22 May 2024

How to host the perfect dinner party

If you’re looking to connect with friends and family in a comfortable environment where you can enjoy an evening of conversation and catch-ups, a well put together dinner party is the perfect option.

Thoughtfully prepared food, thematic décor and excellent company is a recipe for an enjoyable night.

To ensure that you can make the most of your dinner party without any unanticipated mishaps, we’ve put together a short list of essentials that you will want to keep in mind when planning your perfect night.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

The key to hosting a seamless soirée lies in the preparation. The night itself is but the tip of the iceberg. Your shopping, food preparation and organisation should all lie below sea level, way out of sight for your guests.

Plan your meal as far in advance as possible to ensure you can procure the necessary ingredients and prepare as much of the meal as you can before the festivities ensue.

There is a stage of preparation to be held in even higher regard than the meal itself, though: the individuals who will actually feast on it – your invitees.

In this digital age, invitations can be extended and accepted via text in a matter of minutes. However, while perhaps somewhat traditional, making the effort to handcraft physical invitations can really help your guests feel as though they will be attending a well-planned dinner party.

If your time and creative flair are otherwise occupied, printing out a pre-made invitation template from the available selection at Greetings Island is a fast way to embellish your invitations.

Whether by post or by phone, though, be sure to get your invites out early to avoid disappointment.

Setting the tone with a theme

To further build anticipation for your special night, setting a theme is a great way to stir excitement within your pool of guests.

Selecting a country, period or film as an overarching theme can offer a sense of consistency between your refreshments, dress code and décor.

For example, a ‘Roaring Twenties’ party promises a sophisticated night of fine-dining, glittering Flapper-like dresses and smooth jazz music. Executed effectively, your guests should feel as though they have fallen into the fictional world of The Great Gatsby, in all its awe-inspiring ostentation.

Greeting your guests appropriately

As you rush between oven and fridge, guest to guest, ensuring dinner preparations are well underway and any seated guests are seen to, it’s important to welcome any newcoming guests warmly and with a drink.

Preparing a small drinks station by the entrance to your home with pre-made beverages at the ready prevents your guests going too long without a drink following their arrival.

Your finest flutes filled with an even finer champagne should suffice, and including a mocktail option will be greatly appreciated by any non-drinking attendees.

Avoid portioning meals for your guests

When it comes to serving up your dishes, it is often best to leave the plating up part to your guests.

Of course, separate your mains, sides and condiments into your finest assortment of trays and dishes, but avoid portioning out individual meals.

Instead, leave the selection of food in the middle of the table for your guests to help themselves. This can help to avoid your guests feeling like they must eat certain dishes or specific portion sizes.

Sorting your sitting areas

Naturally, a dinner party should have a suitable dining area. Decorated in line with your theme – or just decorated in the absence of a theme – your guests should feel both comfortable in and impressed by the dining area.

Unless you plan to stay seated at the dining table all night, which we wouldn’t recommend, be sure that your living room or other sitting area is prepared to host the maximum number of guests that you are expecting.

Each seat will need a rest for drinks, and you want a somewhat circular arrangement so that everyone can converse without anyone feeling left out.

Weather permitting, it’s always nice to take your party outside toward the end of the night, so ensuring your garden is well-lit and guest-ready is another essential.

A relaxed host creates a relaxed environment

Perhaps most importantly, it’s essential for you as the host to have an enjoyable time. A relaxed host will create a relaxed environment for your guests to enjoy themselves in.

When the host is on edge and rushing about frantically, it is difficult for guests to be at ease also.

To finish this piece on a circular note: it is in the thorough preparation that the secret to an impressive dinner party lies.

With the stressful, more time-consuming tasks completed before your first attendee even steps through your doorway, you can focus on enjoying a positively enjoyable soirée with friends once they do arrive.

Successfully piece together these different aspects of the dinner party puzzle and you are sure to host the perfect dinner party.