Gathering people together to connect over a meal is one of the most gratifying things on earth.  There’s nothing better than creating a special evening of food and togetherness for the people you love. A great dinner party isn’t just about the food. Is also being a smart host.

While food is arguably the most important element, there is so much more that goes into planning and executing an amazing night around your dinner table. From the perfect playlist to an aesthetic tablescape, flowing conversation, and a relaxed atmosphere, nailing these little details can lead to an unforgettable night being a smart host.

Advance planning will ultimately make a dinner party that much easier to pull off. Making accurate lists and giving yourself plenty of time for each task will minimize chaos and help you tackle the inevitable glitches that arise. If you’re thinking of asking someone over for dinner, the following timeline, tips about recipes and organization will show you how to host a dinner party at home and be a smart host.

Here our top tips to throw a fabulous dinner party for your friends, and be a smart host throughout the entire process

smart host

Set your gest list

Create your guest list, making sure you have enough dishes to serve everyone. If you are new to having people round for dinner, start off with just a few close friends. You don’t want to put the pressure on! A smart host do not invite too many people, and always make sure that the people coming all get on with each other!

Check for confirmation

Pin down confirmations from guests and be sure to check on their dietary restrictions. Make sure you ask ahead and check if anyone has any allergies, or diet restrictions. Most people will politely eat a meal they might not enjoy, but if they have an allergy, or you’ve served meat to a vegetarian, you can not be considered a smart host.

Plan your menu

Plan your menu, keeping in mind what ingredients are in season and what can be prepared a day before the dinner. Think about how you’ll want your dishes to look when served, and be sure to include any special tools, plates or garnishes you’ll need to create. Pick up candles and any other décor  you’ll want for the evening.

Pick up all the ingredients for the dinner

Purchase wine and any other beverages you’ll be serving, and make sure you have a good corkscrew. If you tend to get flustered in the kitchen it might be an idea to cook the meal in advance. This can be done really easily in a slow cooker.

Just pop it on in the morning and it’ll be ready for when your guests are ready to eat it. Plus you’ll be able to sit down and enjoy your guests company rather than worrying about food burning or not being ready on time. As a smart host do not forget to filli up your ice trays and pick up extra ice from the store if you’ll be making cocktails.

Go with a favourite recipe

Testing out a new recipe at a dinner party might not be a wise idea. As a smart host if you want to make something you don’t usually have at least give it a test run beforehand.

Set the table

Set up the table and any décor. All linens, table settings, glasses, place cards and candles should be laid out at this point.

Do a final sweep

If you’re having a big dinner, you’ve probably spent days sprucing up your space. But just before guests arrive, focus on the big picture. Go through each room that your guests will visit and stare for a few seconds. Try to concentrate only on what you are seeing and what stands out visually as out of place, and not what you ‘know’ is dirty or unorganized but that no one else will see or pay attention to. Take these last few minutes to fix those spaces.

Freshen up the powder room

The powder room or guest bathroom is a place all of your guests will likely visit at least once. Because of that, you’ll want it in tip-top shape. In addition to scrubbing it from top to bottom, as a smart host, you should ensure it’s ready for heavy foot traffic.

Enjoy yourself

A smart host don’t forget dinner parties are meant to be fun! Don’t stress yourself out so much that you don’t enjoy yourself. Your friends have come round to see you, not assess you on your hosting skills. If you enjoy hosting friends over but don’t like to cooking part, get everyone to bring a dish over – or better still, order in a takeaway!