Food & Drink

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

June 3

Hosting a dinner party can be very stressful. Making sure the house is clean, mastering a delicious meal to present to your guests, setting the table… the list goes on. The thing is, a dinner party doesn’t have to be stressful.

One of my proudest traits is being a “relaxed” host. I love opening my home to people, mainly because I am such a homebody and don’t mind putting in the effort.

In the many dinner parties with friends and family in our home, I have found my hosting niche, from early preparations to ending the night with a fun card game and especially, avoiding a million dirty dishes. I owe it to my mom and grandmother for all that I’ve learned in etiquette, recipes, and overall dining style, but I’ve found that I have the most fun, using my own artistic flair and putting my own stamp on my parties.

It’s all about embracing the “fun” and having a relaxed atmosphere. Here are some simple tips for hosting a casual dinner party.


It’s all about the PREP! There are few things I hate more than doing the dishes. So, I always try to make sure the dishwasher is completely empty when the party begins. This way you have plenty of room for all the dirty dishes from the party, and you can load as you go. It’s a super simple step, but one that you’ll be grateful for as the party goes on! I also always make sure the trash has been taken out. There is nothing worse than having a full trash can during the party.


I can’t stress it enough – keep the unpleasant tasks out of the way before the party. I prep everything I am cooking ahead of time and wash knives, cutting boards, and pots right after I’m done with them so there is way less to clean up after the party. House of Knives has so many neat kitchen gadgets and cooking tools to also help with the pre-party prep. Two of my favourites are the melon baller and strawberry slicer.

Pro tip: Pre-make dessert as well (I will usually do this the night before) – that way, you just need to put it in the oven, heat it up on the stovetop or just cut and serve! If I am short on time Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has come to my rescue with dipped strawberries and apple pieces. Absolutely fabulous and I wish I could take the credit for it!


My mom follows a traditional style when it comes to her tableware’s, a style that suits her classic taste. While her timeless table setting tips still influence me, I like to incorporate my own personal style into my table settings by using pops of modern colours, gold, whites with bright colours mixed in. The Hudson’s Bay carries a great variety of china and timeless stated pieces of tableware that suits any one’s taste.

Honestly, if there is anything you can do for your table, it is having a great centerpiece. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, and it pulls the whole table together. A simple centerpiece ties the whole table together in an ornamental l container or vase from Hudson’s Bay. Be original and add some fresh flowers and an apple or two. Make it yours!


The meal completely depends on how many people you are inviting. If it is more than 6, I am thinking “Pot Luck”. You get a nice variety and it is a nice change for yourself. Have someone bring a side, a salad, and a dessert. Try not to tell them exactly what to bring; just give them a theme or your main dish cuisine to follow. Variety is the spice of life!


I love filling our dinner parties with a full night of activities. From the start to finish, you want your guests laughing and having a great time. That way, they’ll be sure to leave saying that your dinner parties are the best!

Start with an appetizer, a simple cheese plate is never a disappointment. During appetizer time, have anything you need to stick in the oven timed out, so dinner will be ready in a reasonable time. Guests shouldn’t be made to wait longer than thirty to forty-five minutes.

After dinner and dessert, we love playing a card or board game with our guests. Toys R Us and Sunrise Records have a great selection of games to choose from for young and old. Monopoly is a classic favourite or you could go with the TV-themed game for the younger crowd (Game of Thrones, Golden Girls, Big Bang Theory).


There is nothing better than gathering your friends together for a fun night! Sit back, relax, and enjoy these moments with your friends and family around the dinner table! These are the moments that you look back on as fond memories.

Lorrie Dippel Willowbrook Blogger

Love of life’s simple joys! Mom of one, Grandma of four, Great Grandma of five, honest, terrible speller (thank goodness for spell check), loyal friend and people lover.

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