Hosting a dinner party can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be! Follow these top tips to make sure your next dinner party is a complete success.
#1 The invitation
It isn’t just about inviting the right ‘mix’ of people but about setting the tone of your dinner party. It is generally accepted that an invitation delivered verbally is a sign of an informal dinner party but if you want to host a more formal dinner party, a paper invitation is the right way forward.
Don’t forget to put an RSVP on your invitation too so you have a clear idea of who you are cooking for.
#2 A well-stocked bar
From the moment your guests arrive, nothing should be too much trouble – and that includes the drink of their choice.
A well-stocked should have in it;
- A versatile gin or two – pink gin is popular as are flavoured gins, such as a delicately flavoured rhubarb gin
- Whisky for after dinner drinks
- A drop of brandy
- Maybe a bottle of rum
- A decent white wine from dry through to medium and sweet
- Red wine if you are serving a heady meat for your main course, otherwise you may find it a bit heavy
- You will need a range of mixers
- A selection of non-alcoholic ingredients for cocktails for the sober drivers.
Cocktails are always a pleasant way to start a dinner party and can be made beforehand so as your guests arrive and you take their coats, they have a cocktail in hand to enjoy whilst chatting to other guests.
#3 Party table decorations and setting
If you are opting for a semi-formal dinner party, you will need more thought for the table settings that you would for a BBQ and buffet in the summer.
You will need for each place setting a dinner plate, a smaller salad or side plate, two forks on the left if the starter is eaten with a fork, if not, it will be a soup spoon or melon spoon, and the knives on the left.
You will need a wine glass – place this above the knives – and a water glass o refresh the palate between each course.
There are also other factors to consider, such as;
- Napkins, not serviettes – ditch the paper serviettes for clean, crisp, folded napkins. For an ultra-lush looking table, keep the napkins white.
- White, ironed tablecloth –the best tablecloth is a heavyweight, white one that has been ironed or leave the rustic charm of your table on display.
- Classic table decorations – for a semi-formal affair, keep the party table decorations classy, opting for anything that sparkles but in moderation.
#4 Atmosphere and ambience
There is, or so some say, a slight difference between these two and they are worth remembering;
The atmosphere is set by the surroundings – classical music, pretty cocktails served in equally pretty glasses, a well-set table that is pleasant on the eye and the surroundings of the dining room in general.
The ambience is the mood generated by the physical setting. It is the vibe that your guests bring with them and the one that is encouraged by your superior hosting skills.
Consider the lighting and the music, and how it contributes to or detracts from the atmosphere you are wanting to create.
#5 Freshen up the bathroom and cloakroom
Moving away from the dining room for a moment, you need to consider areas of your home where guests will venture – the most obvious being the bathroom or downstairs cloakroom.
In the half hour before guests arrive, give the bathroom a freshen up. The loo needs to be sparkling, there needs to be plenty of loo paper, a fresh, fluffy hand towel and a pleasant smelling soap and hand moisturiser too.
And finally, two quick tips…
#6 Focus on the entrance
You want your guests to feel welcome from the moment they arrive and that means having a well-lit porch, garden lights, and a clean porch with a welcoming hallway.
Simple touches like a pot plant with a pretty shrub or flowers in on either side of the front door or a new doormat that shows you’ve made an effort and pleased they are coming.
#7 Fresh flowers
The scent to your home also needs to be restful and welcoming – and there is no better way than filling your home with fresh flowers.
From bunches in the hallway to a pretty vase of fresh posies in the bathroom to a living room with fragrant blooms, fresh flowers are your best friend when it comes to scent and colour.