Moving past the pub crawls in your early 20s, is this your first foray into organising a proper dinner party? In theory, inviting your friends and family for a sit-down meal sounds like a Herculean task that perhaps requires way too much time, money and effort. But if we’re being honest, it’s actually not that difficult to pull off a dinner party that would make Monica Geller (from the TV show Friends) envious.
Planning ahead of time is key to ensure everything goes without a hitch. There are three major elements that should be on the top of your checklist. Let’s take a look.
Your space plays an important role in deciding the number of guests you can invite. However, if you reside in an apartment that’s on the smaller side and you wish to invite a larger group, it’s time to get searching.
Renting out a restaurant might be the first idea that pops up in your head. While it’s a convenient option, it lacks the homely charm. Also, by no means is kind on your wallet. So what’s the alternative?
You’ve already hit the jackpot if your building complex has a decent terrace. Book the space and get to work. All you need is enough surface area and everything else can be arranged. In case of unavailability of such spaces, look for a spacious Airbnb you could rent or convince a friend to host the dinner at their house.
Once you have finalised the venue, it’s time to move to the next step- seating. A formal seating won’t be possible without, well, fancy formal seating arrangements. Browse Pinterest to find a colour scheme you like and accordingly choose your tablecloths, napkins, cutlery, plates and so on. Sourcing each item separately would be a nightmare. Instead, get in touch with Four Candles, who can arrange everything from linen to silverware.
When it comes to decor, flowers are an affordable way to make even the dreariest room fancy. Opt for soft, mood lighting to set a warm ambience. Put up candles to add a charming touch.
- Food & Drinks
One thing your guests always remember from a dinner party (apart from an unexpected drunken toast), is the food. As soon as you decide on throwing a dinner party, it’s time to figure out the menu.
Before finalising the menu, ask your guests about any allergies, dietary restrictions and drink preferences. You don’t want your vegetarian friend to go back home hungry from a dinner party!
Now, start by deciding the number of courses and drinks. Do you just want a massive charcuterie board or individually-served canapés? Cocktails or wine? Jot down every single detail. Right from the cuisine to the quantity of each dish.
Apart from these things, you also have to decide whether you want to hire catering or put your culinary skills to test. Preparing the food yourself is a major commitment, make sure you have the time and skills to undertake such a task.
You can do everything right but your party can still fall flat because of an odd guest list. Ensure the group of people you send invitations to are compatible to some extent. An easy way to determine this is to make sure that every guest has at least one thing in common with two other guests.
Another hot tip is to invite someone with exceptional hosting skills. That way if you’re occupied with something, they can take over on your behalf.
Also, don’t forget to send out the invitations on time!
To conclude, meticulous planning is your answer to hosting any kind of event. However, nothing can shield you from Murphy’s Law. So, do your best and don’t forget to actually have fun!