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March 3rd, 2011
Thirteen Tips for Entertaining

Thursday Thirteen

Sometimes entertaining can be a little scary. Here are some tips for beginners…

Thirteen Tips for Entertaining i.e. Entertaining 101

1. Think ahead and set the table in the morning or afternoon of the dinner.

2. Make the table special with a simple seasonal centerpiece or something to complement the guests or food. Don’t make the centerpiece too tall. You don’t want your guests craning their necks all during the dinner.

3. Candlelight creates a great atmosphere. Keep the candles low so that conversation flows across the table.

4. Get in the mood with some chic and restful music.

5. Don’t try to be too ambitious and enlist help in the kitchen or design a prepare-ahead menu.

6. Forget nibbles. Plan on getting the guests to the table promptly after one or two drinks.

7. Keep it simple. Plan a meal that is simple to prepare and eat. Complex food is often time-consuming and heavy, leaving your poor guests groaning and overfull.

8. Focus on one course being the star rather than three spectacular courses.

9. Don’t experiment. Cook dishes you’re familiar with and have tried before.

10. Avoid repetition in colors, ingredients, textures and flavors. i.e. don’t serve tomato soup followed by roast beef garnished with red and a berry dessert.

11. Refrain from drinking yourself until dinner is under way. You don’t want to feature in your guests stories for years to come!

12. Seek advice if you’re not skilled with matching food and wine. Take your menu to a specialist wine store. Even your supermarket probably has a wine expert.

13. Cocktails get everyone in a happy frame of mind. They can be time consuming to make so purchase a bottle of the best bubbles you can afford.

Do you have any entertaining tips?

16 comments to “Thirteen Tips for Entertaining”

  1. Very good advice, all around.

    Unfortunately, I’m no good at the whole “dinner party” thing. I always make the same thing.


    (you saw that coming, right?)

    Happy TT!

  2. I’m having a few friends over tonight! Nothing fancy. Just hearty beef stew and a movie. I think I’ve got too much food. But that’s okay. I can polish off leftovers myself.

  3. Love this!!! Thanks Shelley.

  4. I put my guests to work. :wink:

    We don’t stand on ceremony at my house. If I’m checking the roast, someone else can be tossing the salad or pouring the wine.

  5. I hardly ever entertain. Just reading this makes me a little nervous. Too much pressure for me. Luckily, my husband is more social.

  6. Dinner at my house only involves a tablecloth if it’s a holiday. Otherwise, it’s grab yourself a plate and a beer!

  7. I entertain every once in a while, mostly at the holidays. I always ahve to have one thing that’s essential….xanax! lol

    If that doesn’t work then I just let my dad entertain all teh guests because he’ll talk everyone’s ears off. Love that about him.

  8. Great ost! I like to make some finger foods in advance so I won’t be running around making more if I run out. Bowls with gormet popcorn or snack mixes are an easy and inexpensive way to provide nibbles for people before and after a meal while they are drinking.

  9. Due to the unpredictability of my neighbors (the bane of apartment dwelling), I rarely entertain. Well, that and no money, lol.

  10. All very good tips! Thanks

  11. LOL Kimberly. Someone had to say it. We do more casual dining – BBQs and the like rather than a dinner party. They’re much easier.

  12. Fantastic tips…Thank you

  13. Re: #11 – But what if I DO want to? :evil:

  14. Actually, Tatiana – I don’t always subscribe to this suggestion myself. A drink or two is always relaxing.

  15. Great tips!


    My TT is at

  16. I watched my mother do this kind of party for many years, but have yet to do it myself even once.