There will come a time in your social life when you’ll be the host of a dinner party for family, friends or co-workers. For some, being a party host comes very easily, but others may need some help to organise everything and ensure their guests have a good time.
Whatever the reason is, hosting a dinner party is a good opportunity to show your party hosting abilities, your hospitality and to share a good meal with those around you. Depending on the reason for the dinner party you might need to plan down to the smallest details, or go for a more casual approach. Some dinner parties are suited to a potluck set up, where the host asks their guests to bring in some food to share. This means a bigger variety of food!
Whatever your take on hosting a dinner party, there are some things that you must do and some things you really shouldn’t. If your dinner party is badly planned, you will be remembered as a lousy party host and you don’t want that! If you feel that hosting a dinner party is a complicated endeavor, don’t worry. Below are some tried and tested tips for hosting a successful and a memorable dinner party. Hosting can be fuss-free if you plan ahead and don’t worry too much about the little things.
Let’s get on with the details.
1. A Dinner Party Needs to Have a Reason
Have a reason to host a dinner party. It could be a dinner party for someone’s birthday, to get to know coworkers, to catch up with family or to celebrate a big life event.
2. Start With A Good Group
If you can, try to pick guests who will get along well, have something in common or at least will have a similar interest. If you want to spice things up at your party, invite someone that you consider a wildcard – someone outside of your usual friend of coworker group with interesting stories. You just have to make wildcards won’t ruin the party or make your guest uncomfortable.
3. Don’t Invite People Who Makes You Uneasy Or Nervous
This is a no brainer, right? Your party will not be a party if you’re freaking out the whole time because of a certain guest. Don’t invite your boss unless it is necessary or you two are good friends outside the office. If you want to treat your boss, go out for a drink rather than at your home. Most parties are about the people you get along with and people you are really close to. The party should have a comfortable and happy atmosphere.
4. Don’t Let A Bad Mood Dampen The Party Atmosphere
Your party pants got ripped, you had an awful argument with your fiancé an hour before the party, you didn’t get any sleep last night because of the party preparations or you have to finish some paperwork before the party. Whatever the mood killer is, don’t let it flow over the party atmosphere. If some of your party plans didn’t work out and you feel stressed, don’t let the bad vibe influence your guests. A party is a party. If you’re going to complain about something non-stop it’s better to just send your guest home. The party is not just about you; in fact, being a good host means you should make the party all about your guests and their comfort and enjoyment. They are there to have a good time, unwind and catch up with friends or family members, not to listen to your grievances.
5. Make Your Place Homey
It doesn’t matter if your apartment is small or not beautiful enough, as long as there is no unwanted mess lying around and the guests are comfortable in your home, you’re all set. Your table cloth may not be new and your plates probably aren’t made from fine china, but as long as you have good food, cold drinks and good company you’ll have a dinner to remember.
6. Do Not Overspend
Whenever you throw a party it’s natural to want to buy more of everything to ensure you don’t run out on the night. However, you’ll easily go over your budget if you do this. Know how many guest are coming and just buy enough for everyone. Maybe you can go over for some small items, but don’t double up on everything just because you’re anxious. There’s also a tendency for some hosts to really impress their guest by buying expensive food items. It’s acceptable, but try to limit it to one or two items. Spend on your main dish or give your guest a surprisingly classy dessert at the end of the meal. You can spend a little for your dinner party but most often people are just happy to have a simple dinner with close friends and family.
7. Ask About Food Preference
It’s always good to know what kind of food your guests like. This will prevent any possible disasters once the party is rolling. Find out if any of the guests are allergic to a particular food, or if their lifestyle or religion affects their diet. Most of the guest will tell you about it, but it’s always good to ask and make sure that there are food items in your spread that everyone can enjoy and share. It’s always good to provide choices for your guest.
8. “What Can I Bring?”
If someone offers to bring something, say yes but don’t insist. It’s a very nice gesture for guests to bring extra ice for your drinks, a pie, a cheese platter, a few bottles of wine or soda. The more food choices the better, but don’t insist or expect all of your guests to bring something. You’re hosting the party, food and drinks are on you apart from the occasional nice offer from guests.
9. Don’t Gossip
No gossiping at the dinner table! It’s rude and doesn’t make for very good conversation. You and your guests should be talking about something else, like holiday plans or favourite hobbies, not someone who is not present at the party.
10. Don’t Be Too Experimental With Food
Cook something that you have cooked many times. This way, you’ll be sure that the food you’re serving is enjoyable instead of trying out a new recipe that you have no idea about. If the new recipe turns out bad everything will just go to waste. Your time, effort and the mood of your guests will go down the drain. Stick to something you know and you’re comfortable with. If you want to try a new recipe, do it in your own time and once you have it perfected, serve it at your next dinner party.
11. Thank you
Send out thank you notes, emails or give your guests a quick call the day after the dinner party. This will show that you’re a gracious host to your guests and they will feel more inclined to talk about organising another dinner party.
Be confident and don’t take anything too seriously when you’re hosting a party. It should be a fun and comfortable experience from start to finish. There are times when some of your ideas won’t go according to plan, but what really counts is that everybody enjoyed the party and you provided a reason to get together with your friends and family.