How to Host the Perfect Dinner Party
There comes a time in almost everyone’s life when hosting a dinner party seems like the logical and fun thing to do. Whether it’s to celebrate moving into a new pad, reunited friendships, or simply just an excuse to break out some amazing cheeses, inviting everyone over is a rite of passage for any adult. If you’re taking the leap into organising your first dinner party, there are a few tips worth remembering that can help to avoid it turning into the most stressful night of your life!
You might feel like you get on with everyone you have invited – but will they get on with each other? If there is a history between guests or they simply have jarring personalities, it might be better to adjust the guest list to accommodate that. A good dinner party is all about a relaxed atmosphere and easy conversation, so try to make sure the guest list is compatible with that aim.
Set a dress code
There’s nothing quite like dressing up to the nines and showing off your best outfits, so add a little sparkle to the evening by politely requesting that people dress for the occasion. Not only will your guests feel confident in their smart clothes, but all of the beautiful attire will also add a sense of refined luxury to your evening! Just make sure you have enough cloakroom space to hang coats, shawls, and jackets.
Consider the menu
If you’re inviting people you don’t know particularly well, it is well worth finding out from your guests whether they have any dietary requirements. This way you can design the menu around them and avoid any mishaps on the day. Top tip – people love to feel included, so try to make the whole menu accessible for everyone. For example, if you have invited people who don’t eat meat, see if you can create vegetable-based dishes for everyone rather than separate meals for non-meat-eating friends. This also saves a lot of time in the kitchen!
Hosting a dinner party is a great way to spend some time with friends, but if you’re ill-prepared then most of your time will be spent in the kitchen. To ensure that you get the balance right, prepare as much as you can in advance. Peel and chop vegetables in the morning, pre-make any complicated desserts and ensure that you have everything you need to avoid any last-minute trips to the shops.
Clean as you go
The chances are that guests will want to come and chat with you in the kitchen at some point, so keep surfaces tidy by cleaning as you go. As soon as you’ve used knives, pots or pans put them in the dishwasher or wash them up so that the kitchen stays organised, and you have far less cleaning to do at the end of the night.
Dress the table
This is the fun part! Setting the scene for your diners and creating a beautiful space to eat and relax is one of the best parts of hosting a dinner party. Whether you like to create a minimal monochrome table or a rustic country chic feel, there are plenty of amazing ideas out there to get you inspired. Check out some ideas on Pinterest or simply gather décor that you love and let your imagination run wild.
If your party has gone to plan, then the chances are that your guests will want to stay to enjoy the atmosphere and your hospitality for a little while longer. If this is the case, it always pays to have some after-dinner entertainment prepared. Games are the perfect way to capitalise on the mood of the evening, so have a few of the usual suspects handy. Think Taboo, Pictionary, or Scrabble. But if your guests are looking for something a little different, then it's time to bring out some old favourites with a twist, such as the Anaconda version of poker or reverse charades.
The most important thing to remember at any dinner party is that the whole point is to enjoy yourself. Whether you’re hosting a huge family gathering or an intimate circle of friends, all the fun of the evening is in the company you have invited. So, try not to stress if the cake didn’t rise how you wanted it to, or the potatoes end up a little burned. Your guests won’t remember those things, they will remember what a lovely evening they had and the effort it took to make that happen.
So, if this is your first dinner party just remember these key points – consider your guests, take care of the preparation way in advance and enjoy your evening!