We are in the middle of November, it’s the season for balls, parties and last but not least, Christmas celebrations. Also, we like to gather together to spend nice and fun evenings together, be it for the cause of Christmas or just because. Dinner parties are not easy to organize, as everyone who hosted one can tell. For making the whole evening a relaxed and successful experience for both – the guests and the host, we have some very useful tips for you, in order to be the perfect host!
Think over the evening. Even if you are still weeks away from your dinner evening, think through the whole evening as it could happen. Maybe you will find some mismatches in your plan. Is the group of your guest homogenous, do they all know each other? Does this affect your guest list? What and how much do you need to prepare? How much time will you need for that? Maybe there is a major cleaning due that won’t be done in half a day. Do you need to go to some special place to get the ingredients for your dishes? What dishes do you actually want to cook? Many, many questions will come up. It is advisable to write down everything as soon as it comes to the mind. Make a memory note on your phone, devoted to everything dinner party.
Send Out Invitations. The kind of invitation depends on the level of formality of your dinner party. Handwritten invitations sent by mail are beautiful and precious, but maybe a WhatsApp message is enough as you are just hosting two of your closest friends. Our tip here is, in case of doubt, to go rather big than small. Because no one complained ever about a lovely envelope in the mailbox.
Music. Tastes are different, especially when it comes to music. Choose a neutral background sound that is not bothering for talking. It is not important that everybody loves the music because it’s not a dancing party. It should just create an atmosphere, and not be too loud. Jazz always works.
Lightning. Dimmed lights make a room cozier, more home-like. Lightning some small table lamps instead of the ceiling lamp is, for example, nice, in addition to some candles.
No Cell Phones. You cannot force your guest to switch off their phones but you can let them know in a roundabout way, that you would rather renounce phones for the evening. You could say for example “It’s so nice to have an evening of face-to-face-talks, as I can’t stand all this digital communication anymore”.
Cook Ahead. Prepare a menu that can be prepared almost entirely before your guests arrive. Don’t serve too many courses, this will only put a lot of stress and pressure on you, also everybody eats at different speeds. Fast eaters will be very impatient and you will be busy running back and forth.
Special requests. Ask in advance if any of your guests have food intolerances and can’t or won’t eat something. Nowadays, chances are very high that you have at least one person that is restricted to certain foods. Prepare an extra dish but make enough for the case that someone else would like to try it as well.
Cook cleverly. Fancy and extraordinary recipes are not to be tried out for the first time when you host a dinner party. Better save them for your family or best friend. Even if it’s not the fanciest dish ever – stick to what you know best. Pasta Pomodoro? Why not! With a soup or antipasti as a starter, a colorful salad as a side dish served with fresh basil leaves and parmesan, it’s the perfect meal that everybody loves! For the dessert, it’s the same: don’t exaggerate. People don’t like to eat too heavy or sweet after two or three courses. Tiramisu, chocolate cake or Panna Cotta are good options. For after the dinner, put some nuts and grapes on the table.
Drinks. Two points are crucial when it comes to drinks: First, make sure that there is always water on the dinner table. If you host many guests, put several carafes or bottles out. A super-host offers both, sparkling and natural water. Second, the wine. Wine is always popular, so it’s the safe choice if you are considering some ‘fancier’ drinks like cocktails. Have white and red wine in stock and offer your guests both. It’s also nice, if you have some beers in the fridge, asking if anybody would like to have one when you serve dinner. Kick off the evening with something bubbly; champagne, mimosas or prosecco.
Cleaning Up. This does not affect your guest but will accrue you. Don’t start cleaning or loading the dishwasher while your guests are still there. Once they left, at least store the leftovers in the fridge and soak in the dirty dishes. Don’t leave any food leftovers on the plates; otherwise, the next day won’t be that funny.
Thank you. If you consider your evening was a success and you are thankful that your guests joined you, let them know and write “Thank You For Coming”-notes to them. Again, they should match the level of formality of the party. Be sure to send them the next day.