10 easy and unexpected dinner party hosting tips 

Whether you’re celebrating a promotion, a housewarming, or nothing at all—hosting a dinner party is one of the best ways to get everyone together. Sure, sending texts or tweets back and forth throughout the month helps us feel connected, but nothing beats spending time with friends IRL sharing a meal.


Naturally, the most important part of any dinner party is the people. And while we can’t tell you who to add or ax from your guest list, we can help you with all the other essential details for how to host a good party. Whether you’re looking for unexpected ideas or inexpensive DIYs to elevate your get-together, ahead are our hosting tips to get you planning a dinner party to remember.


Make your tablecloth

Decking out your table is one of the key parts of your pre-party set-up, and arguably the most fun. If you don’t already have a tablecloth, just DIY! No sewing experience necessary. All you need is several yards of fabric, 24” wider than your table and 24” longer—don’t worry, no one will see the cut edge! If you can’t find the right width fabric, craft a thin runner instead by ironing the seams under on either side


Think beyond flowers

Easy dinner party invitations fro Paperless Post Harvest Market by Happy Menocal x Paperless Post. Sweetest Punch by Anthropologie x Paperless Post.


Flowers aren’t the only way to add color or texture to your table. Why not reach for something more unexpected and memorable? Use herbs from the supermarket and place them in small glass vessels. Or mix things up with fresh fruit in a large bowl or scattered along the length of the table.


Don’t be the bartender

Tips for hosting a dinner party Paperless Post Flyer dinner party invitations


One of our go-to tips for hosting a party is to avoid playing mixologist all night. Keep things easy on yourself by serving just beer and wine. If you know your guests will insist on a cocktail, batch a low ABV cocktail like a spritz ahead of time and serve it in a carafe so people can help themselves.


Order wine in advance

Speaking of wine, skip the last-minute run to the store. If you’ve found a wine you love, buy a case! It’s cheaper to buy in bulk, plus you’ll always have something on hand you love—even for the most spontaneous dinner parties.


Reach for candlesHosting tips

Duo candlestick in speckled whiteSIN Ceramics. Totem candles by Areaware.


Nothing sets the mood faster than candles. They can help even the smallest dinner parties feel special by instantly adding warmth to your table. We love tapered beeswax candles because they’re affordable and long-burning. If you don’t have candle holders look for thick, unscented pillar styles to skip them altogether.

Make the switch to cloth napkins

How to host a good party

ELLY dish towel, Ikea.


If nothing sets the mood faster than candles, then nothing kills it faster than paper towels. That’s why we love cloth napkins. They’re inexpensive (Ikea!), reusable, and can make even sitting on the floor feel festive.


Avoid stragglers

When it comes to wording your dinner party invitation, make sure to set an end time. It is a subtle yet effective way to encourage sneaky perpetual latecomers to show up on time (and not an hour or so later).


Stick to your go-to recipes

Hosting a dinner party is stressful enough without throwing a new recipe into the mix. Instead of experimenting, go with a tried and true weeknight recipe you’re confident in (like lasagna or roast chicken), and whip up a few easy-to-pull-together sides. If you want to be adventurous, do it with a statement-making salad by substituting your go-to lettuce with pink radicchio.


Outsource desserts

hosting tips from Paperless Post Paperless Post Flyer dinner party invitations


Guests often want to bring a dish or something to feel like they’ve contributed, Make them feel included (and save yourself some time) by asking them to bring dessert. Suggest something simple and shareable like ice cream, cookies, a pie, or a few bars of dark chocolate.


Skip the cheese plate

While your dinner might not be ready when the first guests arrive, it’s always a good idea to have snacks on hand. As much as we love a cheese plate, they’re often expensive to put together and super filling. Instead, go with spiced nuts, olives, or pickled crudité for an easy snack that won’t ruin your guests’ appetite.


Ready to send out your invites? From potlucks and barbecues to taco nights and wine tastings, browse our full selection of dinner party invitations for any kind of food-first party.