It is possible to throw a dinner party with maximum enjoyment for your guests and minimal stress for you. Organisation and making use of modern technology are your keys to success. Here are our suggestions on how to host a great dinner party.
Plan Your Menu
From appetisers to dessert, plan out exactly what you will be serving your guests, including beverages. When they RSVP have your guests advise you of any allergies or special dietary needs and ensure that you have factored these into your menu planning. Know what you will be cooking well in advance of your party and ensure that you have all of the ingredients you will need. It’s probably best not to be experimenting with new recipes on the night of your party. If you would like to make something you haven’t made before, cook a trial batch beforehand. Fresh is best, so try and cook as much as possible on the day of the party – keep your menu simple to allow for this. If you will be preparing some elements in advance, ensure these are properly stored. Don’t forget to always store and serve your food at safe temperatures. After all, you want your dinner party to be memorable, but not for food poisoning!
Having a theme is a great way to set the tone for your evening. Setting your theme around a particular culinary style can be complimented by your table settings and the use of other decorative elements around your home. Ensure your table settings don’t obscure your guests view, as this may hinder conversation. Music and lighting will create the ambiance for your dinner party. Program a playlist that will help set the mood you are trying to achieve. Check the volume is set so that you can hear the music without having to talk over it. Avoid bright lights by using the dimmer setting, lamps or candles to give your dining room an intimate feel.
Don’t Forget the Essentials
It is attention to detail and remembering the little things that makes all the difference. Here are a few simple things to ensure you don’t overlook:
- Stock up on napkins (cocktail and dinner size), toothpicks, garbage bags, tea and coffee, paper towels, ice, mixers and garnishes for drinks
- Ensure you salt and pepper shakers are full
- Set your table with matching polished glassware and the necessary silverware for each course you will be serving. Reset the cutlery for dessert with coffee/tea cups.
- Make sure you have wine and bottle openers
- Make sufficient space for chilling beverages – filling a bathtub full or ice of using an esky will suffice
- Ensure your house is tidy
- Ensure your toilet is clean has enough toilet paper, air freshener, hand-wash and hand-towels for your guests
- Have a place for your guests to put their bags, coats and umbrellas
It’s all about having fun, so don’t try to plan every second of your night down to the last detail. An ice-breaker game such as Pictionary or charades along with nice bottle of wine is a great way for everyone to get to know one another and gets the conversation flowing.