Hosting dinner parties and entertaining guests is a fantastic way to indulge creativity. There are few things more enjoyable than gathering all of your friends around the dining table for a night of food and fun. Yes, it’s a dinner party, so the first guests are likely to arrive early and you’ll find yourself somehow running behind, but these aren’t reasons to fret. For a dinner that will wow guests and be truly memorable from beginning to end, consider a few of these tips for pulling off the perfect night.
Set the Bar
For a touch of class and an ice-breaker, create a clearly visible, easily accessible bar area at your dinner party. Stock the bar with all the essentials — glassware, mixers, bottle openers, ice and garnishes — and be sure to leave some surface area for mixing drinks. Top it off with some flowers and a curious conversation piece to get guests chatting. Make sure people can enter the bar from different angles to prevent traffic jams and provide enough room for guests to mingle comfortably.
Keep It Casual
While you may have ideas of guests engaging in sophisticated banter in a formal sitting area, they’ll most likely end up in the kitchen. Guests like to be at the centre of the action and of course to spend time with the host. To best accommodate kitchen-crashers, clear the far end of your workspace and make room for appetisers. This is a great way to keep guests comfortable in the kitchen and let them know where they can linger without getting in the way. If people offer to help, take them up on it. Think of a few small jobs for early arrivals or those guests who aren’t into small talk. Making everyone feel at home is the key. Being casual and stress-free as possible will make your guests feel the same way.
The key to a truly successful dinner party is the element of surprise. For many hosts a surprise is a chance to think outside of the box and create a night that guests will remember forever. For more lavish affairs, consider hiring a magician, musician or some other form of entertainment; this type of surprise is sure to impress guests and ensure a wonderful evening. For smaller scale efforts, think about serving dessert outdoors with some beautiful lighting and games. Even the most reserved guests will enjoy a few games after a glass or two.
Hosting the perfect dinner party is all about balance. Any gathering that brings interesting people together, serves delicious food and entertains guests in a relaxed setting is going to be a success. Being a host can sometimes prove overwhelming so it's important to stop throughout the evening and remember to enjoy the party yourself!