Is it always a good idea to prepare a meal that you don't have to fuss with while the guests are at your house for a dinner party? This past weekend I prepared two large lasagnas for eight of us in advance. Easy - especially since the instructions say to let it sit for 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven. It was a long day of preparing, but once it was in the oven, it was done. The salads, garlic bread, appetizers and dessert were ready to go as well.
In a perfect world it would have worked out perfect, right? But for all the planning you do, you can never predict all the circumstances. The last four people arrived 50 minutes late, so although I expected them late, I didn't expect them that late. It made for a cold lasagna that had to be re-heated, and thus overcooked a bit.
My guests, being the sweet lovely people they are, only had good things to say and they even all had seconds, so of course it was worry on my part about the lasagna for nothing. We ended up eating and drinking for hours so by the end, who even remembered what!?
My advice - don't expect perfection. And if you know you have tardy guests, perhaps the meal shouldn't be so prepared and easy after all - throwing a steak on for eight minutes after they arrive would have been much easier and at the perfect temperature; vegetarians - well, you'd have to stick with cold salads with that kind of a meal.