We all reach a certain age when it feels grown up and adult to host a dinner party. Whether you’re the next Nigella Lawson, or boiled egg and soldiers is more your bag, anyone can host a great dinner party with a bit of planning (and a few glasses of wine).
Have the drinks ready
The number one tip for a great dinner party is to have a range of drinks set out ready for your guests. A couple of bottles of wine – red, white and rose, in addition to a few soft drinks, water and juice should be plenty. Set up a little area where your guests can help themselves.
Don’t try a new recipe on the night!
You may have been eyeing up that exquisite dish you’ve seen and you think it’ll make the perfect main for your dinner party. Whatever you do don’t try making it for the first time on the night you host your party. SO many things can go wrong, and chances are, they will.
Prepare in advance
Try and prepare as many of your dishes as you can ahead of your guests arriving. There’s nothing worse then the host struggling to get everything finished in the kitchen whilst their guests think they’re simply being anti-social.
Write a shopping list
Even if you’ve made the dish a hundred times, we’re all human and we tend to forget things. Make sure you write down everything you need for your party so you don’t forget a vital ingredient.
Set out all your ingredients before you start
So you think you’ve got enough parsley or vegetables to complete your recipe only to realise you’re short when you start cooking. By laying out everything before you start you’ll know if you need to rush out to replenish your supplies.
Consider your guests dietary requirements
Don’t forget to plan your menu to suit your guests dietary requirements. If you have a lot of people coming who are vegan, vegetarian or gluten intolerant that chicken casserole and apple crumble won’t go down too well.
Don’t put yourself down
If you’ think you’ve burnt the potatoes or not put enough salt in to the sauce, chances are you’re the only one that’s noticed – until you mention it. Don’t get into the cycle of criticising your food, you made it and your guests will love you for that.
Set the scene
A good mixture of up to date tunes is perfect for adding a little ambience to your evening. Try not to make it so loud that everyone has to shout to be heard.
Go posh for the night
Cloth napkins are great for a lovely dinner party, and so much more luxurious than a piece of kitchen towel!
Think about your seating plan
If you’re having a lot of guests at your party you may want to consider a seating plan to avoid fights over who sits where. Use place cards to help direct people.
Don’t make it awkward
If you plan on inviting people who only know you the night may seem like a little awkward as people try to find things in common. A dinner party is best with good company, so a group of people who know each other makes for a more cosy evening.
Think about the condiments
There’s nothing worse than a guest having to ask ‘where’s the ketchup?’ when you’re in the middle of dinner. Even if you don’t think your meal needs it, its courteous to put out essentials like sauces, salt and pepper. After all we all know that guest who has ketchup on everything.
Set the atmosphere
Candles are great for adding a little atmosphere to your party. You don’t have to pay a lot either, Primark have a great range.
Join the fun
Don’t forget you’re party of the party too – your guests came because you invited them. Try not to spend all your time in the kitchen, sit down and enjoy the food you’ve spent so long putting together.
Serve your dessert away from the table
If you have somewhere else try to serve your dessert somewhere a little more relaxing like the living room. People will feel more relaxed and it will give them a great memory of your night.
Don’t forget the dessert
Desserts are pretty standard when it comes to dinner parties and they’re perfect for rounding off the festivities. Whether it’s shop bought, home cooked or even a cheese platter it helps to signify the end of your dinner party.
Try to cleanup before bed
Even if you can’t face cleaning up everything, try to get as much done as you can. The thought of waking up to a kitchen full of dried on sauce and curdled cream is not pretty.