When you’re planning a dinner party for friends, it’s worth taking a little time to consider your decor and menu choices. You might be celebrating some good news or a special event. Dressing up the dining room and putting on a big spread is the perfect way to say congratulations or happy holidays. We’ve got the ultimate dinner party guide to help you wow your guests:
The perfect dinner party always starts with the perfect dinner. Most meals will have a starter course, a main dish, a dessert, and a cheese board to finish. You can add additional courses if you like. You may also offer some entrees or appetizers before seating your guests too. Aperitifs, wines, water, brandy and coffee might be offered during the evening too.
The wines you choose will depend on each of the dishes you serve. There are different wines to accompany each meat you might serve. A vegetarian will need a vegetarian wine too. You can find these at specialist wine stores. It ensures the finings are not animal-derived. Generally speaking, white wine accompanies fish and chicken, while a fruity red could be ideal for beef or lamb.
Preparing your cooking times is important to ensure you’re not stuck in the kitchen while your guests are arriving. Of course, if you’re showing off your kitchen remodel, you may be entertaining in there too. This gives you a chance to wow the guests in a different way! Dishes served cold or chilled can always be prepared in advance. This will often include entrees or starters. Reheating soups and sauces is fine so have these ready before guests arrive.
Vegetables can be steamed. This means they take a little longer to cook, but they won’t boil to death by being left for a little extra time. Your attention should be on the meat. This needs to be carefully cooked to ensure it is succulent and melt-in-the-mouth. Leaving them to stay warm can cause them to dry out a little, so factor this in.
Different ways of cooking things will have different cooking times and different results. It’s important to use the right pots and pans for your oven or hob. For example, the latest technologies in hob heating mean that induction cookware has become very popular. Use good quality utensils to ensure you have reliable tools in the kitchen.
Decorating your dining room for a special occasion or a dinner party can be a lot of fun. You might choose to make some decorations. This could include themed name cards, centerpieces, and novelty napkins. People tend to prefer just one or two shades of the same color in a dining area. Slightly softer lighting is ideal, although candlelight could be too dim to enjoy the presentation of the meal.
If you’ve recently decorated the room or remodeled the area, don’t be afraid to show it off. There is no need to cover up new dining sets with cloths or coverings. A simple table runner and placemats may be all you need for a stylish dinner party. Set the table with glasses, side plates, cutlery and water vessels before the guests arrive. Make sure everyone has a napkin. Why not fold them into swans or fans?
As the guests arrive, you might want to put on some background music. If the party is a holiday gathering, some festive tunes may be ideal. The higher the volume, the louder the conversation may get. Find a happy medium that doesn’t drown people out, but keeps the event bright and lively. You can stream some good dinner party playlists, or maybe come up with one of your own. For a particularly stylish event, why not choose some beautiful classical piano pieces?
It’s always nice to dress up for a dinner party. Many of us wonder about whether or not to wear dress shoes. If you’re not asking your guests to remove their shoes, then it could be a good idea that you wear some too. Slippers are cute, but they probably won’t accessorize that gorgeous dress you’re wearing. Add your favorite jewels and a fabulous new hair cut and it’s set to be a wonderful night.
Nobody expects the hostess to be present every second of the evening. Guests are usually happy to chat among themselves. Of course, if they haven’t met before, make a point of introducing everybody. If you know that some of your guests share common interests or hobbies, let them know. It’s easier to talk about things we’re familiar with. We all know which topics are best to avoid, but there are plenty that can turn into great conversation pieces.
When everyone is seated and comfortable with a drink, that could be your cue to serve the meal. Finish off the cooking and the presentation. You might choose to bring in a large platter or bowl so people can be served at the table. Or you may prefer to serve to the plate then bring that to the table. The choice is yours, although it may be a matter of convenience.
Always bring extra cloths to the table incase dishes are hot, or there is a spill. Some people like to add extra seasoning so try to provide a salt and pepper shaker. Many people offer wine at the table before the meal is served, but it’s not impolite to pour wine with the meal. When everyone is finished, you can clear the used dishes to make space for your fabulous dessert.
The end of the meal is often quite relaxed. Guests have had a tipple, and their bellies are full. Don’t worry about cleaning up just yet. There are fun and games to be had over coffee. You might play charades or even swap gifts if it’s seasonal. Your living room could be a more comfortable space to retire to after eating. You might serve spirits like brandy and enjoy more relaxed conversation. Of course, there is still the opportunity to wow your friends with a few party tricks!