Throwing a fancy dinner at home can be stressful. From sprucing up your place, crafting the menu, sending the invites, and setting the overall party mood, there are many things you need to accomplish to ensure that the affair will be memorable. Here are nine tips to help you host a lovely dinner party at home that your guests will surely appreciate and remember.
Tidy up your home
One of the first things you need to do is to get your home party ready. Regardless of whether the dinner party will occur in your garden or backyard, it is still important that your whole house is spotless. Since cleaning your whole place might be too stenuous, consider hiring a professional cleaning team to take care of this task, or you can also ask the help of your family and friends.
Make sure to clean your place the day before the event. Give particular importance to the areas of your home where your guests will be, such as the living room, dining room, and especially the bathroom. Consider sprucing up your bathroom by placing premium skin products for your guests to use or place a fragrance diffuser to ensure that it smells fresh and clean throughout the night. In addition, remember to clean out the trash and empty the dishwasher a few hours before the dinner party.
Decide on your guest list
Before sending out your invitations, you need to settle on your guest list first. If this is your first time hosting a dinner party, consider inviting a small group of people. Aside from starting small, it would be better to invite your closest friends and colleagues first to remove any pressure you may have unintentionally placed on yourself.
If you are no stranger to hosting dinner parties, make sure to consider the size of your space, the number of people you are comfortable entertaining, and the relationship of your potential guests. Remember that a dinner party is an intimate gathering, so inviting individuals who are not familiar with each other may not be such a good idea. One strategy is to invite couples or three to four people who know one another and include two outsiders.
Send out the invitations
Once you have decided on your guest list, you can start sending out the invites. Remember that the type of invitation signifies the level of formality of your dinner party. While a printed or a handwritten invitation may seem too old-fashioned, it can give your dinner party a more luxurious feel.
Alternatively, if you want a more sustainable approach, opt to send an e-vite or an email instead. Ensure your invitation includes the event’s location, time and date, the theme of the party and its corresponding dress code, your contact details, and the RSVP deadline. Be sure to send out your invites at least three weeks in advance to give your guests enough time to mark it on their calendars. In addition, remember to ask them for any dietary restrictions so that you can prepare your meals accordingly.
One of the crucial parts when preparing for a dinner party is deciding on the menu. Before starting with your menu, be sure to confirm the number of guests attending. Keep in mind that having leftovers is better than having no food at all. You can always ask your guests to take away some food, or you can enjoy them with your loved ones the following day.
If you want to save yourself from cooking so you can focus your energy on other aspects of the party, you can simply order food from a nearby fancy restaurant and have it delivered, or consider hiring a catering service. Some of these companies provide servers with their packages, and having an extra pair of hands can surely help make the evening a nearly stress-free affair. In addition, consider serving hors d’oeuvres to your guests, as some of them might already be hungry upon arriving.
Don’t forget to dress up
Since you are the dinner party host, it is important that you look and feel your best. Make sure to plan your overall outfit in advance. For a more sophisticated look, opt to wear high-quality clothing made by a high end designer clothier. Since you might be walking around a lot during the party, make sure to wear comfortable footwear. Wearing 5-inch stilettos might not be a great idea, especially if you will be running to and from your kitchen. In addition, take time to fix yourself up. If time permits, consider going to a salon to have your hair and makeup done.
Offer plenty of drinks
Aside from planning your dishes, you also need to prepare your drink menu. Make sure that you have a wide array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for your guests. Since you are hosting a fancy dinner event, wine would be the better option. Choose wine flavors that can enhance or complement your food. Do some research on wine pairings to make each meal more satisfying. You don’t necessarily need to become a wine expert overnight, but your guests will appreciate your dishes better if they mesh well with the drinks. If you will be throwing the party during the cold seasons, consider serving warm beverages as well.
Decorate the table
Remember that your dinner table will be one of the focal points of the evening. A beautifully decorated table can be a conversation starter, so make sure to invest your time and resources in making it as fancy as it can be. Set your table a few hours in advance to give you a little bit of leeway should something unexpected happen. Depending on the number of guests, you can either use your dinner table or arrange for a buffet instead. A formal table setting usually includes a dinner plate, salad plate or bowl, napkins, table linen, dinner spoons and forks, butter knives, and wine glasses.
Design a seating plan
Unless you are hosting an intimate gathering, consider creating a seating plan to make sure that everyone participates in the conversations. Since their seats are already predetermined, your guests no longer need to wander awkwardly around, trying to figure out where they should sit. In addition, try to balance the seating arrangement between old friends and new acquaintances. Remember to use place cards to give your party a more personalized touch. Place cards can be valuable tools for your guests, especially if they don’t know the name of their seatmates.
Set the ambience
To ensure that your dinner party will create an impact on your guests, be sure to take your time in setting the ambiance. For a fancy evening event, spruce up the surroundings with warm lights. Make sure your light setting is comfortable enough for your guests. Use decorations or materials that go well with your overall party theme. Avoid using scented candles as they may alter the aroma of your dishes. Aside from choosing the proper lighting, don’t forget to play soothing music in the background. Make sure to set the volume to an appropriate level so that your guests can converse easily with one another.
Hosting an elegant dinner party at home doesn’t have to be difficult. While these tips can help you with the preparations, it is vital that you prepare for the unexpected. Make sure to set realistic expectations, and most of all, enjoy the night regardless of how it turns out.