In 2017, the holiday season brings feelings of joy, love, and more often than not, stress. Between the holiday traffic and shopping for loved ones, one has little headspace to even consider how to efficiently prepare for a dinner party. Luckily, Satterfield’s has years of experience arranging seamless dinner services and parties in their private dining room. We have decided to give you exclusive insider access to professional tips on throwing a well-executed holiday dinner party. No matter your style or budget, these simple tips will ensure your gathering goes off without a hitch.
#1 Create a Simple Menu
Keep it simple, comforting, and fun. Don’t forget to ask guests about any dietary restrictions.
Pro Tip: This is not the time to try to make something new. Make dishes you KNOW you are good at executing.
#2 Prep in Advance
Prep and freeze your entree. Bake and freeze a dessert. A few days before, chop veggies for salads and sides. The day before, cut up the fruit.
Pro Tip: A hot or cold soup is a quick option as one of your courses.
Pro Tip: When people ask if they can bring anything, say beer or wine.
#4 Triple Threat Decor
Fresh flowers/greenery, candles, and linens (white table cloths/napkins).
Pro Tip: Feeling fancy? Use china, if you have it. If not, plain white dishes will do!
#5 Seating and Smart Stations
Make sure to have enough seating for all guests in and out of the dining room. Have stations for hors d’oeuvres and a self-serve bar away from the kitchen.
Pro Tip: Feeling fancy? Have some placement cards made at your local print shop. For the self-serve bar, print out a simple drink recipe and frame it so there is no confusion.
Your guests want to be in your presence, the food is just an added bonus.
#7 Accept Help If and When It is Offered
Delegate and get things done! People like to contribute.
Pro Tip: Assign tasks based on a person’s skills and strengths. Not everyone should contribute in the kitchen.
#8 Plan for Unexpected Guests
Plan for at least two unexpected guests (5 or more for larger parties). Better safe than sorry.
Pro tip: Add freezer bags and disposable food storage containers to your shopping list ahead of time.
#9 De-clutter Your House in Advance
Start paring down your main living areas 3-4 weeks before the dinner party. Ample seating and cleanliness should not be a top priority the week of the party.
#10 Send Your Invitations Sooner Than Later. It’s Holiday Season.
The most important part of any dinner party is the people who attend. Try to pick people who know each other or will mesh well.
Pro Tip: Consider the size of your space. Most homes can’t fit more than 12 people comfortably. For apartments, even less.
#11 Timing is Everything!
Each course will approximately take an hour at the table with conversation.
#12 Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up!
A few weeks before the event, check-in with your expected guests.
Pro Tip: Confirm +1’s and dietary restrictions.