Everyone loves dinner parties – the intimate ambiance, the sophistication, mingling, and sharing a delicious meal amongst friends. Behind all this is the host, responsible for everyone having a great time and enjoying the sheer elegance of the whole evening. And that is definitely not easy – it takes time, preparation, patience, and above all – great taste. Here are some tips to help you get organized and be exactly that host that everyone is oh-so-grateful for.
The guest list
Dinner parties are, traditionally, smaller gatherings (about 8 to a maximum of 16 people), as they are meant to manifest an intimate atmosphere. You don’t have to be too formal, but do invite your guests, cordially, by sending written invitations 3 weeks in advance. Having them RSVP at least one full week before the party will help you a lot with organization. Remind them to also notify you if they have any food allergies.
You don’t just want your dinner party to be elegant, you want everybody to feel comfortable and sociable. While assigned seating certainly isn’t a must, it is the way to ensure that the conversation will be flowing, and who knows, maybe you will be held responsible for new friendships or even romantic relationships.
The whole atmosphere of the event is what draws people the most. In an elegant, sophisticated environment, guests also feel unique and charming. Don’t make your guests poke around their plates in the dark, but make sure that the lights are soft and not too bright, as bright lights tend to put the entire atmosphere on edge. The music, in accordance with your taste of course, should be faintly familiar and not too loud – for example, bossa nova albums playing in the background always create a sophisticated ambiance. Next, the table setting. Think of your table as the canvas for the food, which will be plenty and diverse, so make it simple, properly set, and choose crispy white linen tablecloths and neutral colors of the dinnerware. Put a couple of vases of fresh flowers on the table as accents.
Ah, probably everybody’s favorite part! A well-planned menu of cocktails is the best way to show your elegant taste. Since the holiday season is approaching and the crispy cold has long kicked in, create a menu of delicious winter cocktails to bring in the holiday cheer.
Drinking cocktails, mingling, eating delicious appetizers will make everybody feel very relaxed and sociable right from the start, so you can wait even a couple of hours for the actual dinner to begin. Impress your guests and offer a wide variety of hors-d’oeuvres to go with the drinks.
You have planned everything perfectly so far, and although the right dinner menu seems like the whole point, it’s actually the cherry on top. Sure, you want there to be a variety, you want it all to look colorful and beautiful on the table, but keep in mind that the taste of the food is what the guests will always remember. So, if you want to try something new, make sure you try it weeks in advance as a rehearsal – the day of the party is not the day for experiments. Also, a dinner party is a great time to show off some heirloom recipes if you have them, as this always puts a personal touch to everything. If you’re going to order catering, plan the whole menu carefully with the cook, tell them what you’d like, establish proper communication with them so that you can create something great together. And don’t make it all too elaborate – elegance is in simplicity.
You want to bring out the charm in your guests and everything to be just right, but remember to always stay relaxed. A huge part of the elegance of dinner parties is the effortless hospitality of its hosts. Get as much help as you need, and if possible, appoint someone to serve the drinks and food. The party should be equally enjoyable for you as it is for the guests, so get ready, put on a sophisticated outfit, and have fun entertaining!
Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media