So, you wanna plan a Shabbat dinner…

Your handy checklist for planning a stressless Shabbat dinner party.

3 Weeks Before

Decide what kind of Shabbat you want to host:

Post your dinner on the OneTable platform

  • Or apply to become a Host if you haven’t yet
  • Include accessibility information about the meal and set the tone for how you want the night to feel
  • Pick your nourishment option and make a list of what else you’ll need.

Invite your guests

  • Invite them right through the OneTable site, send the link in an email, and post in the OneTable Facebook group to find new friends

2 Weeks Before

Choose your music

  • This can be a fun way to engage guests – ask them each to send you a song or two
  • Or check out our OneTable team’s curated Shabbat playlists

Decide on rituals

  • Which intentions do you want to bring into your space?
  • Do you want to invite guests to lead ritual or bring some of their own ritual traditions to dinner? Make sure you ask ahead of time so people get a chance to think about it, say yes, or say no.
  • Check out OneTable’s ritual guide, supplements, and recordings.

Pick your drinks

  • If your dinner isn’t BYOB, what drink(s) are you offering? We have some ideas.
  • Looking to create a sober friendly space? Check out this resource.

1 Week Before

Send out a reminder and encourage people to RSVP

  • Make sure you’ve accepted or rejected everyone who has requested a seat.
  • Tell them all the important stuff again: BYOB? Any tricks to finding the door?
  • Still need volunteers to lead some rituals? Make sure you follow up!

4 Days Before

Make sure your nourishment is selected and the majority (hopefully all) of your guests are RSVP’d

  • You need to have your guests RSVP’d in order to receive nourishment.

3 Days Before

Get your groceries

Plan out the tablescape

  • What platters and bowls are you using? How will you arrange the seats?

2 Days Before

Make name tags or table tents

  • Optional, but can really put people at ease! Guests can also choose to include their pronouns. You can also encourage workplaces or favorite books/shows to help spark conversation.

Clean the house

  • A clean home is a space for people to take a deep breath. Guests will appreciate all of the work you’ve put in and will help them be fully present during the event.

Send out a reminder email to your guests!

  • An informed guest is a happy guest, so make sure they have all the information they need!

1 Day Before

Prep any food that can be prepared or made in advance

  • Salads without the dressing, cookie dough to be baked during the dinner, mix the batch cocktail, start making the challah if you’re that ambitious

If you’re ordering delivery, schedule it for delivery 30 minutes before your dinner start time

Grab any items you realized you forgot

Put white wine and nonalcoholic beverages in the fridge

Set the table

Buy flowers

1 Hour Before

Put welcome signs on the door / entrance, let people know they’re in the right place

Put the food in the oven

Uncork the wine

Get dressed

  • You’re hosting, so you’re sure to be busy even during the dinner. Wear something that makes you feel your best.

Just Before Guests Arrive

Turn on the music, set your ambient lighting

Leave 1-2 simple tasks undone so the first guests can be helpful, not awkward

  • Things like: filling water glasses, setting out silverware, tossing the salad
  • People always like to feel they can contribute, so why not give them something to do

During the Dinner

Tell people about OneTable and use it as a way to spark conversation

  • How did guests find the dinner? Why were they interested in coming?
  • Let guests know that they can become hosts too

The Day After

Send a note

  • Thank people for coming, let them know if there are any lost and found items, ask them who is hosting next
  • Send them a link to OneTable.org so they can find their next Shabbat or become a host

Plan your next Shabbat!

  • OneTable can nourish hosts once per month, but you’re welcome to organize dinners on the site every week. Talk to your guests about rotating who hosts and create a dinner series!

TL;DR

OneTable

OneTable empowers people who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to build one that feels authentic, sustainable, and valuable. The OneTable community is funded to support people (21-39ish), not in undergraduate studies, and without an existing weekly Shabbat practice, looking to find and share this powerful experience.

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