2013

5 Day Count Down to Dinner Party + Free Printable

dinner party, help, tips, timeline, checklist, entertaining, party, cleaning, cooking, meal

Surprise! Guests are coming this weekend!

Remember Mona Lisa Smile? There's a scene during which Marcia Gay Harden's character, the etiquette & elocution teacher, presents a scenario to her female pupils at Wellesley College. It involves an impromptu dinner party that the girls must be prepared for, or else doom their husband's career forever.

Thankfully, standards of entertainment are not quite as stringent in most circles today. When's the last time you wore a hostess apron to serve veal aspic?

In fact, most of the entertaining I do can be successfully planned and executed within just five days. Here's how we do it around here:

Monday: Make your plan for the week. Set yourself goals for each day up to the dinner party. Use my days to inspire your own plan.

Tuesday: Plan your menu. Decide whether you'll have a sit-down meal or buffet, indoor or out, fine china or paper plates? If actually serving dinner, keep things simple. If your get-together is a buffet or tea, have lots of options.

Wednesday: Plan for decorations and logistics. Decide if you'll use placemats or table cloths, or nothing at all. Think about details: napkin rings, coffee cups, trivets, table runners. Make sure you have arranged seating for everyone, and arrange a flow-of-traffic for a buffet or BBQ. Make a list of what you'll need. Make a grocery list.

Thursday: Clean.
Clean your guest bath, and put out fresh guest towels. Make sure there is soap and bathroom tissue available. Set up an air freshener like a candle, plug-in, or automatic spritzer, something that will keep the bathroom smelling fresh without having to worry about sprays.
Vacuum and freshen your living room furniture; dust. Clean your floors.
Wipe your counters.
Straighten and wipe anywhere you will allow your guests to see.

Friday: Do shopping for any groceries and supplies you need in the morning. Organize your mise-en-place: chop vegetables, marinate meat, etc. Don't set out your refrigerated items until you're ready to cook!
In the afternoon, start cooking your meal, do a final clean up of your house, and change your clothes.

When you've organized and planned, you'll have time to spend with your guests! Enjoy your friends and your meal! You've earned it!

Get your free printable, 5 Days to Dinner Party-- click here.