How to throw a stress-free dinner party

Here’s how to host a party like a pro without breaking a sweat. We put together a few quick and easy tips from the party-planning experts at Emerald Events.

Many of us get a little stressed out at the prospect of throwing a dinner party. There’s an art to making the party-planning and throwing process much more chill and WAY less frantic. In addition, it’s good to remember the whole reason you’re having the party in the first place—it’s all about getting together with people you love and having a good time. No one expects everything to be perfect. Here’s the lowdown on how to plan ahead so you can actually enjoy your party.

Take time to declutter your space
living room, clean, prepare

A clean space helps you feel more prepped for your dinner party

Whether you’re planning a formal sit-down dinner or a casual game night with pals, taking time to declutter and clean your space will significantly reduce your stress and make you feel like you’ve got a fresh slate to start the preparation.

Make sure you focus on shared spaces like the living room, entry area, and bathrooms. Add some fresh flowers, fresh hand towels, and other little details. After you prep most of the food, you can make sure the kitchen counters are relatively clear and super clean.

Turn prep time into de-stress time 
breathe, calm

Make sure you take time to breathe and relax as you get things done

As you set the table, iron linens, hang decorations, and prep food, take time to be meditative and breathe deeply. Try to enjoy the process. As you get things done, gently check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling, scan your body for tension, and try to let go of any stress. Those tasks can become relaxing and rejuvenating when you look at it as a chance to de-stress.

Set the table ahead of time
table, setting, dinner, party

Set a simple table a day ahead so you can check it off your list

Set the table even a day ahead of time and remember: keep it simple! One of our favourite go-to looks is linen napkins with white dinnerware. It’s minimal, elegant, and matches almost any occasion, so you don’t have to stock up on new dishes or linens for each party.

Keep the food simple
cooking, dinner, food

Prep food ahead of time so you’re not stressed or overwhelmed during the party

Remember that the host really shouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen for the whole party! Make sure to prepare some food ahead of time and pre-plate whatever food you can. It lets you enjoy time with your guests much more.

Start early

Whatever you do, don’t let the planning wait until the last minute or even the last day. You’ll feel much more at ease if you plan whatever you can beforehand, whether it’s making appetizers ahead of time to re-heat the next day, or setting your table the day before.

Set up a self-serve bar
cocktails, drinks, party

Set up a self-serve cocktail station for guests to create their own drinks.

So, what’s the most stress-free drink service possible? We suggest setting up a self-serve bar so your guests can be their own mixologists.

All you have to do is set up an elegant tray with a decanter, two or three bottles of good quality liquor and some special mixers. Everyone will enjoy creating their own concoctions. Another tip: welcome your guests at the door with a tray of champagne and sparkling water nearby, so they can grab a glass as soon as they arrive!

Got any stress-busting party-planning tips? Please share them below, or on our Facebook or Instagram! We’d love to hear from you.


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Surrey, British Columbia