Monday, March 31, 2014

4 Life Hacks For Your Next Dinner Party

I'm super excited to announce my very first guest post! Arianna of Arianna Knows Best loves entertaining and volunteered to share a few of her favorite tips. Here's how she throws a great dinner party...

4 Life Hacks For Your Next Dinner Party
By Arianna Pierce

Growing up with an older sibling creates envy in one direction or another. While we both excel in different areas, the one thing I truly hate to admit is that my sister is a better cook than I am (at least I can always steal her recipes!). She threw a lovely dinner party when we last visited her in Philadelphia, and I was able to pick up a trick or two about throwing a fantastic dinner party!

1) Something to Nibble On

   Hors d'oeuvres truly can set the tone for the evening. One thing she served was stuffed dates, which were a huge hit with everyone. Each date was filled with almond paste, goat cheese, and bacon. The result was a delicious mix of savory and sweet that had everyone’s mouth watering.

    Of course, always make sure you check your guests’ dietary preferences and plan accordingly. I always include a gluten-free, dairy free, and vegetarian option to accommodate any guests that might have forgotten to mention their preference or for any uninvited (but still welcome!) guests. You don’t want someone to graze on salad all night!

2) Hold Onto Your Cups!

      When it comes to drinks, make sure you stock your bar with a wide assortment of alcohol, as well as non-alcoholic options. Though the classic red cups are always cheap and effective options, it can look pretty tacky and can be difficult to tell apart from another. Also, using wine glasses for everyone can also result in extra clean up (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher!). How did my sister solve this classic conundrum? She ordered clear, plastic cups in different sizes and shapes and classed them up with DIY handmade ribbon tags. DIY chalkboard labels are also a cute option depending on your theme. Each guest can write their name on a tag, allowing them to easily locate a misplaced drink!

3) Spruce the Place Up

     My sister hand made paper flowers out of old newspapers, painting some of the petals to add a little flair. It was shabby chic done so, so right! I’ve always enjoyed using fake flowers myself. They’re much lower maintenance and won’t aggravate allergies! Another great option is to check out your local craft store for pre-made arrangements. They can be reused for future gatherings or can be a lovely take home gift to hand out as your guest leave!

4) Contain Your Canine!

    If you’re a pet owner like I am, it’s important to make sure your pet is out of the way for the evening. For one, Brodie (my adorable lab) likes to get under my feet while I’m cooking. Also, as much as I hated leaving Brodie out of the fun, I can’t take the risk of making my guests with allergies and/or a fear of dogs uncomfortable. We were able to find a few locals who were available for dog boarding. After all, even dogs like a mini vacation every now and then! If you can’t find a good sitter in time for your party, be sure to relegate your pet into a room where they can remain contained, but entertained. Put their food, water bowl, and a few toys in the room with them. Make sure to stop in and give them a good petting, so they don’t think they’re being punished!

    Though I love entertaining, it always comes with a certain level of stress. The key is to carry yourself like you know exactly what you’re doing. Being prepared ahead of time can prevent unnecessary stress later on. Serve great food, stock a fantastic beverage cart, and create a lovely atmosphere. Most importantly, have fun!

Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at !

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