Hosting a dinner party is probably one of the best ways to create a special connection with people in your life and to grow your network. If you are not a whiz in the kitchen or if you don’t have much experience as a host, the idea of hosting a dinner might seem quite scary. But at the end of the day, a successful dinner party is not much more than a combination of certain simple ingredients that need to be taken good care of. Here are a few tips that will make the process of preparation hassle and stress-free so you can concentrate on the important part – spending quality time with your guests.
One of the best things about hosting a dinner is that you choose who will attend. While it’s a huge advantage, it also comes with some expectations from you.
When you have your guest list ready, it’s time to move on with further steps of creating a top-notch experience. A lot of planning needs to be done. What will the timeline be? It’s not only about the food, but it’s also the whole party’s time management.
Tips for a novice host:
Brainstorm ideas for the aesthetics you aim to achieve well before the dinner itself. You might need to purchase some items for decoration, so make sure you have sufficient time for that. Pay special attention to how you want to set the table, as it will be the focal point of the evening. Fresh flowers are a great idea for adding an elegant note to the decoration. Music and lighting will set the tone for the evening, so pick them wisely.
Oh, and don’t forget about toasts, they might seem old-fashioned, but it’s a good way to set everything going and to thank your guests.
Greet your guests at the door and spend some time with each and every one of them. All in all, your dinner party is in many aspects about you making your friends and family feel good. Think of possible activities for the evening, like a board game, karaoke or anything else your guests would enjoy doing. You can even prepare small gifts so that your guests can take back home with them a memory of a wonderful evening.
If your cooking skills are something you’d like to show off when inviting your friends over to your place, focusing on food is the right decision. Whether you are an experienced cook or not, the most important rule is not to cook meals you haven’t tried before, if you don’t want any surprises on the day you are having people over. And please, don’t overthink the food. You don’t need any stress while cooking, and struggling with a complicated menu has a high chance of becoming a disaster. A great option is trying recipes that are easy, but look impressive.
In any case it is better to “rehearse” beforehand and ask for feedback from your closest friends or family. When rehearsing write down the order of the tasks that need to be done and how long they take, so that you are sure of how much time you will have to invest in cooking on the day of the dinner itself.
Make sure cooking doesn’t keep you in the kitchen throughout the evening. Doing everything the recipe lets you in advance is a great idea. For example, there are wonderful prepare-ahead dessert recipes that can easily prevent last-minute panic.
But what if cooking isn’t your area of strength at all? Well, there needs to be food at a dinner table anyway. Yet you can always choose not to put too much pressure on yourself. Go for small bites: tapas, crostinis, bruschettas, cheeses and fruits. Still, if you really want to impress your guests there is always an option of hiring a chef and enjoying your evening to the fullest; for an extra price tag, of course.
As for alcohol, having suitable wine is recommended – a nice wine and a food pairing chart can help you. You also can get beer or liquor, but it doesn’t mean that you have to guess each guest’s preferences. If anyone asks you what to bring with them, always say “alcohol”. It can solve the problem, as people tend to pick what they personally like.
Following these simple tips will ensure your home dinner party will be a great experience for you and your guests. Though it can seem overwhelming at first, with a bit of practice you’ll become an expert very fast. Not only will you leverage the benefits of a healthy home-cooked food but you will also get closer with your friends and family through quality time together. And don’t forget, the main reason to host a dinner is to have a good time!