I am wondering if anyone can recommend a book or website that explains the basics of entertaining in various situations (casual dinner party, dessert party, etc.). We are almost always the guests and rarely the hosts, and I want to improve these skills so I can feel confident about when to set out the first food, main meal, the timing and flow of everything.
My style is casual but I like to make things nice. I tend to think everything has to be ready to serve when guests arrive, and I stress out over the timing and worry they are bored if things don't move along as they expect. We don't drink much, just a little wine now and then, so I'm not up on all the wines and how to make mixed drinks.
Example: I would like to host a casual get-together for no special occasion, just to play a backyard lawn games while appetizers are served, then a BBQ meal followed by dessert. But -- when to bring out dessert? And then what? I worry that guests will be bored and want to leave when the food is gone..... or, worse, no one will come and those who do will never come back, LOL.