You’re not alone if the thought of throwing and hosting a dinner party for friends is daunting and nothing short of petrifying. With so much to take into account and to research (Google, what is a dauphinoise potato?!), it’s no surprise that people fall at the first hurdle.
News flash: it doesn’t have to be a stress-fest, peeps! Don your apron and listen up because it can be fun and simple, especially if you follow our easy tricks on hosting the best dinner party, ever.
#1 Plan Ahead
To those who say that too much planning is a bad thing…well, they have obviously never hosted a successful dinner party. Trial recipes, make lists and don’t go overboard. Using simple—yet delicious—recipes is more impressive than an attempt at a Heston Blumenthal-inspired egg and bacon ice cream. Just no.
#2 Create A Playlist
Don’t go all David Guetta on your guests, as no one wants to listen to hardcore Drum’n’Bass while munching on a pate-laden crostin. Instead, pop on Spotify and discover ready-made playlists. Easy peasy! Also, find a playlist with enough songs to last you from when the first doorbell rings, to when you call them a cab—it’ll save you playing DJ all night.
#3 Make The Last Course First
Yes, we know that may sound weird…but hear us out. Whether you’re rustling up a rhubarb crumble, perfecting those panna cottas or crafting a cheesecake, a lot of desserts can be made in advance. Make things as easy on yourself as poss by leaving your sweet treat in the fridge until the last minute.
#4 Clean As You Go
All in all, you want to impress your guests in the cooking department, we get that. But the Leaning Tower of Dishes in the sink at the end of the night, isn’t quite 10/10 material, is it? Don your marigolds and tidy as you go. It’ll save you a massive job at the end of the evening and not make for an unappetising eyesore during. PS. start with an empty dishwasher!
#5 Hire A Babysitter
Although playing tea parties with your little one and their collection of stuffed toys is a cute past time, sometimes it is nice to ‘play’ dinner parties with friends your own age. Hire a babysitter to look after the kids and even have a little party of their own set up in another room. This will make them feel like they’re not missing out and give you time to catch up with your guests.
#6 Check Preferences
Check in with guests to see what they like and what they don’t. Save on red-faced awkwardness when plates are left full and Buster the dog ends up eating more than your guests. Instead, pick up the phone and simply ask your guests what they really cannot stomach. That way, you’ll be able to create a dinner party menu that everyone can enjoy!
#7 Check Allergies
The thought of one of your guests spending their evening in A&E with an inflamed throat and puffy face is not how they saw your dinner party ending, that’s for sure. Creating food that isn’t going to make your friends ill, is quite an important one to get right. Flick them a quick text asking them to send through any allergies they may have and that way, you can all be sure to have a safe and enjoyable evening.
#8 Set The Scene
Tea lights hanging from the rafters, outlandish floral displays and hand- carved napkin rings are perfectly pretty and Pinterest-worthy, but sometimes simple is better. Use all of your matching plates and cutlery, lay a few small candles, dim the lights, and voila! You’ve got yourself a clean and well presented table setting! PS, set the table the night before for one less thing to worry about.
#9 Cut Yourself Some Slack
Amongst all of the homemade tartlets, complimentary wine choices and individually stuffed olives, it can be hard to remember that your dinner party is, in fact, supposed to be fun. Have a glass of wine, give yourself a pat on the back and most importantly, enjoy yourself!