How to Host the Perfect Dinner Party
Combining three of our favourite things, food, wine and friends, hosting a dinner party can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. However, truth be told, creating a flawless gathering is not easy. That’s why we’ve decided to help guide you on this culinary journey and make your dinner party a memorable success!
From deciding on our guest list to building a background playlist - we love planning, it's one of the best parts of the dinner party (apart from the night itself). The more planning you're able to do, the better prepared you will be for your guests, food and event in general.
While every detail doesn't need to be calculated to the minute, having a well-rounded idea of how you want the night to go is very important.
- Guest list:
Decide on who you want to come to your dinner party. If this is your first party, stick with close friends, however, if you're a seasoned party planner, throw some different friendship circles into the mix. The most important aspect to consider is choosing guests that will mesh well together.
It's more than likely that you'll be hosting your party at home. However, the size of your place will also limit the number of guests you can seat. For most parties, anywhere between 6 to 10 guests if a good amount.
- Choosing a date:
Select a date at least two weeks away from right now. This should give your guests plenty of time to prepare an outfit and RSVP.
- Themes and decorations:
While not mandatory, it's sometimes fun to choose a theme for the night. It could be something casual like Christmas in July or slightly more formal such as a cocktail party.
- Dress code:
While this may be decided by your theme (if you chose one), we like to keep our dinner parties on the smart casual side of the scale. This allows guests and yourself to wear fun, bold outfits to create a more relaxing atmosphere. For your dinner party outfit idea, a floral dress paired with your favourite heels is always a winner.
With the guest list, theme, dress code and date decided, it's time to send out the invitations. Handwritten cards are super cute and our favourite way to invite our guests.
It's time to create the backdrop of your party - your amazing music playlist. This will help create the atmosphere of the event so it's important to choose songs that are pleasant to listen to, while also not being overly distracting. You may want to create two playlists, on for the start of the night, with a second for the afterparty.
- Extra supplies:
Now is the time to take stock of your party supplies. Will you need to source extra chairs, dinnerware or entertainment for the event?
With your chosen theme in mind, think about how you want to style the room and most importantly, the table. From napkins to table centrepieces, when guests step into the dining room, you want them to be amazed by the scene.
- Cleaning your home:
Best done the day before the event, giev your home a once over to freshen up the space. Take extra care to clean spaces that guests will be using such as bathroom and living spaces.
Ah, the centerpiece of all good dinner parties, the food. The best part is that since you are in charge, you get to decide what to cook. Spoil your friends with a few favourite meals of yours to take their taste buds on a mystical journey.
- Guest allergies:
Before deciding what to cook, consider any food allergies your guests may have. Although you are dying to show off your delicious staty skewers, if someone has a peanut allergy, it might not be appropriate.
- Number of courses:
For a traditional dinner party, three courses are usally served - entree or appetisers, main course and desert. If you want to take it to the next level, adding an extra course or two will amaze your guests but require even more work.
- Cooking what you know:
While it may appear to be a great time to flex your cooking prowess, it's best to stick with making something you know. Not only will you have a good idea of how it is going to taste and turn out, it's easier to adapt to if something goes wrong.
If you do want to experiment with something new, trial cooking it a week or so before the dinner party.
- Balancing the menu:
Think of your dinner party menu as a seesaw. You will want to balance the 'weight' of each course. For example, a French onion soup is a fairly 'light' appetiser compared to a large cheese platter.
Ideally, entrees will start as a light introduction to a heavier main course, which is then followed up by a light-to-medium dessert. An example menu could be bruschetta (light) followed by roast beef (heavy) and panna cotta (medium) to end.
- Drinks list:
Depending on your dedication and sophistication of the guests, you may want to pair wine, spirites or beer with your menu. The being said, we don't mind if guests BYO since there is more to drink then.
- Preparing food ahead of time:
The easiest way to make sure your dinner party goes smoothly is to prepare as many courses as you can before the event. Most entrees and desserts can be easily created ahead of time, while mains will usally be cooked on the night.
- Seating arrangement:
If you haven't decided alrady where guests will be seated around the table, now is the time to do it. Think about who has similar interests, who is partnered to who and who do you secretly want to hit it off! Place small name plaques of where you want each guest to sit.
- Setting the table:
Depending on how many courses you have and formality of the event, you may want to completely set the table with full cutlery for all the courses. We prefer to instead bring out fresh cutlery with every course to minimise clutter on the table. Don't forget to add any decorations, napkins and glassware to the table too.
- Finishing touches before guests arrive:
Apart from getting dressed in your fabulous party outfit, take a quick look around your home. Is anything missing? Is everything cleaned to perfection? Do you need to put up any last-minute decorations?
- Creating conversation:
While the conversation will naturally befind and flow throughout the night, it's always handy to introduce guests to each other with an interesting tidbit of information, especially if they are strangers. party games are another great way to get the ball rolling, while cue cards with 'conversation topics' should be left for the movies.
- Fun and games:
Depending on the focus of the nights, you may want to bring out the games in between courses. These will help relax guests and allow them to get to know each other better.
- Being dynamic:
Even after all our careful planning, the nigh rarely goes exactly as planned. It's important that you go with the flow and the current 'feel'. If guests are having a great time chatting before dessert, push it back a few minutes to let them keep going.
- No phones allowed:
Remember that this party is about everyone having fun. Keep mobile phone usage to a minimum and let guests enjoy each other's company instead.
- Optional after party:
Depending on the vibe of the party, some people may want to continue it on at a local bar or carry it on in your home. The choice of whether you go out, stay in our end it here is all up to you!
- Doing the dishes:
Typically, the host will be the one doing most of the dishes, although some kind guests may offer to help. A hot tip is to make sure your dishwasher is unpacked before starting the night to make cleaning easy.
- Getting people home safe:
If your guests love to party, they may need some assistance getting home. Be prepared to call an Uber of someone else to pick them up as the night goes on.
- Sending thank-you notes:
Depending on the formality of the event, you may want to follow up with your guests to say "thanks" for their time with you.
We hope this has inspired you to host your own amazing dinner party with your favourite people! Get ready for your upcoming event with the latest range of party dresses from Review.