With the continuing popularity of ‘Dinner Takes All’, dinner parties have never been more fashionable!
The program wonderfully demonstrates the fun that can be had when a host gets it right, but it also highlights the multitude of things that can go wrong!
But follow the steps below and your guests will score you a perfect 120!
Planning Your Dinner
The first thing to plan is what kind of dinner party you want. If you’re a cooking guru then try fine dining; if you’re idea of cooking is baked beans on toast, then it’s best to capitalize on fun and disguise your cooking with a theme!
Themed evenings are also good for breaking the ice, and will leave everyone feeling relaxed!
When it comes to food, the most important thing is to have realistic expectations. If you struggle to make cupcakes, you probably won’t be able to create a Panna Cotta from scratch!
But you don’t need to resort to ready meals, call on friends and family for help instead! If you can keep a secret, your guests will never know! Don’t feel too guilty about bending the truth; the Daily Mail reported that 40% of hosts cheat in some way!
If you are going for the complete ‘Dinner Takes All’ experience, it’s now time to create your menu. The key to a good menu is to create intrigue and deliver! Don’t state all the facts, but equally don’t describe a cheap Walmart pizza as a ‘Homemade Flatbread with mozzarella and sundried tomatoes’ -your guests won’t be too impressed!
On the Day
Make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep. The only thing worse than falling asleep at someone’s dinner party, is falling asleep at your own!
Now you’re up and about, it’s time to get ready. Unless you have made the recipes several times before, make sure to overestimate how much time you’ll need.
Don’t drink too much while you’re cooking! Getting your guests drunk is almost guaranteed to boost their enjoyment, but if you’re the one stumbling around the kitchen, there may be a problem!
Make sure your dining table sets you apart from the competition. Pay attention to detail; create name cards for each of your guests, make sure the cutlery is laid out in the correct order and fold your napkins into clever designs. Finally, you can create ambiance with candles and soft music.
Leave plenty of time to get dressed; the easiest way to tell that someone is running behind is if they haven’t had time to change. But make sure you get all of the messy cooking done early – you don’t want your best dress covered in flour!
Your Guests Arrive
Make your guests feel at home from the second they step in the door; no matter how flustered you are, be sure to act relaxed and greet them with a smile!
If you are offered gifts, accept them graciously –additionally, if you have a tendency to re-gift items, it is now a good idea to note down who gave you what!
Lead your guests through to a comfortable chair; don’t seat them on the dining furniture until everyone has arrived. Make sure to offer each person a drink, and small appetizers can be a nice touch.
The key to providing good entertainment is preparation. Playing hot cross buns on a recorder won’t have a good effect!
So rather than dusting off the instruments of your childhood, dust off your board games for a low effort way to keep your guests entertained!
A Fond Farewell
So you’ve made it through the evening, and it’s time to say goodbye. One tip is to give your guests a small memento.
If it’s summertime you could make mini bouquets from the flowers in your garden. They can also double as table decorations!
Foodie gifts are another nice idea. A simple idea is homemade chili oil. Simply fill a bottle with olive oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer), and add a couple of your favorite chilies. Within a couple of weeks the chili will start to infuse the oil, the flavor growing stronger over time.
Once the guests are out of the door, it’s finally time to relax!
With any luck you’ll have had a fantastic evening, and you can sit back and look forward to your guests inviting you back to their homes!
Do you have any top dinner party tips?
Bio: Elise Lévêque is a wining and dining blogger, who loves hosting dinner parties for her friends.