Read on to find out the 9 most important tips to remember for your next dinner party
Hosting a dinner party for a couple of friends can be relatively simple. However, if you want to host 10 or 20 people, there are a few things you need to remember to ensure everyone has a good time, eats well, and leaves happy.
The first thing you should do is to plan and prepare. Know who you will be inviting, what you will be doing throughout the night etc. This becomes important if you are having a lot of guests over, and you might need to hire someone to help or something similar.
A dinner party is like any party; you need to have all your ingredients, enough seating, have entertainment prepared, etc. I had a dinner party last weekend, and one thing I wish I did was get a meal kit because I spent about an hour in the grocery store trying to find the right ingredients for the meal.
As your guest list grows, there is a bigger chance you will invite someone with a specific dietary requirement, whether it be vegan, halal, sugar-free, allergies, or anything in between. Make sure you know if there are any special meals you need to make.
This information goes the other way, too; if you plan on cooking without dairy or raw vegan, make sure your guests know. You should make sure your guests are just as happy with the menu as you are.
Plan Your Menu
Speaking of the menu, planning it, and knowing what you are cooking is vital. While cooking three different roasts or presenting each of your ten or so guests with a lamb shank sounds impressive and indulgent, cooking them in a traditional kitchen is near impossible.
You want your menu to have a balance between delicious courses and meals that don’t require you to be in the kitchen all day and all through the party. While there isn’t one thing you should cook, make sure you know how long something will take to prepare and if you can do it.
Have a Schedule
While a dinner party shouldn’t feel like basic training with everything done to the minute, having a schedule allows you to stay on time and not have lulls in the evening. Nothing will ruin a dinner party quicker than standing around for hours with nothing to do or waiting ages between courses.
The schedule is more for your benefit, as it allows you to ensure your guests are either having fun, relaxing, or eating.
Setting the right atmosphere is essential for your guests to feel relaxed and welcomed. If it is winter, having a fire going or a heater or two is a must, and in summer, having a few fans or your air con going is needed.
Playing some calm music and lighting a few candles will make your space feel cozy. Another plus is that guests are less likely to feel agitated or impatient if there is a problem or meals are delayed.
You don’t need to stock up like you’re a bar when it comes to drinks. However, whether guests can bring their own beverages or not, you should still have a decent number of bottles of the basics, such as wine, beers, soda, and coffee and tea for after dinner.
If the dinner party is part of a celebration, you should be the one that provides the champagne if you so choose. As mentioned, you don’t need to have a stock of everything; guests can bring their own if they want something more specific, like a favorite whiskey, for instance.
Depending on the type of dinner party you are hosting, you may want to have a couple of forms of entertainment and a game or two. Something like Cards Against Humanity or a pub quiz-style game is easy to learn and play and very fun.
Once again, this depends entirely on the type of party you are having, but an hour or two of fun and laughter after dinner or dessert is a great way to end the evening.
Having ample seating is a must for a large dinner party. Make sure you have enough chairs for everyone and that you don’t leave people standing throughout the evening. Comfort is especially important if you are sitting or eating outside.
Outdoor furniture is rarely more comfortable than a couch; this means you need tons of cushions for people to use. In winter, also scatter a couple of small blankets for people to use if they get a bit chilly.
Keep it Relaxed
Finally, keep your party and yourself relaxed. As mentioned, this isn’t basic training for the military; let people socialize, be a little loud and enjoy themselves. Staying stress-free also allows you, as the host, to have a good night as well.
If you are putting in so much work to make good food and entertain, you want to enjoy it as well. If you prepare correctly, you can spend the night executing and have enough time to enjoy your evening with your guests.
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