How to host a dinner party even if you don’t cook!

Dinner table view of the dinner party

How to host a stress-free “chill” dinner party if you are more of a HOST than a COOK!

Friends preparing for dinner

Ladies and gents, this is easy! I am more of a host than a cook, for sure! I love for things to look pretty, and would rather put my time and effort into atmosphere and entertainment than the food! Even if you don’t cook doesn’t mean you can’t host a stress free “Chill” dinner party! 

Why host a Dinner party?

Well, let’s face it, we just experienced a pandemic where we all experienced a bit of loneliness, some might call is solitude. So now is the time. We are getting closer to the time where we are able to open our homes and fill our tables with family and friends to share a meal together.   I have friends and family that are amazing cooks and LOVE to prepare awesome meals. I leave the cooking to the “experts”. Dinner parties can have many different themes, amount of guests, locations, etc. That isn’t what we are talking about here. Most often a dinner party is different than your typical family holiday meal. It is usually an invite to gather friends. Its being hospitable, an invite of generosity to your home to share a meal with friends, or perhaps, some you are just meeting and at the beginning of a friendship. And, most of all, who doesn’t love a great time that is centered around great food?    

So how does this work? 

It’s simple.  As the host it’s your dinner party, so let the planning begin! 

  • Make the list of friends you would like to invite.
  • Set the date.  Sometimes you might want to reach out to your friends and let them know of your plans to help get a date that works for everyone.
  • Send out the invite! If you are going to have a “theme” be sure to include that in the invite.
  • Let the plans slowly evolve amongst your friends. Give a set time for all to arrive with plenty of time for the evening to play out, without it being a eat and run type of evening.

Why you should have a theme for your Dinner Party.

Having a theme in mind will help you with the planning to narrow down your choices for decor and style to decorate the dinner table. It will also be beneficial when the “chefs” are looking for the dishes that they would like to prepare. There’s nothing like someone bringing a “Rack of lamb” to a “Mexican Fiesta” party. This will help plan the meny easily, without YOU, the one that doesn’t cook, planning the menu. Instead, you plan the fun!

No matter the size of your home, you can always make this work.  If your table is large and can seat everything, great. If you don’t have that space there is nothing wrong with having smaller tables or seating areas. Start to plan the look of the table to match your theme. Think about the table centerpiece, the colors or the mix match of dishes you might want to use. Allow this to be the time you pull out all those “saved” dishes, or even yet, the BEST acrylic or themed paper products you have!   

Group Of Friends Having Dinner Party At Home

Time to bring in the chefs!

  • Allow the “chefs” to do their thing. Invite your guests and allow conversations to take place where the “chefs” can collaborate and determine who can bring the following:
    • Appetizers
    • Salad
    • Bread
    • Main course
    • Side dishes
  • Allow time in your kitchen for last minute cooking and heating

The guests are arriving!

Let’s not forget about those specialty drinks. We all have that friend that loves to make new, fun, yummy mocktails. That is a great added element to start the evening off. Have everyone grab a drink and an appetizer and let the conversations begin. While the friends are coming in with their dishes and prepare to showcase their masterpiece it’ll be great to hear the conversations that take place about their meals and how they were prepared which allows your friends to learn tips from one another as well.

When dinner is ready, take the lead and invite your guest to your “elegantly” set table and prepare for great conversation and great night of memories to be made!    

Don’t forget dessert!

Don’t forget to allow the “dessert and pastry chefs” to chime in as well. Some people love to bake and can be an excellent end to the evening.

Friends at a dinner party sitting around the table eating dessert.
All Dinner Parties need Desserts!

Don’t get stuck with all the dinner dishes.

And lastly, we all know those ladies that love to help clean up before they leave. Allow them to help! Trust me, they really want to! This is their time to shine if they weren’t one of the “chef”. This will help eliminate that feeling of “ick” after your friends and family walked into a clean inviting house and can help the party continue in a peaceful, stress-free environment!      

So to recap, remember Hosting a Dinner Party doesn’t have to be stressful. You don’t have to be able to cook. Allowing your friends to showcase their “Chef skills” and you being able to provide a beautiful, fun space of hospitality and generosity is very rewarding when you sit back and see the laughter and smiles of your guests, friends.

Just another little KISS strategy for you!

Bon Appetit, ya’ll!

Robie Lynn

PS – Looking for a few other great tips and KISS strategies (Keep is Super Simple) check out the Burlap and Daisies Facebook page or website!

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