How to Host a Dinner Party
Hosting a dinner party is a great way to socialize with your friends over a good meal. While you are always allowed to bend the rules, we will discuss how to throw a traditional dinner party.
Invite Guests and Set a Date
Try to plan a dinner party at least two weeks in advance. Choose a menu and a theme and include both with your invitation so that a guest can contact you in advance if they have a food allergy. Ask your guests to RSVP in advance to let you know if they can attend.
To ensure a good dinner party, invite people whom you believe would be intrigued by each other. Add an overall theme to for the party so that your guests can think up some talking points to share with the group.
Decide on the Menu
While you are likely to want to go all out for your guests, it is more important that you serve them something delicious. Avoid trying a new recipe the night of the gathering. Try recipes in advance or stick to the best dishes you know how to make.
Offer a variety of appetizers, a nice salad, and the main course. You can place salt and pepper on the table to allow your guests to season each to their liking.
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Cooking in Front of Guests vs Preparing in Advance
If you prepare and cook everything in advance, things may be cold by the time your guests arrive. On the other hand, if you save all the work for after their arrival, dinner may be served too late and you’ll miss valuable time with your guests.
Instead, try to prepare as much as you can in advance, but don’t finish everything off until after the guests arrive. Add that final glaze, sprinkle extra seasoning, and add your final touches. Not only will your food be hot and fresh, but you’ll have the chance to showcase your new kitchen appliances and a skill or two.
Which Drinks Should You Provide?
Make sure to serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. While a good wine is always a good thing to have on hand (be sure to pair it with the dish), you can also offer 2-3 cocktails for your guest. Here are a few popular options:
- Japanese cocktail – a blend of Cognac, orgeat, and angostura bitters
- Rob Roy – mix together scotch, sweet vermouth, and bitters
- Boulevardier – a blend of rye, Campari, and sweet vermouth
- Aviation – mix together gin, creme de violette, and maraschino
- Champs-Elysees – a blend of brandy, green chartreuse, and lemon juice
For your guests who would prefer to not drink alcohol, offer soda water with lime, bitters and lime, or blackcurrant. You could also make alcoholic-free cocktails.
Decorate Your Dinner Table
Traditionally, people tend to use their best china and silverware for dinner parties. If you have them, use cloth napkins and placemats. Add candles, flower arrangement, or any other attractive centrepieces to the table.
The following is how you should dress each setting:
Step 1: Set down a placemat at each setting.
Step 2: Place a dinner place in the centre of each placemat.
Step 3: The napkin should be folded and placed to the left of the setting
Step 4: Add a salad plate and a soup bowl (if appropriate) by placing the bowl on top of the salad plate.
Step 5: The dinner fork should be placed on top of the napkin and the salad fork should be placed to left at that.
Step 6: To the right of the setting, place your dinner knife, salad knife, and soup spoon (in that order).
Step 7: Desert utensils should be placed above the setting. The fork handle should point to the left and the spoon handle should point to the right.
As a finishing touch, add a place card either above the setting or on the salad plate (if you are not serving soup).
Don’t forget that it is a party and that the goal should be to enjoy yourself. Place some nice music to set the mood and sit down to engage with your guests.