Planning the perfect dinner party requires a lot of prior preparation. Everything from deciding who to invite, what kind of food to serve, the drinks and how to arrange the table are just some of the decisions which take place even before your guests arrive.
Providing a dining and drinking experience which is enjoyable for us and our guests alike can be quite a daunting task. With so much to remember and do it can be a stressful experience instead of the enjoyable one it should be. This guide will ensure that you have covered all of the bases to a successful dinner party and be sure that you’ve not missed a thing.
To choose a Theme - or not?
A theme can be what makes a normal dinner party with friends and family a truly fun and memorable one. Themes can come from inside jokes, something which is relevant at the time such as a particular TV show or film or can simply be something which all of your guests find fun and enjoyable to do.
For those planned far in advance, a classic murder mystery theme would involve engaging in drinking games and commentary.
However a theme is not always appropriate depending on your guests. If you're looking to impress your dinner party audience then subtle hints of luxury and flare can be the perfect solution, a real talking point for your guests. Match your table arrangement to the climate and time of year. Consider the browns and reds in darker months and blues and oranges in warmer months.
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Plan Your Menu
Planning your menu is often the most stressful part of any dinner party. Before planning the most extravagant of cuisines ensure that you have conducted an informal survey of your guests to get any ideas or to establish any dietary requirements. Dietary requirements can cover anything from allergies to preferences in food. The worst thing you could do would be to spend a lot of time on a menu which your guests are not able to enjoy.
Another important aspect of the menu to consider is the amount of time which the menu will take and therefore how much time you will spend away from your guests. Although your guests have come to eat your delicious food, they have also come to see you so bare this in mind where deciding on a menu to serve.
Quality over quantity
Ensure that you have the correct wines and other drinks available for your guests, however try to make sure that the drinks aren’t flowing too much before your guests have eaten anything. Having a slight buzz can be fun and enhance the conversation of the evening, but too much can be a recipe of disaster for some guests which will prevent them from being able to enjoy the evening.
Keep to the Schedule
Making sure that the evening is running along smoothly is one of the most valuable skills of the dinner party host. Spending time with your guests is an important part of the night, as that is the main reason they are there. However, spending too much time with them can prevent the courses from being delivered at the right time.
If you need help in the kitchen, make sure that you have asked for it before the evening has begun. This will help you keep the fine balance between time in the kitchen and dining room and will allow you to better gauge when your guests are ready for their next dish.
Have a Memorable Dessert
After planning the most delicious of starters and mains, it can be tempting to skimp out on dessert and just serve something simple like ice cream. Don’t forget that for many of your guests your dinner party is a treat and an excuse to indulge when they would not otherwise do so. Planning your dessert with the same effort as the rest your meal will impress your guests and leave them wanting more.
Remember that dessert is the final course of the evening and so is often the one most remembered. Having an impressive dessert ensures your guests leave the dinner party feeling full and content.