Six people enjoying a dinner party
Never Break This Timing Rule When Throwing A Dinner Party
No guest wants to be the first or last to arrive at a dinner party. Starting a party too early or dragging it on too long ruins the vibe, so sticking to proper timing is crucial.
During the week, dinner parties should begin by 7 p.m. to allow guests time to finish work, take care of other duties, and commute home. Dinner should then be served around 8.
Considering the age of guests and whether they'll be ready to arrive early, weekend dinner parties should begin between 6 and 8 p.m., with dinner being served an hour later.
Sending guests home early can be disappointing, but providing an end time on the invitation helps your event end on a high note and leaves no guest stressing about when to go home.
It also keeps guests from showing up late if the party only lasts two or three hours and lets the host decompress and clean before bed to avoid waking up to a mess the next day.
The number of courses served should dictate the length of the party. Three hours should suffice for an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, with 15 to 30-minute breaks between courses.
Dessert is another gentle indication that the evening is drawing to a close. Expect guests to leave an hour after dessert is served, so plan accordingly and keep to your timeline.