Any time is the right time to hold a dinner party. But so many of us struggle to host the prefect one. Many things need to be taken into account, such as the season, the day, and the time. How many guests? Will it be casual or formal? Indoors or outdoors? If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, take a breath and check out the tips below.
DON’T BE CONFINED BY YOUR SPACES
Don’t have enough room inside? Then have your party outside! A dinner party doesn’t have to be confined to everyone sitting around the dining table inside. You can make it a casual yet special outdoor affair; serve up gourmet food that’s been cooked up on your BBQ, enjoy the sunset and talk for hours after dark. Don’t have a BBQ or need to upgrade? Browse through options online to see different models and prices – specialist stores such as Barbeques Galore have a number of products, including the Ziegler & Brown range, to choose from.
HAVE A REASON
A dinner party will be extra special if you have a reason to celebrate. It can be just about anything, even silly ones. Birthdays, the new baby, anniversaries, graduations, major holidays, your promotion, the new season of Game of Thrones…
CREATE A NICE ATMOSPHERE
Decorate your home to make the dinner party feel extra special and not just dinner with guests. Use the good china (or fancy disposables if outside), use a tablecloth, have cloth napkins or really good quality designed 3-ply serviettes, light candles, decorate with fresh flowers, and play music that suits the occasion or theme. Maybe even have menus so your guests know what they’re eating in advance.
REMEMBER YOUR GUESTS DIETARY NEEDS
You want your guests to feel comfortable eating at your home. Some will be vegetarian or vegan, and some might have food allergies. Take it all into account and serve food they can eat. If anyone has a nut allergy, take care not to have anything with nuts on the menu, just to be on the safe side. Or to accommodate vegetarians, serve a vegetarian dish that’s so substantial that meat-eaters won’t even mind!
If you’re not a great cook, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a dinner party. It’s possible to make up entire meals from entrée to dessert, using ready-prepared foods. You could even get pizza, pasta and salad from that charming pizzeria nearby, or why not hire a catering service who’ll do everything for you? It will certainly take the stress out of the evening.
Allow for some unforeseen changes. Plan each course so that there’s always a little extra. Say one of your guests has a relative spontaneously fly in from elsewhere. Allow him or her to come too. If your made-from-scratch aioli separates before you even serve it, don’t fret. Get the store-bought mayonnaise out of your fridge and make it better with herbs, a squeeze of lemon or lime, some extra pepper. Crisis averted!
Hosting a dinner party doesn’t have to be riddled with stress. It’s all about being prepared for any situation, and putting in a little effort to make the dinner a really special one. Don’t go out of your way to cook what your skill set doesn’t allow, stick to what you’re comfortable with. Remember, if you’re happy, your guests will be happy, and that makes up a large chunk of a dinner party’s success!