Picturesque parties seen on TV and at the box office will have you believe that there is such a thing as a perfect dinner party. Having thrown many a get together, I'm convinced it just doesn't exist.
That said, there's a difference between a successful gathering and a perfect one. No one wants to go through the work and expense of gathering their friends together to have somethng catch fire or to forget a side dish in the refrigerator. But the pressure that we put on ourselves to be the next big party, complete with a top photo on Pinterest, can be a bit extreme.
In recent years, I've come to love the idea of the beautiful trainwreck, which is what such events usually become. It might mean the dog gets loose and we end up chasing it around the neighborhood, or possibly that a dish is caught by the effects of gravity and goes crashing to the ground with the main course. The lessons learned and the laughs had with good friends are always the best. Although there might be stories about that one time you turned your back and the cat stole a leg of lamb, that doesn't mean that it isn't a great one to have in your back pocket.
Embracing the fact that things will go wrong or be less than perfect is like the idea that everyone is a winner in a race as long as you cross the finish line. While I'm not usually one for honorary medals, in the world of party throwing, you win some and you lose some. Just accept that up front and enjoy the night!