Hosting a Dinner Party

Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party

February 12th, 2008

Just the thought of hosting a dinner party can turn some people into a quivering mess, and many would not even consider it, but hosting a dinner party doesnít have to be difficult. The trick is to plan ahead, have as much as you can done well in advance and to keep it as simple as possible.

Who should you invite?

If itís your first dinner party then why not experiment with friends that you know will be forgiving enough if things do go wrong. You donít want this to be a stressful event and good friends will laugh along with you when mistakes are made.

Consider the social dynamics and only invite guests who you know will interact well with each other. You donít want a guest who dominates the conversation nor do you want a group of people who are all shy and retiring types. Choose a mix that will blend well together.

How many should you invite?

How many times have you been out to dinner and there have been so many people at the table that you didnít get a chance to speak to everyone? Limit your dinner parties to 6 to 8 people and at most never invite more than 12. This will allow both you and your guests to enjoy all the conversations taking place around the table.

The more people you invite the more expensive it will be and the harder you will have to work to ensure everything goes well.

Setting the Table

Ensure the table is big enough to accommodate everyone. You donít want your guests sitting squashed together like sardines. Nor do you want some of your guests sitting at the childrenís table.

Set the table as early as possible and be creative. A white tablecloth and a simple flower arrangement with some candles creates an elegant look, but you can also decorate with fruit and vegetables, a wreath made from herbs, pine cones or something as unique as a fish in a bowl.

There is also a vast array of patterned paper serviettes that will compliment your dinner service and these are an inexpensive way to generate some color and design.

Choosing the Menu

Choose recipes that you can make in advance. This will ensure that you donít need to rush around cooking for the entire night and ultimately give you more time to socialize with your guests.

Also ensure that you have made the dish at least once before. You will want to know that everything works perfectly on the night.

Donít feel that you have to cook everything from scratch and in fact itís quite okay to buy one or more courses already pre-made like the dessert or the appetizers.

Suggested Plan:

At least one week beforehand:

  • Choose your menu
  • Check with your friends for food allergies or other dietary requirements.
  • Create your shopping list.

Three days before the party:

  • Buy all your ingredients.
  • Buy the wine if you are unsure of the correct wine to serve with your meal then ask the sales staff for advice and show them your menu.
  • Choose your wardrobe.
  • If you are using Ďspecial occasioní cutlery, china or glassware then ensure you take it out of storage to give you time to clean them if needed.

One day before the party:

  • Tidy the house.
  • Make any dishes that can be made the night before.

The Day of the Party:

  • One last tidy of the house.
  • Buy any last minute ingredients.
  • Set the table
  • Start cooking.

Just Prior to the Guests Arriving:

  • Get dressed.
  • Turn on the music.
  • Sit down and relax for five minutes.

Article provided courtesy of Only Cookware - a resource for professional cookware, stainless steel cookware sets and enamel cast iron cookware.

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