Ever wonder if you could host a dinner again?  Is life too chaotic for dinner gatherings?  Does life seem too chaotic to host a dinner?

It is possible to host a large dinner for a group of friends or family but it gets tricky with our ultra-busy lives.  For me, it just isn’t like it used to be when I was a stay-at-home mom and could work the planning into my life.

May I show you some simple steps to get the job done with grace and calm?  Learn to piece-meal the preparation out and have a plan with all the details.  It is like a recipe that you must follow but you can make your own changes.

First, Set the date then start planning.  Right now, Easter is coming so I am already planning for the event for our kids and grandkids.  Here are some helpful tips that I use to piece-meal it out:

Set the overall goal for the event:  Have everyone enjoy each other and the event and the food.  Have them leave feeling loved and happy they joined the gathering.

  1. Send an email for save-the-date with time and some description several weeks before the actual date for the gathering.
  2. The menu can be planned well in advance when time allows.  Guests are invited to participate in preparing a dish that either aligns with a tradition in their life or select from a menu provided by the hostess.
  3. Plan the centerpiece and keep it simple.  Refresh older centerpieces as needed. A lovely vase of flowers is always appropriate and feels good to everyone.  Just keep the fragrance down so no one is bothered during the meal.
  4. Purchase non—perishable goods as far in advance as time allows.  Slip in the items while doing your regular shopping.
  5. Days or weeks prior to the event clear the clutter and clean up the bathroom that will be used.  The day before the event spruce up the bathroom.  Same with the kitchen.
  6. Several days prior to the event, clean the living room and other downstairs rooms; vacuum, dust, have picked up.
  7. Day of the event, follow your timeline and drink a lot of water as you move through the day. Enjoy the guests and remember you want them to enjoy the experience.

8. Day prior to the event, purchase the fresh food.

Write out a time for food preparation for the next day so everything will come together at the time you have scheduled.

  • Know when to put the meat in the oven.
  • When to bake, or heat a dish.
  • Allow for cooling time before cutting.
  • When to dress the salad.
  • When to open the wine if you are serving it.
  • When to put ice in the glasses and water. (This chore can be assigned to a guest)
  • You are the master conductor for the event so be prepared, assign help as needed and don’t hesitate to ask for extra assistance.
  • Day of the event, follow your timeline and drink a lot of water as you move through the day. Enjoy the guests and remember you want them to enjoy the experience.

9. Follow your timeline and drink a lot of water as you move through the day. Enjoy the guests and remember you want them to enjoy the experience.

Finally, enjoy the guests and remember you want them to enjoy the experience.  Give yourself grace if it isn’t perfect.  Ask for help anywhere in the process and be sure to thank them.

10.  After the event, review what worked and what did not, review what you will change for the next event.

11. Look forward to another gathering around your dining room table.