Keep the food simple but special. This is an underlying theme for my parties. There is no need to make anything complicated but if you are serving dinner, you still want to impress. It's a good idea to make things that you've made before so there are no surprises.
Make sure you have enough food. I like to have rolls or bread on the side of the meal. People can always fill up on bread if there is a shortage of the main meal, or if they don't like something you're serving.
Prepare as much as you can in advance. It's nice to be able to speak to your guests when they arrive rather than being stuck in the kitchen. We are lucky though because we have an open concept so I can still be working on some last minute things and still chat.
Keep your kitchen as clean as possible. I like to empty our organics bin, recycling and garbage bins before guests arrive so that if they are helping to clean up, then there is lots of space for things to go. No one wants to deal with a full organics bin. If you can get most prep dishes cleaned up before eating, then you can put your dishes in the dishwasher and only have a few pots and pans to wash up.
Think about colour. Serving lots of vegetables will certainly brighten up the plate, but also remember to use nice napkins, serving dishes, and flowers for the table.
Serve water. We always have lots of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, but my new thing is putting a pitcher of ice water on the table so people can help themselves.
For our meal this weekend, we will be having ham prepared in the oven with a sweet glaze and some pineapple and mustard on the side. Rather than the usual scalloped potatoes, I am going to make a potato and leek gratin. I made this a few weeks ago when I had some leeks lying around, and it was so yummy I am excited to make it again. To round out the main meal, I will make some carrots and asparagus for colour. Asparagus is always a nice spring vegetable and carrots are always popular. We will have some rolls from the local bakery. I am also going to make two kinds of pie and we have ice cream.