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This blog is the first of a three-part “With Ashley Furniture” series. Be sure to check back for two more upcoming blogs.


Having your friends over for a weekend dinner party is the perfect way to spend a summer night. It’s a chance to enjoy some delicious food and good company, whether you decide to make it fancy or casual.

Hosting a dinner party is super fun, but it can definitely be stressful if you don’t plan ahead. To help you out, we’ve compiled eight helpful tips on how to throw the perfect dinner get-together in your home.

Bon appétit!


1. Plan Your Guest List

Planning the right guest list is actually pretty easy! Just invite people you like having around. Whether it’s your college friends, next-door neighbors, or fun co-workers, having the right group of people at your dinner party can make all the difference. Once the guest list is made, you can start bringing your dinner party dreams to life.


2. Send Out Dinner Invitations

If you’re feeling fancy, sending official invitations to your guests can really set the right tone for your party. You can send out something simple, like an online invite! Here is a link to an electronic invitation option you can use.

Keep in mind, invitations give your guests valuable party information. First, you can use them to provide exact details for the time and location. This will spare you the trouble of receiving tons of “when is your party again?” texts.  Second, invitations tell your guests what to wear and let them know if they need to bring anything. Don’t want to bother with an invitation? A group text will get the job done!


3. Preparation is Key

Good party prep can be a game changer, especially when cooking for a large group of people. Pro tip — make sure you empty your dishwasher before your guests arrive so, you can load dirty dishes quickly and easily. Also, it’s a good idea to clean up cutting boards and other dishes as you cook to get a head start on clean up after the meal.


4. Set the Table in Style


It’s not a dinner party without a properly set dinner table! You’ll obviously want a dining room set from Ashley Furniture so you can eat in style, but having the right table settings is important too. A basic rule of thumb for setting your table is to place your utensils in the order they’ll be used, starting from the outside and working inwards. There are several different ways you can set up your dining table.  Don’t forget to use your best dinnerware and drink ware sets for the occasion (but paper plates totally work too if you’re not feeling fancy)! If you want to add a touch of color, try adding some fresh flowers to the table.


5. Make DIY Cocktail Stations


Shake things up, including your mixed drink, by creating a station with simple cocktail options for guests to make on their own. Discover fun recipes for your drinks of choice and print them out on card stock. Then, take each of the ingredients needed for the cocktail and set them out for your guests to create their own drinks. Don’t forget to make sure you have the bar tools needed for your recipes!

6. Plan Your Menu

It’s not a dinner party without a yummy dinner, of course! Carefully plan a delicious menu that will give your guests a tasty meal they’ll remember. From savory steaks to a fresh pasta dish, the meal possibilities are endless. Don’t forget to have a few appetizers ready for your guests to snack on when they come in.



Another dinner pro tip: be aware of any dietary needs, restrictions or food allergies your friends have; it’s always good to know beforehand! Don’t worry, there are always plenty of gluten-free or vegetarian options that everyone at the party will love.


7. Have Desserts and Coffee

Eventually, your guests will want to move from the dining room to the living room to get comfortable. As the evening is winding down, this is a great time for a little night cap to bust out some desserts and coffee. Make sure you thank them for coming, and double check everyone is safe to drive home!


8. Don’t Put off Cleanup

You’ve been cooking for hours, which means you’re probably pretty tired. It may be tempting to leave that mess for the morning, but we know you’ll regret it! Since there’s nothing worse than waking up to a colossal pile of dishes, get a head start on cleaning right after your guests leave.


The “With Ashley Furniture” blog series will build up to a big Aaron’s® event on May 13th! Check back soon to get more at-home tips from Ashley Furniture.