If the idea of throwing a dinner party puts your nerves on edge, it doesn't have to be that way. Getting together with friends for good food and drinks in your Seattle apartment is supposed to be fun, not stressful. With a little bit of planning and the right attitude, you can enjoy your party just as much as your guests do.
Pick the Right Group
Choosing the right bunch of people is the most important trick for having a great dinner party. Make sure they all have at least one thing in common, get along well, and are easy-going people. You can add one or two new people into the mix, but make sure they've got some similar interests with most of the other guests.
Ask About Allergies
In today's world of gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free, vegan eaters, it's tough to come up with a great menu. It's even tougher if you find out about your vegetarian guest just as you pull the chicken out of the oven. Get the word on everyone's food preferences and allergies at least a week in advance, to give you time to plan the menu.
Plan the Menu Strategically
Now is not the time to experiment with that tricky recipe you saw on your favorite cooking show. Pick favorite dishes you've made successfully a few times. Choose ones that fit into your existing pans, that don't need extensive prepping, and that aren't too picky when it comes to a little more or less cooking time.
Cut Your Self Some Slack
Unless your name is Martha Stewart, your party isn't going to be perfect. (And we're pretty sure she doesn't do all that stuff by herself either.) Skip the vegetables carved into exotic flowers and the raspberries stuffed with individual chocolate chips. Pinterest is not your friend here. Supermarket shortcuts like pre-cut veggies and cheese and cracker platters aren't a bad thing, especially if they allow you to spend more time enjoying the party with your guests.
The whole idea of throwing a dinner party is to spend time enjoying your friends, not stressing out over trying to impress anyone with your skills. Give yourself some extra time to breathe and ask for help if you need it. You'll thank yourself later when you're laughing along with your friends.