Greeting guests and entertaining them before dinner
You must greet your guests personally, when they arrive. Thank them for coming and welcome them into your home. Have a designated area, near the door, where they can deposit articles like their coats, hats, umbrellas, etc.
Americans typically open gifts as soon as they receive them, even in front of guests. If your guests are Asians, be sensitive to what they expect. If a guest brings flowers though, put them in a vase and keep it in the dining area.
Offer your guests a drink, and some appetisers, to keep them comfortable until dinner is served. Do not ply them with an excessive amount of starters, because they might then not be able to do justice to the main meal. Introduce all your guests to each other, if required, and encourage them to converse with one another. Just ensure that no one is left alone and that there are no periods of strained silence.
Setting the table and conducting the meal
Once your guests are at ease, go into the dining room and begin setting the table for the first course of the meal. After the preparations are over, go back and inform your guests that dinner is ready. If you wish, you can ask them to follow you into the dining room.
After each course of the meal, it is your duty to clear away the empty dishes and the food before you serve the next course. If necessary, hire someone to do this job. Guests should not have to stare at their dirty plates for an extended time period. You could even have the entire meal professionally catered. It will cost more money, but will save you the time and energy involved in doing it yourself.
Engaging the guests after dinner
After dinner is over, have your guests return to the room they were in earlier. At this time, you could organise a few small games to keep them occupied before they are ready to leave. If games do not seem appropriate, just mingle with the guests and talk to them for a while. Serve coffee for those who may wish to refresh themselves before they begin their journey home.
When guests are ready to leave, accompany them to the door. Thank them once again for attending your party and say goodbye. At this point, do not start an extended conversation because you will be neglecting the other people who are still present. All said and done, make sure that your party is pleasant and enjoyable.