Your Dinner Party Checklist


Your Dinner Party Checklist

So you're planning a dinner party, and maybe you're feeling a little bit overwhelmed. There are a lot of moving parts! Don't worry, we've got you. This list will help add structure to your planning so you can relax and have fun, which is ultimately the point of it all!

1. Pick your date far enough in advance that you can be fairly sure your guests will be able to come. 

2. Send your invites. Text or email works, but at least with an email invite they can add it to their calendar for the helpful reminders. We think ~2 weeks for a casual even and 4-5 weeks for something more formal is good (this excludes a wedding, that is a completely different thing). 

3. Menu. Plan a menu that you feel the most comfortable with (we love to break this rule and try new recipes on friends but for this more formal advice we're saying cook something you know - or save the experiment for dessert). We also love to serve things that taste good at room temperature so you're not stressed about everything staying hot. 

4. Write your lists. You may need a few. One for your menu items, one for items you need to replenish in your house (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues etc.), and one for tablescape items (decide on linens, get candles, any centerpiece items etc.).


5. Check your serving pieces and assign which menu item will go in each dish. Use post-its to mark each one so day of no thought needs to go into it.

6. Also check your glasses to make sure you have enough, and then rinse any that are dusty. If you don't have enough, borrow them from a friend, or if you're throwing a big 'ol party you can always rent. 

7. Steam your linens. Depending on the formality level you don't have to do this, but it's on the list just in case!  

8. Give your flatware a quick wipe. 


9. Clean your refrigerator to make as much room as possible. 

10. Do your food shopping. 

11. Get your flowers and make your arrangements. This is a perfect thing to do ahead of time to free up your time day of the party. 

12. Prep any of the food that can be made a day before. Salt the meat. Clean salad greens. Batch a cocktail. Make your dessert (highly recommend a make ahead dessert). 

13. Clean the house. Make room on the coat hooks. Stock bathrooms. 

14. Fill ice trays. Or make sure you include ice on your shopping list. 

15. Chill beverages. 


16. Set the table. Place the centerpiece. 

17. Place a flower arrangement in the bathroom and one other place in the house (perhaps the bar, or a mantle). 

18. Finish making/assembling the food. 

19. Make sure the dishwasher is empty after all of your cooking. This will make cleanup at the end of the night so much easier. 

20. Set up the beverage station. 

21. Shower and get yourself ready. 

22. Check in with any family or friends on specific help you have asked for. 

23. Light the candles and turn on the music. 

24. Take a moment to relax before guests arrive - they will feel more comfortable if you're comfortable.