Place things out for your guests to explore. That makes them feel comfortable and more apt to mingle. Chips and dip or a self-serve bar are easy to do on a tray. West Elm, lacquer tray, $32 Beer flight, personalization available, $49
Make things in advance and wrap them in the bowls they’re going to reheat in. Ovenware products like Le Creuset go from fridge to oven and serve mismatch beautifully.
Easier than keeping flowers alive and pretty enough to eat, place pumpkins or other hearty fruits and vegetables that can double as centerpieces, and later be used for tasty dishes. Pumpkins via The Party Dress
If you’re having more than a handful of people over, doing a seating chart can really help the conversation flow of the evening. You’ll be able to relax more, knowing that your shy cousin isn’t getting bowled over by a boisterous coworker.