It’s lovely to have friends or family over and there is nothing more many of us love to do than play hostess. When you’re having a dinner party, it gives you a chance to show off your culinary prowess while catch up with those you love most.
Curating the perfect mix of guests and pulling off a nearly flawless evening can take a fair bit of planning. You’ll need a bit of time to plan, shop, decorate, and of course prepare and cook for your special evening.
Below are a few ideas to help you stay on track and prepare a winning night for you and your guests:
The Main Event
When you know who will be coming to dinner, you can start planning the meal. Many dinner parties menus include appetizers, a main course, dessert, and cheese board.
Though you can have as many main dishes as you like, keep it on the conservative side as to avoid overwhelming yourself, being sure to prepare a variety of nibbles for guests to enjoy as they’re arriving.
If you’re throwing a big party, you might prefer to offer more of a self-serve option allowing guests to help themselves.
Be sure to request dietary restrictions in your RSVP to have all of your bases covered. I love to include seasonal items in my recipes, buying local and getting creative.
If you’re struggling for inspiration for your recipes, why not head to YouTube, Pinterest (my go-to), crowd-sourced sites like AllRecipes, and some of your favorite food bloggers?
There are plenty of recipe channels. Some videos, like those sourced from Hampton Creek, could even show you how to cook the ingredients.
Once you have your menu planned, you will want to decorate the table in a special way to set the tone and create an intimate, unforgettable atmosphere.
Typically candles and floral centerpieces are where I look to but it all depends on your menu! You may opt for a Mediterranean theme or keep things minimalist and allow the food to take center stage.
Always make your guests aware of any themes in the event they want to participate in some way.
After finding the perfect recipes, you need to stock your bar cart and prepare the appropriate drinks for the meal.
I typically offer three types of wine, two hard alcohols, both flat and sparkling water and a bit of bubbly and coffee to end the evening.
Again, it comes down to your main dishes and feel free to consult with someone at your nearest wine shop on which wines pair well (and why in the event someone asks!)
There are a couple of ways you can serve your meals. You might choose to place all the dishes on the table for guests to serve themselves. Or have a truly plated meal and the option you decide on may depend on the size of the table.
A sideboard can be handy for storing extra dishes and serving cutlery can be left in the dishes that you bring to the table.
It’s easier for you as the hostess to bring everything to the table as it saves you from continuously popping up but allows the guests to take as much as they like (and extra of those dishes they really love!)
Keep it Personal
I always keep my guests in mind when planning out every part of the evening. From their arrival (where will they hang up their coats, what cocktail will I greet them with, which slippers will I provide in maintaining my shoes-off policy?)
I always set my table with name-cards done by a local calligrapher and provide a small memento of the evening to each guest.
Dinner parties are so much fun for everyone, tailor yours to your strengths and your guests preferences and you’ll have a wonderful night.
What are some of your go to tips and resources for planning your dinner parties?