So you want to throw a dinner party? You have come to the right place. Any time is a good time to gather friends and eat. The great thing about throwing your own party is that it can be as fancy or down to earth as you wish. The hardest part is getting started. There are three big things that have to be decided. After that, the rest will flow with ease!
Decision one: Who to Invite
The guest list in essential to any get together. It is absolutely of the utmost importance that you think about who will be in attendance if you are not drawing from a set group of friends. If the group is pre-established easily, then skip this and move on to food! If you’re trying to create a group out of friends in your life that come from different circles, think for a minute. Do not invite the friend with the big mouth and no boundaries if the rest of the group leans towards introversion. Do not invite someone who will not know anyone else unless you are open to a plus-one or they make friends easily. Basically you want conversationalists. When I think of a dinner party I think of easy conversation and good food.
Decision two: Food
Check to make sure no one has any food allergies or special diets. Anaphylactic shock is not what you want everyone to be talking about when they leave the party. Once the medical stuff is cleared, think about how much prep work you want to deal with. Will the food be made at home with loving hands or will it be purchased with the guests none the wiser? Either one is perfectly acceptable!
If the home-assembled route is where the desire is, may I direct you to my friend Martha. Martha Stewart’s website has a whole section for dinner party meals. Main dishes are broken down by season on the website. Appetizers can be sorted by seasons, classic, quick or elegant. Martha has your back.
Personally, I make a dessert by hand and pick up the rest from the local grocer. I like my meat precooked by someone with their own oven so that my home is not hot.
Decision three: Decorations
Pinterest is a genius tool. Simply typing in “dinner party ideas” will bring an overwhelming amount of help. Overwhelming is the key word. Pick a theme or idea before venturing to the internet. I personally think Pinterest is best for decorations. Cool napkin folds, cheap and classy centerpieces, homemade streamer instructions; that kind of thing is what Pinterest is for best. Decide in the beginning how fancy you want the party to be. Nice place settings and some candles class things up fast; I speak from experience.
Another recommendation I have for dinner parties with a sizable guest list is a photo area. Drape a solid-colored sheet in a corner, throw down some props from Party City and voila! People can take selfies with cell phones easily. At a party I hosted last year, I bought cheap disposable cameras from a convenience store. This way people can take pictures and it’s a surprise what they’ll look like. After you get the photos developed, mail copies to your guests with a thank-you card. Everyone will think you are the hostest with the mostest fun ideas.
That is it! Everything else will come naturally. When sending out invitations (or emails or texts) make sure to convey to the guests what level of fancy is pre-planned. It is okay to have expectations as long as they are conveyed. No jeans? No children? Bring your own beverage? All is good, just be up front. Most importantly have fun! No one likes a stressed out host that runs around all evening getting sweaty and not enjoying their own party.