It seems like some people were born to host holidays and dinner parties. Everything from the perfect place settings, succulent starters and show-stopping entrées. Oh, and let’s not forget those sugar-dusted miniature monuments of dessert perfection.You can’t help but wonder who has the time to learn and prepare all that. Unfortunately, hosting dinner parties isn’t going anywhere. Fortunately, we’ve found a few ways to make the hosting a whole lot easier.

Your dinner party solution might be somewhere you’re already visiting on a weekly basis.

If you’re short on planning time or used to spending more time in your living room than your kitchen, it’s completely understandable to be on edge at the thought of hosting. Not all of us are primed to be the next Master Chef or prepared and willing to cook for more than two or three people. That being said, your dinner party solution might be somewhere you’re already visiting on a weekly basis.

If you haven’t caught on to the food bars at your local Wegman’s and Whole Foods you’re missing out. You might be too busy trying to beat the rush of weekend patrons or after-work shoppers to truly have time to peruse the offerings, but both grocery chains have a wonderful array of cuisines ready to be packaged and taken home. They offer everything from noodle dishes, soups, sautéed vegetables and sauced meats which means you really can’t go wrong. If you’re up for a quick trip to the hot bar you can have food ready for your party in under an hour (just don’t forget to stop by the bakery section to pick up some tasty desserts).

Consider going bold with a cuisine that wouldn’t normally come from your stove top.

That being said, one of the biggest steps in your planning would be deciding just how secretive you wish to be with your guests. If your friends are aware that you’re not the Anthony Bourdain of your household and you’re willing to admit that you picked your palette pleasers up from an out- side source then consider going bold with a cuisine that wouldn’t normally come from your stove top. Choose a local restaurant that caters and go for Mediterranean, Asian, or Indian dishes and make a theme of it.

You may be thinking Theme? You need a theme to host one of these things? Not necessarily.You’re more than welcome to dust off your regular kitchenware and provide enough wine that no one cares whether they’re attending a “Night in Morocco” or “Casino Night”. If you want to go the route of having a theme (and trust that it’s probably much more fun) you can do it with only a little effort if you plan accordingly.

If you’re planning to host this autumn and are in need of tabletop decorations, stop by a local craft store.

Assuming you don’t have a stockpile of china, tea cups and lace doilies (Tea Party Dinner theme) to accommodate your number of guests, don’t stress out. After you have picked a theme do a little reconnaissance work. Find out if any of your local stores are doing sales at the moment and if so make a stop at somewhere like Target or Home Goods to find a nice set of dinnerware, place mats and table runners. If you’re planning to host a party for this autumn and are in need of tabletop decorations you could always stop by a local craft store to pick up discounted fall decorations. As we all know, once October arrives fall decorations re sales occur to make room for shelving of Christmas decor.

If you would consider yourself crafty, some cheap and brag-worthy craft ideas include buying wire and stringing beads to make your own napkins rings or personalizing place cards (think tiny gourds and pumpkins tied name tags). Regardless, a quick Pinterest search yields unending suggestions for memorable party decorations, fall themed or otherwise.

While there are plenty to choose from, we wanted to highlight one and give it a test run for you.

Now you might have an idea for a theme but let’s say you’re not set on shopping at a local grocer’s hot bar? You could always hire a catering service. While there are plenty to choose from in the Lehigh Valley and beyond, we wanted to highlight one and give it a test run for you. We asked around and double checked online reviews of our top choices and decided to use Sumac Catering of Bethlehem.

As started in their 5 star reviews, Sumac is dedicated to making every catering event their best yet and, lucky for us, they do more than just dinner.You can cater breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert. The way it works is you just head to their website, we recommend not doing this on an empty stomach, and pick from one of their 30+ dinner options. Once you know what you want for the main course, check out all the sides, salads, apps and desert options to put together the perfect menu. The best part about this is, you never have to leave the living room! You can order it all over the phone and they’ll deliver it to your house the day of your party. Just worry about how you’d like to set the table and you’ve just made hosting a dinner party as easy as pie!

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