There are various reasons why you might want to plan a dinner party – perhaps you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, or you might just want to cheer yourself up by hanging out with friends. However, planning the perfect evening can be incredibly stressful – with 24% of people believing that hosting a dinner party was more stressful than a job interview.
However, don’t let the fear of planning stop you from having a lovely evening with your friends. What’s more, with careful planning, it can actually be a lot of fun for you and your guests. With that in mind, here are some tricks and tips you can use to execute a flawless dinner party.
Choose a theme.
Choosing a theme for your dinner party is one of the easiest ways to take the stress out of the process, as it will help you to streamline all of your decisions. For example, if you chose ‘Hollywood’ as your theme, you’ll be able to plan the rest of your night around this theme, including the menu, drinks, decor and entertainment.
Send out invitations.
The sooner you can send out invitations (for any event), the better. This is because it gives your friends and family the chance to fit it into their schedule, reducing the chances of you dealing with disappointing no-shows when they roll around. Furthemore, this step is particularly important if your theme also impacts how you want your guests to dress, as they can plan their outfits accordingly.
Put together a menu.
It goes without saying that dinner should be the main focus of your dinner party – which means you may need to brush up on some of your culinary skills ahead of time. Try to focus on meals that you already know to be crowd-pleasers, such as
pan-fried tuna, steak and home-comfort dishes. This way, you can guarantee clean plates across the table, as opposed to presenting overly-fancy dishes that nobody actually enjoys that much. You should also make sure that you take dietary requirements in ahead of time. For example, you may need to prepare vegetarian, vegan or even gluten-free dishes for your guests.
If you don’t feel like doing all of the cooking yourself, host a pot-luck dinner party where all guests are encouraged to bring some food and snacks along with them.
Focus on the little details.
When hosting any kind of event, the small details often go a long way towards making an impression on your guests. As a result, try to find small ways to wow them throughout the evening. For example, instead of using your regular old (and probably chipped) tableware, why not buy new plates and tableware for the occasion? Verano Ceramics (https://veranoceramics.co.uk/) have a range of stunning options on offer, meaning their products are a great way to take your dinner party up a notch. Furthermore, you can even have them delivered directly to your door.
Make a signature cocktail.
As mentioned previously, little details often leave the biggest impressions on your guests – so instead of trying to stock your fridge full of every drink imaginable, why not make a signature cocktail for the evening? While there are plenty of cocktail masterclasses for you to sign up for ahead of the big day, there are also plenty of recipes online that you can emulate. Remember, you don’t have to be a master mixologist and come up with a completely new drink – as you can simply rename an old classic.
Furthemore, you should also make sure that you make a non-alcoholic cocktail (or mocktail) for younger guests, designated drivers or those who simply don’t feel like drinking. Non-drinkers are often overlooked at dinner parties, and making them their own drink is a great way to get them more involved and show them that you appreciate them. Plus, there are plenty of delicious mocktail recipes for you to try from.
Clean & Decorate your home.
As your dinner party approaches, you need to start thinking about creating the perfect atmosphere for your guests. The first step towards this, whether you are throwing a backyard party or keeping it indoors, is to clean and prepare the area. However, this does not mean you have to spring-clean the entire home – as your guests are unlikely to be spending time in your bedroom or home office. Instead, focus on the areas where you are planning on entertaining your guests.
Once everything is clean and organised, it’s time to decorate. Again, decorating decisions can be made easier by selecting a theme – but there are plenty of decor staples you can incorporate into your home. For example, you can create the perfect entertaining area in your garden through the inclusion of a fire pit, fairy lights and stunning plants. You can also go the extra mile to wow your visitors by making personalised table settings for each guest – which they can then take home as party favours at the end of the night.
Put together a playlist.
Another way in which you can make sure your event is a sure-fire success is by keeping the music playing all evening. After all, the right music can make or break an event, especially if guests don’t know each other that well and will take a little while to feel more comfortable. However, being in charge of the aux cord can also be stressful, especially when you consider that a lot of people are self-conscious about their music taste (especially if their playlists are full of cheesy one-hit-wonders).
However, you can take some of the pressure off your shoulders by making a collaborative playlist for your guests to contribute to. This way, everyone will be able to listen to some music they enjoy, and you may even find a new artist along the way. If you’re finding it hard to choose songs, maybe you could give guests prompts. For example, you could ask them to choose a song that they always sing along to or a song that reminds them of being young.