Whether its a laid-back festivity or a sophisticated and chic occasion, here are some tips for hosting the perfect dinner party. Stress free of course.
From Christmas to the new year (and for celebrations to come), people will gather to celebrate the season. Although a successful soiree may prove to have been worth the time consuming effort, it does not mean the task can not be simplified and yield the same results. Give these tips a try for a wonderful and worry free event.
Send A Formal Invitation:
Sending out invitations with a RSVP card is an effective way to ensure an accurate guest count. Whether you are mailing your invitations or sending an e-vite, you a want to make sure they are received by your guest three weeks prior to your event. Ask your guest to reply no later than one week prior to the party. Having an accurate guest count one week before will allow plenty of time to plan and prep the menu. (this a little late for this holiday season, but send them anyway).
Prepare The Menu:
Planning the menu can be quite tasking and overwhelming. Be sure to check with your guest before hand for food allergies. You want to make sure everyone is comfortable and able to partake of the festivities. Do not use this time to experiment with new recipes. Stick with what you know. A well prepared home cooked meal can be just as special as a gourmet dish. When your guest arrive be sure to have hors d’oeuvres set out. A simple cheese plate with bacon wrapped bread sticks are my apps of choice. Have a dessert planned as well. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of time on the dessert (unless you want to). Cupcakes on a pretty platter served with coffee and tea are an excellent way to cap the meal.
Set The Table
When it comes to tablescapping, I prefer an informal approach; however, the table should be an engaging backdrop for the delicious food that is to come. Try mixing your classic or traditional dinner ware with understated pieces or using white dishes with colorful cotton napkins and bread plates. Keep your centerpieces elegant yet simple. If you are using a floral arrangement consider the height, you do not want the flowers to interfere with cross table conversations. Candle light also adds a refined touch, but an over-bearing scent can sabotage a good meal so opt for unscented candles.
Seat Your Guest
Preparing a seating chart is not a necessity for a successful dinner party. If you prefer arranged seating, do so thoughtfully. Keep in mind your guest interest and pair them with someone of similar taste. Dinner parties are meant to be an intimate affair so keep the invitees between six and ten guest. I find with eight people around the table the balance of mood and conversation is typically just right.
Relax, Relate, Release
Now that the eating portion of the evening is over, it’s time to enjoy your guest. Do not get caught up in “cleaning mode”. Place dirty dishes and pots in the dishwasher -including hand wash only dishes- until later or even until morning. Take this time to appreciate your loved ones and to be appreciated. Set up a beverage station either in the living or family room and retire (with your guest) for the evening.
Tis the season to indulge in delicious food and good company. Have a wonderful time!