10 Secrets That Every Good Dinner Host Should Know

10 Secrets That Every Good Dinner Host Should Know

Dana Velden
Dec 21, 2016
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Here at Kitchn, we believe in the dinner party with all our hearts. Whether it's a small impromptu gathering that you barely have time to clean up for or a more lavish celebration that requires nameplates and more than two forks at a place setting, we've got you covered. Remember: A happy, relaxed host means happy, relaxed guests! Let us show you how it's done.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

1. The Tell-Tale Signs You're Having a Grown-Up Party

The "tell-tale signs" in this post are also good guidelines for hosting a great party. Sure, a tablecloth might be optional, but beautiful flowers, a decent bar, and delicious appetizers are sure signs that you're taking care of your guests.

(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

2. 5 Questions Everyone Still Has About Party Etiquette, and the New Answers

Is email an OK way to invite your guests to your party these days? What about if you'd like them to remove their shoes or not post pictures on social media? Party etiquette is always a fraught situation, but this post will help you navigate its more choppy waters with grace and aplomb.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. What Guests Actually Care About at Dinner Parties

Do you get into a mad dither before a party, rushing around trying to make everything (and everybody) absolutely perfect? Give yourself (and your spouse) a break and focus on the things that really matter. This post will help you sort through what's most pressing so you can be calm and totally available for the most important thing: your guests.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

4. What France Taught Me About Dinner Parties

Don't be fooled into thinking that all dinner parties are fancy, multi-course events. Lauren's experience with living and hosting parties in the south of France as a recent college graduate taught her how to create parties that are low-key but still warm and generous. Learn from her!

(Image credit: Eric Ryan Anderson)

5. How Parenthood Has (Surprisingly!) Made Me Throw More Dinner Parties

Having children changes everything, including how you define the term "dinner party." Anna recommends super-casual suppers that can be thrown together in a few hours with simplified menus and even more simplified expectations. And to remember the core purpose of dinner parties: connecting with friends over the table.

(Image credit: WolfCreative/Stocksy)

6. 5 Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party (and Seeing Your Friends More Often)

The worst reason for never having people over is our mistaken notion that everything has to be perfect first. It's not easy to give up perfectionism, but this post will help encourage and support the budding host to drop the myth that your life needs to be white-glove clean and all the food made from scratch. So go on and have a crappy dinner party! You and your guests will be glad that you did.

(Image credit: Michaela Rae)

7. The 10 Commandments of Southern Entertaining

The charm and grace of a Southern host is legendary, so it's no wonder that we look to them for dinner party wisdom. This collection of 10 commandments from the editors of Garden & Gun magazine will help you achieve that Southern charm, no matter where you live, And remember: Thou shalt make a lasting first impression with iconic Southern finger foods.

(Image credit: Kristin Teig)

8. 5 Rules for Hosting a Holiday Party in a Small Apartment

"I don't have any room to throw a party" is a common excuse, especially from those of us who live in large, expensive cities or are just starting out in the world. Ariel has both the experience (from throwing a lot of parties in her 500-square-foot apartment) and the smarts to figure out how to make it work.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

9. 10 Things to Clean Now Before the Holiday Season Gets Going

While this post is geared towards the holidays, its wisdom really applies to any dinner party or gathering at any time of the year. Bottom line: The earlier you can get some of the cleaning and maintenance tasks out of the way, the better.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

10. 5 Strategies for Shutting Down the Party

Knowing how to end your party is just as important as getting it started and keeping it going. Anne has some clever strategies for encouraging people to leave, from the subtle to the blunt. Best to have these in your back pocket for those lingering, clueless guests who are having just too good of a time.

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