Benjamin Franklin’s famous adage still rings true today: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! This is certainly applicable to a dinner party when preparation is key to avoiding disasters on the night and ensuring people want to return to your home.
If you’ve got your next dinner party lined up, follow the tips below to make sure you’ve planned it to perfection.
When welcoming people into your home, you want them to feel comfortable. If the space is untidy, anyone entering is likely to feel ill at ease immediately. Visitors need to know that there is room for them and that their belongings are in safe hands.
Tidy your walk-in wardrobes or boot room so that guests’ coats and shoes can be tucked safely away, rather than blocking the hallway. Not only will they feel more at home, but you’ll make a good first impression as a considerate host!
Pick your menu carefully
Choose your menu by asking your guests in advance for details about cooking for any allergies, dietary requirements, or particular dislikes.
Once you’ve decided, make a comprehensive list of all the ingredients to be quite sure you won’t forget a key component.
To reduce the stress of cooking multiple dishes at once, prepare as much of your food in advance as you can. You’ll be less flustered when your guests arrive, creating an inviting atmosphere.
Use drinks to impress
There’s nothing quite like some classy mixology to impress guests at your dinner party, so perhaps have a welcome drink ready for them on arrival. Consider a timeless British crowd-pleaser like a Tom Collins, which can be easily catered to guests who prefer non-alcoholic beverages by omitting the gin and adding more soda water.
Likewise, a warm drink and sweet treat following your meal is a sophisticated yet homely way to round off the evening. In winter, homemade truffles are surprisingly effortless to make and pair well with tea or coffee, whereas herbal tea and slices of fruit are excellent palate-cleansers for summer socialising.
Decorate the table in advance
If possible, set the table the night before your dinner party so you have one less thing to organise on the day itself.
Along with the necessary cutlery and crockery, a centrepiece is a simple way to make a big impact. Floral pieces, tapered candles and table runners are just a few examples of affordable yet opulent centrepiece options.
Top tip: before committing to a centrepiece, think about the menu. For example, if you’re going to be serving sharing platters, you’ll need the centre of the table free for serving.
Charm the senses
Depending on the occasion, you may want to create an ambience. When it comes to setting a mood, it’s all about appealing to the senses. Use scented candles, accent lights, music appropriate for the event, and pleasing table décor to make your dinner party an immersive experience for all.