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Lighting and music can set a mood that is relaxing but fun. Dim overhead lights where possible, but make sure people can see what they’re eating. Prep a chill but upbeat playlist or feature a single artist you’re really into. 


No need for fancy decorations, just tidy up the spaces you’ll be using. An elegant table setting is easy to do ahead of time, and you can’t beat fresh cut flowers as a centerpiece or an accent on serving tables.


The key is to cook something you’re comfortable with and not to get stuck in the kitchen. Give people something to snack on as they arrive, and pick a main course that can be prepped ahead of time and served family-style.


A little bubbly is always a great way to start an evening, and a signature cocktail makes a memorable first impression. Look for a cocktail that can be prepped ahead of time or something guests can easily mix themselves. Don’t forget the garnish!

Table with food