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Spring is around the corner and what better way to celebrate the warmer weather than with a dinner party. While it might be a little chilly to have dinner outside, you can still enjoy sundowners and snacks outside and then gather inside to enjoy a delicious meal and great each-other’s company. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when hosting a dinner party:

Set a date
We all live very busy lives filled to the brim with activities and commitments. It’s therefore important to pick a date way in advance so people can diarise it early. Remember to send your guests reminders as the date draws near. Also, things come up and people cancel – don’t take it personally, and don’t ask for explanations.

Pick your friends
Select a group you know will get along – many of us have diverse groups of friends, especially couples, and while it’s great to have friends from different groups get to know each other, avoid inviting too many new faces (to the group) – you want your guests to feel comfortable right from the start.

Playlist maketh the party
Music is very important to set the mood for your dinner party. While everyone has different tastes in music, the best thing to do is to play it safe and select something that you think most of your friends will enjoy. Oh, and save the death metal or hard house music for another day, or later, depending on how the evening progresses.

Prepare, prepare, prepare
From setting the table, to buying the ingredients, to preparing the ingredients so you’re ready to cook, preparation is everything, and will not only ensure the evening goes smoothly, but also save you a lot of stress. Food that can be served cold, such as snacks and dessert can be made the evening before, as well as other food preparations such as marinating meat.

Dietary requirements
People have different dietary requirements, whether it be due to allergies, cultural reasons or just a great dislike of some dishes, enquire about specific dietary requirements before starting to plan the meals.

Easy starters
Keep starters, or snacks, and desserts simple and avoid making them too elaborate. The focus of the evening is the main meal and having a good time with friends, so you still want your guests to be hungry by the time your deli- cious main is served.

Tried and tested
Cook something that you’re familiar with. A dinner part is not the time to experiment with that fancy Japanese recipe you saw on TV. You too want to enjoy the party and the last thing you want to do is be frantic and frazzled in the kitchen. Also, choose a dish that takes minimal effort to avoid slaving away in the kitchen the whole time.

Delicious dessert
Similar to the starters, keep dessert simple; something that’s easy to dish up after the main meal. Be open to the fact that guests will want to enjoy the des- sert in a different room, or even help themselves. This, again, can save you effort and stress.

What to bring
Don’t be afraid to ask people to bring something, but ensure it’s something you can do without if they forget.

Squeaky-clean
Cleaning up at the end of a dinner party can be a serious downer after a pleasant evening, but doing it before you go to bed will ensure you don’t wake up grumpy the next day. In fact, do one better and try to clean up as you go along during the evening without making a chore of it. This will get you to bed earlier and waking up happier.

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