Content of the material
- 1 MONTH BEFORE
- 3 DAYS BEFORE
- 3. Pick a dinner party theme
- 15. A set of shredding claws with handles so you can transform a store-bought rotisserie chicken into a HUGE variety of meals with ease — and without burning your fingers or getting them greasy
- The Bar
- 19. A stuffed patty mold that’ll help you whip up a Jucy Lucy in the comfort of your own home — (you won’t even have to wear pants)
- Try to change your mindset around making dinner
- links mentioned in this episode
- 5. Plan your menu
- ADHD at Dinner Out
- Keep the kids engaged
- Watch out for the extra sugar
- Rehearsal Dinner Timeline
- 9-12 MONTHS OUT
- 5-6 MONTHS OUT
- 1-2 MONTHS OUT
- 1 WEEK OUT
- DAY OF
1 MONTH BEFORE
Your dinner party timeline starts, not the day or the week before, but one month out from your party. This is when you’ll want to start all of the following:
- Choose a theme
- Verify dates with calendars and your attendees in case of conflicts
- Plan the party flow—cocktail hour, dinner, after-dinner
- Plan your menu ideas
- Send invitations
Let’s start with the theme.
Make it topical, interesting and seasonal. You don’t have to host a full-fledged costume party, but craft something that allows your party guests to dress appropriately, can be achieved within a reasonable budget and stirs interesting conversation. The theme can be what helps bring the entire event together, and will even guide your meal plans. Is it autumn? Try a fall-related theme, perhaps making apples and squash the feature (both are in season in the fall). Maybe it’s just about to be spring and beautiful florals are in bloom – maybe try to mirror dishes after different flowers. Anything is possible! And when in doubt, head to Pinterest.
Next, verify that your dates work.
Research! Is there some other lavish party or event going on the day you want to host your dinner party? If so, you might need shuffle things around. Just make sure you don’t have any scheduling conflicts first and foremost. If it’s a dinner party for 10, you may want to check with your guests. If it’s a dinner party for 20 or more, don’t worry about trying to work with everyone’s schedule too much.
Plan a flow that makes sense.
You probably know starting with dessert isn’t the best idea. Your party has to flow appropriately, and in a way that makes sure your guests are having fun while enjoying food and party favors in an easy-going manner. Start with light music (nothing over the top) and perhaps a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, then move to dinner, dessert, and nightcaps.
Plan the menu in advance.
No last-minute dishes here. Make sure you know exactly what you’re preparing. This includes looking up and bookmarking all the necessary recipes well ahead of time and even testing them to ensure they aren’t too complicated to execute when the time comes. And remember: you have a theme! Make sure your menu is fitting with the theme without going overboard.
Finally, send out those invitations!
Once you know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, send out the invitations. And of course, don’t forget the include the theme on the invitations as well as the menu (you need to watch out for those dietary restriction friends too). If you’re mailing invitations vs going the Facebook or Evite route, make sure to give yourself an extra week so guests receive the invite at least three weeks before the day of the party.
3 DAYS BEFORE
With just three days to go, you may have a tad bit of anxiety. But as long as you’re on top of your checklist, T-3 days and counting should go smoothly! Here’s what you should do:
- Arrange the furniture
- Stowaway items you don’t want to be seen
- Do the actual grocery shopping for the event
- Figure out a coat room
Put your furniture where it needs to go.
Arranging furniture this far out is more to avoid the last-minute, sweaty scramble. And don’t forget furniture rearrangement can be time-consuming, especially if you’re trying out several different options. Depending on your space, this can take quite a bit of time, so give yourself enough time to arrange and nitpick the details.
Hide the unmentionables.
Maybe you have a pile of mail you need to go through, but still haven’t. Hide it in the closet or under the bed. If you don’t want something to be seen, put it in a discrete spot, but don’t stress too much about stowing it away forever. You can always pull it back out after your dinner party is over!
Hit the supermarket and other stores today!
Make sure you get everything you need on this one trip. Double-check the list you made with the ingredients you’ll need, just to be sure. When you purchase your food and other items, put anything that needs to stay fresh for the next few days in the proper storage to avoid spoilage.
And when it comes to wine, a handy rule to keep in mind is that there are about five glasses of wine in a bottle. Depending on the length of your evening, you can assume each of age and wine-consuming guest will conservatively have about one glass an hour. Multiply the number of glasses per guest, divide by five and once you get your number, be sure to round up! And remember, it’s better to have too much than too little.
Find the right coat room.
There are several solutions to this. If you have a coat closet right by your door, perfect. But if you have more guests than you have room in your closet, you may need to use a room to store coats. Any clean bedroom you’re not embarrassed to show people for a few seconds is an acceptable option. Piling coats on a bed is fine too.
3. Pick a dinner party theme
Choosing a dinner party theme is a great way to up the excitement of a dinner party. Dinner party themes make it easy to design online invitations, select appropriate decor, decide on a dinner menu, and choose what kind of games to play. If you throw a Taco Tuesday dinner party, you can follow the theme for your menu, decor, and invitations. For example, you can set up a taco bar as the main course of the dinner party, serve margaritas as your signature cocktail, decorate with Taco-Tuesday inspired decor, and make invitations online to match the theme, like this festive Taco Fiesta card.
15. A set of shredding claws with handles so you can transform a store-bought rotisserie chicken into a HUGE variety of meals with ease — and without burning your fingers or getting them greasy
First things first. Some families don’t drink and prefer not to have alcohol served. Be conscious of this as you plan. Also check with the venue to see what rules it may have, such as allowing only beer and wine, beer or wine, and liquor, whether you can provide the alcohol, if there’s a corking fee for wine, etc. Once you have green lights from both families and the venue, it’s time to get down to business.
Need gifts for grooms who love a good drink? Check out The Man Registry’s collection of personalized home and bar gifts – glassware, bottle openers, coasters, pub signs, and much more!
19. A stuffed patty mold that’ll help you whip up a Jucy Lucy in the comfort of your own home — (you won’t even have to wear pants)
Try to change your mindset around making dinner
This has been such a big help for me. I used to dread making dinner because that’s the witching hour at our house when the girls are crazy, hungry and argue a lot.
Instead of thinking that making dinner is a chore, I’ve worked to shift my mindset to: I get to make something delicious, good for our bodies and teach my girls the importance of real food. I’ve also started using dinner prep as “me” time to think about the day and relax. It seems like such a simple step, to change how you think about making dinner, but it’s a tough one. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about healthy living, it’s that A LOT of it comes down to your mindset. And it’s not an easy thing to change, it takes time and awareness, but it has big perks.
I have a post HERE about how I simplify and enjoy making dinner more. It used to be a time I dreaded, but now it’s a time I really enjoy because it’s my time.
Also, when I’m prepping dinner, that’s when I let the girls watch TV and I don’t feel guilty about it one bit. It’s such a huge help to have them distracted instead of complaining or fighting every 5 seconds.
links mentioned in this episode
- The Feel Good Effect, by Robyn Conley Downs
- Feel Good Effect Your Meal Plan: How to Create a Fall Capsule Meal Plan
- Easy Fall Capsule Meal Plan & Recipes
5. Plan your menu
Whether you’re cooking for five people or 12 people, you have to decide on a menu for the evening. It’s always an excellent idea to provide more than one option for appetizers, entrees, and side dishes to give your guests variety. Remember to consider your guests dietary preferences when planning your menu. You might decide to serve something like a pot roast, only to remember that three of your guests are vegetarians. You might even have a few guests who have specific food allergies.
So, consider the people you are inviting to your dinner party, and prepare your menu accordingly. Not only will it make the evening more enjoyable, but it will also make your guests feel seen and appreciated that you thought of them when planning what dishes to serve.
Note: Don’t forget dessert! A sweet treat is a great way to wrap up the evening. You can always ask your guests to bring a dessert of choice. This way, you have more time to prepare the main course.
ADHD at Dinner Out
The next place that we want to look at managing ADHD at dinner is when you eat out at a restaurant. Many times, eating out with kids can quickly head towards disruption and chaos. To avoid a fast spiral out of control, use some of the tips below to keep your kids interacting and in their seats on a night eating out.
Keep the kids engaged
When out on the town for dinner, you need to be especially cautious of any downtime or quiet lull. When eating out with kids, many things can potentially cause distractions, which can lead to issues. To help manage ADHD at dinner while eating out, try to keep the kids engaged the whole time. This means paying special attention to when you normally would just wait such as after ordering or at the end of the meal.
If the restaurant provides crayons and coloring sheets for the kids, you should use these as much as you can. Additionally, some restaurants have electronic games available at tables. These items can help keep the kids engaged and keep distraction and hyperactivity from taking over. In the absence of things provided by the restaurant, you can prepare for distractions by bringing your own game ideas such as the ones found at this link.
Watch out for the extra sugar
When managing ADHD at dinner while at a restaurant, you need to pay extra attention to what menu items your child chooses. An important part of staying on top of ADHD management involves keeping your diet in check and avoiding some of the worst foods for ADHD. Typically, meals out at restaurants have both a higher calorie count than meals at home as well as more salt and sugar content.
To help your kids both at dinner and to avoid a crash afterwards, try to stay close to similar foods you would provide at home. Anything fresh such as fresh fruit or vegetables always makes a good bet. Additionally, try to only give your children water at restaurants. You just don’t know how much sugar or additives might be included in the juices the restaurant offers. Water, on the other hand, contains no sugars and will help keep your kids calm.
Eating out at restaurant comes with many dangers towards one diet. As a parent, just be certain to plan ahead to best keep your children on a healthy plan. For more ideas on eating healthy while eating out check out the tips in this article.
Rehearsal Dinner Timeline
How will you remember everything without losing your mind? This checklist offers a helpful timeline for what should be done and when.
9-12 MONTHS OUT
- Locate and secure a venue. Determine what the deposit amount is and when the final balance will be due.
- If you’ll be using a caterer, book one as soon as possible (caterers are often booked up to a year in advance).
- Get a list of menu options from the venue or caterer. It’s also helpful to ask for a list of the venue’s and catering company’s policies. d
- Carefully review your vendors’ contracts and make sure everything fits your needs before signing on the dotted line.
5-6 MONTHS OUT
- Decide on the specifics (menu options, open or cash bar, etc.) and try out the different types of they offer.
- Begin preparing the guest list. For a small event, you may decide to invite only the wedding party. For a larger affair, you’ll also want to consider inviting any out-of-town guests and extended family members or life-long friends.
- Begin compiling the addresses of all invited guests.
- Select and order invitations.
1-2 MONTHS OUT
- Address and send out invitations.
- Begin keeping a detailed record of responses.
- Choose any special linens, flower arrangements or decorations you’ll be using at the venue.
1 WEEK OUT
- Notify the caterer of your final headcount.
- Also, inform them of any small children who will be attending (their meals are typically provided free of charge).
- If you’ll be using an assigned seating chart, draw it up.
- Purchase name cards to place at tables for assigned seating.
- Visit the venue during the day to make sure everything is properly set up.
- Relax and enjoy the night!
- After the event, make sure that any personal belongings are removed from the venue If required, clean the area (or recruit family members to help).
- Pay any outstanding balances to the caterer or venue.
TMR Recommendation: Sit down a week or so before the wedding and put together a list of things you’d like to say about each of the people you’ll be toasting in your speech. You can either create an outline to work from or type up the entire speech and print it out. It’s always a good idea to practice your toast at least a couple of times beforehand, especially if you plan on having a couple of drinks before the toast. Most importantly, relax and enjoy yourself – you’ll be great.
For more rehearsal dinner ideas and inspiration, check our Pinterest board which we update frequently.