How do you host a dinner party in 30 minutes? Well it starts by ordering in, but that’s not all. A last minute casual dinner party can still be pulled together with style. We’re setting the clock and making it happen step by step so you can feel confident when entertaining at home. Even if it’s spur of the moment.
Entertaining at home doesn’t have to include a long list of to-do items. Sometimes you have last minute plans that arise, or you’re running late from work, or your college roommate is passing through town and wants to come over.
Whatever the reason, you can easily pull together a dinner party in 30 minutes, and here’s how. Start by ordering pizza or Chinese, or pick up something from takeout on the way home. Knowing you only have 30 minutes to prepare, no one will care that you’re not cooking from scratch.
Have fun and remember it’s all about having a good time with each other.
To test out my plan I headed into the studio and put together a dinner party setting to inspire you. The countdown is on!
How to host a dinner party in 30 minutes
Set the table
30-20 minutes: Begin setting the table using your go-to table runner. A black and white stripe fabric right off the bolt is classic and goes with everything. You don’t even have to sew it!
Add plate chargers, white dishes, and pretty glasses. Open a bottle of red wine so it can breathe, OR take a bottle of white out of the refrigerator so it’s the proper serving temperature in about 20 minutes.
HOSTESS TIP: If you don’t have a bottle of white wine chilled, fill an ice bucket with ice. Add water to be even with the ice level and put the white wine inside to “quick chill.” It should be ready in about 15 minutes.
Style Tip: For simple styling that doesn’t take extra time, tie utensils with a strip of ribbon. No need to tie a bow either. A simple loop does the trick and takes only seconds.
Add a centerpiece
20-15 minutes: Cut flowers and add them to your favorite vase of water. You can stop and pick some up on your way home from work, or cut some from the yard.
Don’t have flowers? Use a small tabletop house plant or succulents. See more tips on creating pretty centerpieces that don’t always include flowers.
15-10 minutes: Grab a basket and do a quick sweep of your space picking up the clutter. Hide the basket away in a closet or room that no one will be going into, and put things where they belong, later.
Check the bathroom and make sure it’s guest ready.
Set the mood with music
10-5 minutes: Set up a playlist of background music using Spotify playlists or other site that lets you choose music by genre. I like to choose jazz playlists according to artist. Turn the volume low enough that it doesn’t hinder conversation.
Last 5 minutes: Pour a couple of glasses of wine, and put out a bowl of nuts; be ready to answer the doorbell when it rings.
See more about styling your dining room shelves here!
Knowing you only have 30 minutes to prepare, no one will care that you’re not cooking from scratch. Order pizza or Chinese, or pick up something from takeout on the way home.
Have fun and remember it’s all about having a good time with each other. Cheers!