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11/25/2014 08:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Dos And Don'ts For Dinner Party Hosts And Guests

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The most delicious things in life -- food, music, conversation -- are worth a little extra effort.

Rarely does a day go by when friends don't gather around playwright and actress Heather Raffo's beautiful wood table, which she calls "the heart of our home. " Raffo, 44, loves to host dinner parties with her husband, an avid chef. "The only problem is that we barely own a matching plate," she says. "I can't think of one time when the table was actually 'set.'"O asked event designer Jung Lee to help Raffo showcase her colorful dishware and napkins without making the table look like a yard sale. Then we wrangled a few more experts to weigh in on the intangibles that make any gathering memorable, from a casual weeknight dinner to a major holiday feast.

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7 Secrets to Hosting an Unforgettable Get-Together

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BEFORE YOU GO

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14 Life Hacks For Hosting A Fuss-Free Dinner Party
CONVERSATIONS