Hosting a dinner party can be a huge source of anxiety. Although the experience is exciting, every decision, from the menu to the guest list, will induce stress. Whatever style of dinner party you plan, the secrets of a successful event are the same. As a host of the night, you must approach the task well prepared and with a sense of determination. All home chefs want the achievement of a successful dinner party, but earning this reward won’t come easy. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be so difficult either. With that in mind, here are seven tips for hosting a perfect dinner party.
Invite A Select Group
When planning your very first dinner party, you shouldn’t invite everyone you know. After all, the more people you invite, the more work you have to do. This isn’t the Met Gala, but the guest list should be just as exclusive. Take some time to form this guest list before inviting anyone. Make sure that you select people with similar interests or whom you believe would find introductions beneficial. Putting thought into your invitees will limit the risk of guests not getting along later.
Check Guests’ Dietary Needs
Before planning the menu, you must ask about guests’ dietary needs. Even if you believe you know any allergies or other restrictions, you should still double-check. Needless to say, you don’t want to poison your loved ones. Make sure you include a section about dietary restrictions on the invitation, but contact anyone who doesn’t get back to you. You don’t need to make special meals for every guest, as this would take a lot of work, but every guest should be able to eat something.
Plan Menu Items Carefully
Many dinner party hosts attempt to pull out all the stops for their first event. However, you must avoid doing so where food is concerned. Although it’s certainly tempting, you shouldn’t cook a complex dish for the first time on the night of your party. Instead, pick meals that you’ve made successfully before and are confident preparing. It also makes sense to select simpler foods. Items that have long prep times or take hours in the oven can make a dinner party a disaster.
Have Options For Entertainment
The host is the glue keeping any dinner party together. Unfortunately, you won’t always be in the room with your guests. At certain times, you will have to pop to the kitchen to check on or plate up a dish. Because of this, you must have entertainment to keep your guests busy. There are many options you can choose from, including karaoke, VR games, and dancing. Some hosts even hire an entertainer, like a comedian, singer, or dance instructor, to come to their house.
Make A Seating Plan
A seating plan will give your evening a polished and put-together feel. Because of this, you should look at your guest list and decide which people are best sitting next to one another. Anyone you sit together must get along and should encourage conversations. Once you’ve decided where you want each guest to sit, you should write place cards and put them out before guests arrive. Make sure you put yourself somewhere you can make a quick exit from the table.
Start Preparations Quite Early
Cooking a meal for a group of people isn’t a small task. That is why you should get an early start and begin preparations before any guests arrive. All ingredients should be purchased at least a few days before the event, as this allows time for another shopping trip if necessary. It also helps to prepare these ingredients, like peeling and chopping vegetables, the day before your party. Many dinner party hosts clean the home and lay the table a night or two before the event too.
Always Wear An Apron
Meal preparation is a messy business. Just one wrong move could leave you covered in flour, batter, or any other foodstuff, ruining your party outfit. For this reason, you should wear an apron the entire time you’re in the kitchen. Make sure you take your apron off when answering the door or sitting down to eat, but you should keep it close by. This way, you won’t forget to put your apron back on when you need to head back into the kitchen to serve dessert or grab drinks.
Hosting a dinner party might be hard work, but it’s enjoyable too. With the advice above, you should have no trouble hosting the perfect event you’ve been dreaming of.
This post was written by a contributing writer and features sponsored links.