We have a guest on our blog today! Please give a warm welcome to Katie Georgeson from Stoves! Here she shares her tips for throwing the perfect dinner party. Take it away Katie...
Throwing a dinner party can initially seem daunting, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to show off your hosting and cooking skills. And while there isn’t a magic recipe to follow, there are many tips and tricks I can share with you that’ll help you create the perfect dinner party.
Plan a Guest List
Apart from the food, the guest list is the second most important thing to consider when throwing a dinner party. While you might be tempted to invite your nearest and dearest, dinner parties are usually most successful when the guests don’t always know everybody else at the party. Making a list of people you know who have different interests, hobbies and are of varying ages will ensure your evening is filled with great conversation. Just be sure you have a suitable table plan, so everyone can talk to one another.
If you’re wanting to get really formal with your dinner party, sending out invites and getting your guests to RSVP will be a sure way you can know who’s coming, how much food to provide and whether you have any spaces to fill. Plus, it’s a great way to build up excitement over the occasion.
Choose a Theme
A good way to get everybody talking is to introduce a theme. This can give you the chance to invest in a few new homeware bits to tie your theme together, and you can even implement a dress code for your guests. Even if you don’t think of a particularly out-there theme, something as simple as an all-black dress code can be effective and give your dinner party a smart aesthetic.
If you don’t want to impose a dress code, you could just set a colour scheme for your table and decorations. I recommend matching other aspects of your evening to your theme too, such as the music and any games.
Pick an Impressive Menu
When creating your own menu, it’s a good idea to pick things you’re comfortable with and have made before. If you’re planning an extravagant spread, try to plan in things that can cook at the same temperature. Not only will this speed up the preparation stages, but it’ll also mean you’re using your oven more efficiently. If you’ve not got a large enough oven to accommodate your planned spread, using other appliances in your kitchen, like the stovetop, can ensure you’re not constantly dipping in and out of the dining room to check on your food. If you’re wanting to try something new, make sure you practice it beforehand, so you’re not stuck serving chargrilled food accidentally when your dinner party comes around.
Before you begin thinking of what food you want to serve up, make sure you check with your confirmed guests for any allergies, special diets, or religious beliefs that may mean they can’t eat certain foods. If you’d rather sit back and relax with your guests, you could even hire a private chef to come and do the cooking for you. And, as they can make things you’ve never tried before, you’ll have an impressive and tasty menu sorted in no time.
Present an Attractive Table
The way you decorate the table can really set the atmosphere for the rest of your dinner party. So, make sure you put thought into your table setting. If your dining table has seen better days, or you simply want to protect it from any spills or stains, a tablecloth will help to preserve it while giving it a classic dinner party element.
When laying the table, sticking to the type of layout you’d see in restaurants is a good way to ensure your guests will have everything they need. So, make sure you have separate sets of knives and forks for your starter and mains, as well as some matching glassware and crisp folded napkins. Having stoneware salt cellars and oil bottles on the table will ensure your guests have access to seasonings and sauces, so you don’t have to keep getting up from the table during your meal.
You might even want to add candelabras and some flower-filled vases to your table to give it some attractive detailing. Just make sure there’s enough space for all your plates and glasses!
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash
Hosting your own dinner party can be a perfect opportunity to get to know people better, and to show off your cooking and hosting skills. And, with my four top tips, you'll be well equipped to hold the perfect evening.
Great stuff, thanks Katie! We're compiling our guest list right now.