Looking to host a dinner party soon? Organising a great party can be tough – you want the food, the ambience, the entertainment and the company to be great. When you have a limited amount of time and your budget is not stretching too far, you might feel the stress kicking in. To help you out, here are 12 dinner party tricks that can guarantee you great success and bring guests the maximum enjoyment.
1. Invite with interests in mind
Don’t mix and match too much in term of guests and their interests. People don’t have to know each other in advance, but you don’t want to gather a group of people who share nothing in common.
2. Don’t just invite – find out details
Don’t send invites that don’t require a response. Include a healthy reminder on when and how the guests should announce if they are coming and bringing a friend with them or not. In addition, make sure any allergies or diet limitations are announced at least a week before your dinner party!
3. Fall back on recipes you’ve tried and tested
Trying new things is always a great idea, except when you’re doing the testing at your dinner party. Never pick a recipe you’ve not cooked before – or which you’ve only cooked once – unless you can trial it for a few times before the dinner party. JamieOliver.com has a great selection of basic recipes to try.
4. Create a strategic menu
Similar to the above, your menu should be planned around timing and clever kitchen tricks. This means that you don’t want to have to do last-minute finishing touches on your starter, main course and dessert. Instead, ensure a big part of the menu is done the day before, with only one major part requiring a lot of attention during the dinner party. For instance, your dessert could be a cake you can bake the day before, with the starters being antipasti that only requires plating once guests arrive and the main being steaks you cook once the guests have arrived.
5. Clean as you go
During preparation, keep cleaning your kitchen as you go. It can be tempting to leave the pots and pans for later, but your house will look much nicer and the next day will be a breeze if you keep clearing and washing things throughout the night.
6. Order your ingredients online
Online shopping for groceries is much more convenient and it leaves more room for planning. You are more able to ensure you bought everything and you leave enough time to grab the missing items in case there are any. Ocado, Tesco and Sainsbury all have special online discounts and the option for free deliveries when you buy enough food.
7. Offer enough choice
When it comes to drinks, you need to ensure guests can choose from a variety of options. You naturally want to pick the main wine in accordance with your main dish, but make sure you offer both red and white wine. virginwines.co.uk will ensure you get the drinks sorted without blowing the budget and you can get a more varied wine selection to serve for your guests.
8. Set your table the previous day
Save time by setting the table the previous night. It ensures you have everything ready and leaves more time for the cooking. Just ensure your kids stay clear of the table!
9. Create a playlist
Music is the perfect way to set an ambience. Create a long playlist on Spotify before the big day to ensure you don’t need to scramble for music while the guests are waiting. Pick something soothing, like Miles Davis or the early Rolling Stones. Just make sure the music is in the background and not too loud.
10. Dim the lights
Keep your lighting on the dim side. This creates a mysterious and more relaxing environment. Pick fairy lights and hang them on the wall or around the windows. Light up a few candles to create a relaxing mood.
11. Serve dessert away from table
Consider creating a different location for eating dessert rather than staying at the dinner table. This can relax the mood a bit and it gives everyone the chance to move around – sitting down in one spot can seem a little dull. In the summer, you could even consider organising the dessert on the patio or indoors if the main course was served outside.
12. Don’t take it too seriously
Now mistakes can happen and your party might not go according to your plan. But so what? You shouldn’t create huge expectations and then feel sorry for yourself when the plan fails – just have a good night and enjoy the company. Don’t start apologising for the food or the lack of right entertainment. Just go with the flow and have a laugh – your guests will enjoy it much more if you aren’t a nervous wreck.
The above tricks and tips will help you organise a fantastic dinner party without stress. The tips can also help you ensure you stick to budget and plan. So, keep them in mind the next time you are preparing for a party!