Scrumptious food, fun games and delicious drinks are just a few of the things that spring to mind when you think about a dinner party. But if it’s your turn to host, choosing your dinner party menu can be the trickiest part. That’s why a menu planner could become your new best friend.
What is a menu planner?
A menu planner is a spreadsheet or list of all the different things you’re going to eat and drink on what day and when. It offers a quick point of reference if you’re stuck for ideas, and can help prevent the ‘what’s for tea tonight’ debate. What’s more, many households find using a menu planner is an easy way to reduce food waste and save on bills.
A menu planner can also be used for a dinner party menu
The beauty of a menu planner is its versatility. Essentially, it can be whatever you want it to be. Whether you create one for a dinner party menu or your summer bbq menu, it’s a great planning tool you can refer to when you need to know what’s coming up. You don’t just have to stick to food – you can plan the drinks you’ll serve with each course, and even use it to jot down game ideas or any other party planning notes.
The benefits of a dinner party menu planner
You can keep track of what to serve and when
A dinner party menu can be a lengthily affair, with numerous food courses, aperitifs, cocktails and more. A planner can be your saving grace, helping you have a visual map of the running order. In fact, menu planners are also really handy to keep track of a BBQ menu, which often sees you cooking multiple things all at the same time.
It helps you write a shopping list
When you’re cooking multiple dishes or for a large crowd, there are usually things left off the shopping list. Reduce the risk of making a critical omission by using your planner to cue your shopping list.
It can help reduce waste
We’ve all been there – standing in the shopping aisle panicking about not having enough food for our next dinner party menu and grabbing everything in sight. A planner doesn’t just help reduce your shopping bill, it’ll help reduce food waste too.
You can be sure to include variety on your BBQ menu or dinner party menu
By seeing all your planned meals and drinks at a glance, you can see whether you’ve got enough variety in the mix. While four types of sausages might please one or two guests, it’s not the most exciting.
What to include on a menu planner?
What you include on your menu planner will depend on the type of summer soiree you’re planning. If you’re hosting a dinner party, for example, you might want to include an amuse-bouch, starters, aperitifs, cocktails, mains, desserts and coffees, but if you’re planning a BBQ menu, it might be simpler with just mains, desserts and drinks.
Dinner party menu planner tips
- Keep recipes stored digitally alongside your planner, or if you’re doing it by hand, print them out and staple them alongside.
- Plan your drinks and all the essentials that go with them such as ice and cocktail garnishes.
- Remember that ice is a highly important part of cold drinks, so don’t skimp on it! We’d recommend Super Cubes, trade up for your dinner party guests.
- If you’re asking guests to bring a dish, make a note of what they’re bringing and be careful not to double up.
- Keep an allergy list on your menu planner – nuts is the main one to be aware of. Don’t forget to inform all guests if someone has an allergy.
- Write your menu planner and shopping list ahead of time to avoid rushing it and making mistakes.
- You could even create a music playlist for each course to help you set the right tone. Here’s our Dinner Party Playlist on Spotify.
- Slot in some games to play at each stage of your menu planner – the outrageous games are often funnier towards the end of the night!
- Have fun! Just remember that a menu planner is designed to help make your life easier, it shouldn’t be a chore!
Hosting the perfect party made easy
A menu planner will be a great asset in helping you prepare and host an amazing party. Although hosting can be a nerve-wracking exercise, just sit back, relax and enjoy the fun!