Hosting is stressful.

It doesn’t matter who you are or how many times you’ve done it, there will be a point in the evening where you wondered why you ever thought it was a good idea to invite people around and attempt to cook for them.

Good manners aside, there are several things you can do to make sure your dinner party is a smash hit with zero smashed plates.

Get Help

This is no time to be proud. Especially if this is your first-time hosting, don’t be afraid to bring in all the help you can muster to keep things ticking over.

See if you can get one of your friends to come over and help during the day with some of the preliminary preparations. Likewise, you could always invite a couple of people over a little earlier than the others to help with a few last-minute bits.

Most importantly, once the party starts, avoid the traditional British custom of rejecting any offers of help. If someone offers to sort out the wine, take advantage of it. You can then focus on not burning the salmon.

Have the Right Kit

Matching crockery should be a given, so ensure you have everything cleaned and ready. If you do have ‘a best’ cutlery set, reserved for hosting, then get it out. A candle here and there to spruce up the lighting is great, if they smell nice then even better.

Ensure you have plenty of space to lay out drinks or canapes as guest arrive. A beautiful Cotswold Co. sideboard is a great place to set up glassware or nibbles. Good aesthetics go a long way to ensure things start off on the right foot.

Have some mid-level music playing in the background if you anticipate an awkward void in conversation, it may just save you from talking about Brexit.

Don’t Worry

Did you slightly over season the meat? Perhaps the jus is a tad too thick in your opinion? Do any of your friends really care?

The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and don’t sweat the small stuff. That way you might just enjoy yourself.

Create a night that you like, not a carbon copy of one you’ve seen on TV as you think it’s what people will want. Don’t be too ambitious, give yourself enough time and more to prepare and try and approach things with a sense of humour.

Your friends aren’t expecting a perfect night, they’re just looking for a good time with good company; everything else is secondary.

The more you enjoy your evening, the more they will too. Keep calm and carry on, the rest is plain sailing.