Hosting a dinner get together can be a stress inducing experience, even for seasoned dinner party hosts, let alone someone who is new to the game. If you’re ready to wow your guests and leave them coming back for more, read on to find out more!
Whether you’ve just moved into a new home, or you’re someone who loves honing your culinary skills (or all of the above), you may be thinking of hosting your very own dinner party.
However, with great power comes great responsibility. Making sure your home is clean, mastering a delicious menu to present to your guests, setting the table… the list of preparations goes on.
Thankfully, with a little planning and ingenuity, hosting your first ever dinner party doesn’t have to leave you pulling your hair out or crying tears of regret.
In today’s stress-free guide we share 7 expert tips that are guaranteed to transform you into the hostess with the mostest for a fun-filled evening full of laughter, good food and amazing company…no tears allowed!
7 tips for hosting a dinner party without a hitch
#1 – Get Your House Dinner-Party-Ready
Create the space you’d want to be invited to. However, unless you’re a seasoned Marie Kondo disciple, chances are your home isn’t always in spick and span condition or ready to host a group of friends for an amazing dinner party.
If clutter seems to be your only companion, begin to declutter your space and create a warm and inviting ambience for guests to enjoy. You don’t have to clean and declutter every room, but make sure your living space, kitchen, and bathroom are clean.
Aside from decluttering and cleaning, consider if there’s enough seating for everyone. Not everyone owns a dining table that can accommodate a crowd, so look into a table and chair hire service if necessary.
Hiring extra tables and chairs is a fantastic way of turning a backyard space or balcony into the perfect dinner party setup even if you live in a small home or apartment.
#2 – Consider Your Guests’ Dietary Requirements and Allergies
The last thing you want is to whip up a mouthwatering peanut-filled dessert, only to find out that half your guests have a peanut allergy. Talk about a downer!
Before you even consider planning your menu, it is imperative that you ask your guests about any dietary requirements or allergies they may have. Food allergies can range from mild to extremely severe, so be sure to include a line about dietary requirements on your dinner party invite.
With this information to hand, you’ll be better prepared to curate a menu that everyone can enjoy, sans an emergency trip to the hospital.
Top Tip: Some common dietary requirements and allergies include a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, nut-free or or gluten free diet. If you are unsure of anything, always ask your guests for guidance. Find out more about how you can cater to various food allergies and dietary requirements here.
#3 – Plan A Simple and Uncomplicated Menu
Now that you’ve gathered all the information required about dietary requirements and allergies, it’s time to plan a simple and uncomplicated menu that still has some wow factor. As a general rule of thumb for dinner party newbies, the less complex the menu, the better.
As much as you may want to impress your guests with a 7 course degustation menu, the last thing you want is to end up in over your head and struggling to get anything out to your guests.
For first time hosts and hostesses, we recommend sticking to a simple 3 course menu that consists of an appetiser, main and dessert. Alternatively, you could prepare a more casual buffet-style setup for your guests to choose from. Either way, keeping the menu uncomplicated and easily achievable is key.
Moral of the story: When it comes to what you’re serving, try to keep it simple — for your own sake. Explore 17 easy dinner party recipes for stress-free entertaining here.
#4 – Prepare In Advance
Now that you’ve planned the perfect menu for your guests, the next step to ease your stress is to prepare as much as you can in advance. In simpler terms, don’t try to get everything done on the day of your party!
Some great tips for first time (and seasoned) dinner party hosts include doing all the mise en place in advance — this means chopping all your vegetables, pre-portioning your ingredients and cooking components of your dishes at least a day or two in advance.
If you’re busy with work during the week, consider having groceries delivered to your home rather than spending hours sourcing ingredients at your local supermarket or farmer’s market.
The more you get done beforehand, the less stress you’ll encounter on the night of, and the more time you’ll have to spend with your guests.
Top Tip: Your freezer can also be used for storing homemade foods too, specifically desserts. Many recipes for cakes, cheesecakes, pies and ice creams can be made weeks in advance, shaving a significant amount of time off your dinner party preparations and easing the burden leading up to your event.
#5 – Keep The Drinks Flowing
Nothing ruins a dinner party quicker than running out of drinks. To avoid this all too common faus pax, we recommend stocking up on various beverages to keep your guests satisfied throughout the night.
Picking the perfect wine can be tricky, especially since everyone has a different taste and preference. Try to pick wines that pair well with your menu, but it never hurts to have some extra options for those who might not like your first choice.
Similarly, it is important to stock up on non-alcoholic beverages. Provide plenty of alternatives including still and sparkling water, juice and soft drink so that no one leaves unsatisfied!
#6 – Providing Some Entertainment
Entertainment isn’t critical for your first ever dinner party, but if you manage to squeeze some in for your guests, we guarantee they’ll leave your home loving the evening even more.
You don’t need to feel pressured to go to the ends of the earth with your entertainment. Entertainment can be as simple as playing a game of “guess the tune”, or as complex as hiring a musician to put on a real show for your guests.
Classic party games such as Cards Against Humanity, Charades and board games are all examples of inexpensive yet effective forms of entertainment that everyone can join in on. Explore 20 of the best dinner party entertainment ideas to wow your guests here.
#7 – Don’t Forget To Join In The Fun
Last but not least, don’t forget to sit back, relax and join in the fun of your dinner party. The last thing you want is to miss out on spending quality time with your guests because you’re stressing in the kitchen or busy trying to make things perfect at every moment.
The truth is, you may fumble and make some mistakes along the way (this is your first dinner party after all), but don’t let small errors or mistakes ruin the experience. If there are a few bumps in the road, it’s OK!
And there you have it – 7 expert tips for hosting your first ever dinner party like a pro! Remember – when all is said and done, the most important thing about hosting a dinner party is to just have fun with it!
Are you a seasoned dinner party pro with tips of your own to share? We’d love to hear from you! Be sure to share your thoughts, ideas and advice in the comments section below!