Elegant fun shouldn’t be fussy. There is nothing that makes me happier than filling my home with friends, laughter and lively conversation! Sometimes inspiration hits on a Thursday morning — don’t be afraid to float out a few texts and get a group together.

When we entertain with kids, we often serve little ones first and then start a movie so the adults can finish a sentence. And if, by chance, you’re hosting after your little ones have gone to bed, then good for you! Light the candles, have the taxi cab number handy, and take a night off! But most of all, keep it simple. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”

Here are a few tips to take the pressure off and get started:

1. Find a laundry basket, fill it with everything that’s out of place on your first floor and stick it in the closet to deal with tomorrow. Give your powder room a quick once over and a fresh towel (maybe stuff the toddler potty into the cupboard….unless of course you’re hosting a toddler; then by all means, take care of your honored guest!).

2. Prepare a gorgeous antipasta platter, heaped with overflowing fresh fruits, nuts, cheese, crudité and crackers or sliced baguette. Make a few cuts into the cheese blocks to get people started.

3. Put out a tray with champagne glasses for each guest. I love to drop a cranberry or raspberry into each glass. Set the table. Simple simple simple. For a centerpiece, try a low bouquet of monogrammatic flowers, surrounded by fresh fruit and votives.

4. Prepare a simple family-style meal in advance. Google ‘Elegant Make Ahead Meals.’ Spaghetti and meatballs with a giant salad is always a winner. Consider slipping a fun question under each guests’ plate or have a game on hand for after dinner.

5. Slip on your heels or ballet slippers. Hide a lipstick in the powder room so you can freshen up discretely throughout the party. Fire off a Spotify mix. Light the candles. Offer each guest a glass of bubbly to start the night off right! And most of all, enjoy!!

I love Joanna Goddard at Cup of Jo, and she has some really fun tips in this article here.

What are your shortcuts for a quickie dinner party?

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