Dinner parties are wonderful events. They’re great ways to bring friends or family together in an intimate setting. They’ve got enough structure to help you feel at ease, but they can also be very organic: If you play your cards right, your guests will loosen up and open up as they sip wine and fill up on food.
Of course, planning the perfect dinner party isn’t easy. So let’s run down this checklist of must-haves to ensure that you’re ready to host the very best dinner party that you can.
The food, and everything you need to prepare it
You probably shouldn’t cook something for the first time at your dinner party, but you also shouldn’t be cooking something too bland and familiar. Your big event is the perfect time to break out the grill or make use of that over-the-top recipe that usually feels like too much effort. Now is the time to bring out the electric fillet knife and those fancy serving plates, too. You’ll want to get fresh ingredients and all of the bells and whistles that go with cooking and serving the food.
What’s a party without booze? Actually, it can be quite fun, but you’re probably going to want to stock up on some alcohol before your big dinner party. Grab a nice mix, recommend the experts at a local alcoholic beverage distributor, because you want guests with different preferences to have options. If it’s that type of evening, bring out the cocktail equipment and experiment with some creative or classic cocktail recipes.
Some of your guests are likely to bring bottles of wine, but never assume this or count on this. If guests do bring booze, be sure to put it out for the party — it’s not a payment for your hosting duties, it’s a contribution to a memorable night.
Not sure how much you’ll need? Then build yourself a safety net by getting some extra liquor. Liquor will last, so you won’t have to stress out about extra booze left over. You can always serve it next time. Of course, you should also provide lots of mixers and lots of nonalcoholic beverage options. You want to make it easy for your guests to pace themselves. If you don’t, you might end up with a dinner party that feels a bit too much like a frat party.
The perfect guest list
When you’re throwing a party, one thing is of utmost importance: the people on the guest list. A party is only as fun as the people who comprise it, and how your guests behave and interact with each other will define your event.
So choose wisely. Don’t assume that all of your friends will get along just because they all get along with you. Try to ensure that everyone at the party knows at least one or two other guests, but try to avoid having the same familiar people always talking to each other at your parties. Balance genders, take age into account, and perfect your recipe for the perfect guest list.
The right decor
Your dinner party is a great opportunity for you to re-evaluate your home’s interior design. Are your couches and chairs arranged in a way that creates conversation spaces, or are they all locked in rapt view of the television? Do you have beautiful, memorable wall art that makes use of different textures and colors, or do you have bare walls? And, above all, how is your dining space looking?
Perfect your decor by adding things like candles and temporary party decorations. Tailor your decor to the occasion, of course; a refined dinner party will have a different vibe than a boozy birthday bash.