Playing host to a dinner party can seem like a stressful undertaking. Cooking for large amounts of people and impressing everyone with your culinary skills, while making sure your home is spotlessly clean and presentable, can be a strain.
However, you needn’t worry or be kept up at night with the logistics of it all. By starting with these tips on how to transfer your home into the perfect dinner party setting you will be sure to have a night to remember.
- Make Sure You Have Enough Furniture
Whether the party will be indoors or out, you will need enough seating for all your guests. Most people have 4-6 chairs with their dining table, so if your party is larger you may consider some temporary solutions. Check out this best folding chair guide for ideas on temporary furniture arrangements that will look blend harmoniously with your home’s interior aesthetic.
- Lighting and Heating
Setting the right lighting is key when hosting a dinner party. Soft, yellow-tinted bulbs in lamps with soft shades create a sexy, relaxed vibe. Avoid main lighting or anything too harsh and spotlighted. Consider draping a string of fairy lights over the fireplace for an extra flourish, especially in the holiday season.
Equally, the temperature of the house must be prepped prior to the arrival of your guests. On some occasions, your guests will be dressed up to the nines so your home should be warm enough so they can leave their coats at the door and show off their best attire. Likewise, if it’s hot outside make sure to create enough airflow so your guests won’t be uncomfortable.
If you’re planning an al fresco meal you should consider some outdoor heaters to ensure nobody gets cold as the night gets long.
Music should be playing in the background of a dinner party, but nothing too brash or distracting: genres such as smooth jazz or easy-listening are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Create a 2-3-hour playlist yourself, or pick a ready-made one from YouTube or Spotify. Just make sure it’s not so loud it drowns out any of the conversation.
- Prepare the Kitchen and Dining Room Beforehand
Do as much food preparation as possible before the guests arrive so that you aren’t spending all evening at the stove while everyone has great conversation and finishes all the wine without you.
Before deciding on your menu is to be sure of all your guests’ likes, dislikes, and allergies. Is anyone vegetarian or vegan? Or allergic to nuts or shellfish?
These things are highly important to know before you go out to buy your ingredients and could spell disaster if you don’t check up in advance.
Foods that can easily be prepared in advance include soup, salad or crab tartlets for starters; a variety of main meat dishes including chicken Provencal, lamb shanks, or Greek meatballs; and cheesecake and tiramisu for dessert. Keep them cool and off the main surfaces of your kitchen so you have room to prep the rest during the evening.
Similarly, the dining table should be set in advance, and you should be ready to welcome your guests with their tipple of choice upon arrival.
- Stand Out with Your Presentation
Obviously, make sure all your food looks good enough to eat, but serve it creatively too! Add an appropriate jus, sprig of herbs or side of a rocket to complement your savory dishes and make them look professional.
Look at different ways of serving your food: a normal plate and your finest silverware don’t always cut it these days.
Don’t forget the finishing touches: candles, table markers, fresh flowers are sure to delight your guests and makes sure everyone knows the effort you went to.
Serve cocktails in jam jars and present food platters on fancy wooden boards, if your dinner party is a little informal. Candles set in old liquor bottles are also a unique, old-style and easy decorative touch.
Author: Ellie Wiseman