Hey folks, I’m Carolina from the food and kitchen blog A Butterful Mind. I wasn’t always fond of the kitchen and was intimidated by party planning but I’m all about those things now! Hang with me here on Miss Mae’s Days and I’ll walk you through how to make a no-fuss dinner party plan.
I’m a huge fan of printables to keep me organized. I’m an even bigger fan of printables that help me see the whole picture. When it comes to having dinner parties I need a one-page space to gather my thoughts and help me make decisions before the big day. I created a worksheet just for that purpose and you can get yours for free HERE. Print it out if you like and follow along!
What’s the Occasion?
Let’s consider why you’re throwing this shindig in the first place. Maybe you’re celebrating a job promotion or a new pregnancy. Perhaps you’re getting to know a new couple from church. Maybe there’s no particular reason at all! I love a casual dinner with old friends just ‘cause. Whatever the occasion, a good hostess knows it’s about the fellowship. The rest of the stuff is just “stuff”. We’ll get into “stuff” right here in this post but it’s nothing without the ability to enjoy good company. If you got that down let’s continue!
Write down the number of people showing up and don’t forget the kids. If you’re low on chairs try borrowing from a neighbor – no shame in that! Consider having a kids table so that they can goof around and parents enjoy some uninterrupted grown-up conversation. The best part about this idea is that kids don’t give a hoot about their place setting. No need to fancy-fold those napkins! Save your sanity and keep it simple.
Planning to decorate? Jot down what you need in the shopping list space right there on the dinner party plan worksheet. It’ll be right alongside the ingredients, paper goods, or presents you need to purchase for the party. That way you can take a day beforehand and knock out all the things you need in one outing.
For finding recipes, I’m telling you, Pinterest is perfect. Not only is it a visual search engine packed full of foodie favorites, but you can easily narrow your search by category. For instance, search for “dinner party menu” and then narrow it further by clicking “easy” or “healthy” or even “make ahead”! It’s a no-fuss way to nail down your options.
Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring an appetizer or drink. It’s a simple way to lighten your load and you’d be surprised how many will ask to contribute something. A store-bought item one could easily pick up on the way over is a great idea. Think hummus, crackers, soda, etc…
Manage the Time, Mama
My biggest hurdle when planning a dinner party is how to cook with needy children at my feet. Sweet mercy, it’s tough! The best advice I have besides locking them up (kidding) is to prep the food way in advance. Simply scribble in the time on you’ll start prepping the menu on the dinner party plan worksheet leaving a cushion for the inconsolable toddler. 🙂
If Nothing Else, Enjoy
Try not to freak out if you’ve waited until the last-minute to plan your dinner party. It can be done! If all you do is cook what’s in the fridge, serve water, and have some laughs, you’ll have done a good job. Again, it’s really about the fellowship. Leave the dishes in the sink and enjoy the night.
Speaking of parties, I’ve created an ebook for the busy mom needing a party planning solution. Complete with recipes, worksheets, and guides, find out how creating a crostini bar (fancy for “little toast” bar) can save your sanity this season. Sign up and be the first to get access to a free chapter!
(bio) Carolina Weick is the creator of A Butterful Mind, a food blog with step by step recipes and kitchen tips. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two kids and is all about the local food scene in Charleston. She’s a goofball who loves Jesus and hates chocolate.