You don’t have to be MASTER ENTERTAINER to pull this one off, and size of the venue doesn’t really matter either. Whether you are working with an entire house space, apartment, condo or loft space, these following few tips can help you plan a successful dinner party.
1. Make a list and check it TWICE (a GUESS LIST that is)
Know who you’re inviting and how many people you are working with. Don’t invite more people than you can accommodate, especially if you’re encouraging your guests to bring guests. You will want to ensure that there is adequate seating for everyone. At no given time should any one really have to stand and eat.
Although this is not necessary (at all), a theme can make a dinner party more interesting. Whether it is a themed menu (Italian, Mediterranean, West Indian, Vegetarian, Everything Tofu) or themed decor (Hawaiian, The beach, Summer, Winter, Christmas, Colour Scheme, etc).
Must have entertainment. You cannot solely expect your guests to carry the life of the party with conversation. Especially if you happen to be one of those people who moved every summer as a kid/teen; went to 8 or 9 different schools; and has friends from all different walks of life, who DON’T know each other, might I add. Background music or music music is a good idea (please do not rely on TV alone). Games are also fun, although bear in mind that not everyone is going to want to play games, which is okay – as long as the idea is there and there is some sort of entertainment.
4. Be a Good Hostess
Don’t just sit on your a** and expect your guests to help themselves. It may also help if you have a good friend who can help you host the party, then you won’t feel so depleted by the end of the night and you, too, will be able to enjoy yourself and your guests.
5. Ample Food is a MUST
There should be more food than guests. DO NOT throw a party with the idea that it is on a first come, first serve basis. It is always better to have more food left over by the end of the night than to run out before everyone arrives or before everyone has eaten. If ever you have to choose between a food or decor budget, choose food. It’s a “Dinner” party, not a “Decor” party.
6. Take Food Allergies Into Account
When sending out your invites, it is always a good idea to inquire as to whether any of your guests have any dietary intolerance; peanuts, dairy, wheat/gluten – just to name a few. Bear in mind you may have a guest who is on a strict vegetarian/vegan diet or does not eat red meat or pork. These are just a few things to consider. As “hassling” as it may seem, it is best to accommodate everyone. It is always better to avoid any potential hazard or danger, or any unwanted trips to the hospital.
7. Put A Muzzle on the Dog/Lock Up the Cat
Yes, the pets live there too and yes it’s their home, but not all your guests may be animal lovers. Some people are straight terrified of pets. If you have animals, it is probably better to keep them in a separate room (with a door) for the night. For allergy purposes, get rid of any dander that may be stuck to cloth furniture and carpet…and for goodness sakes; febreeze, febreeze, febreeze!!!
8. Call A Babysitter
Some (very few) are able to pull off the dinner party after the kids have gone to bed. Lord knows all of our parents were able to do it in the 70s and 80s, but if you know your child is the type to get out of bed and wander, it might be better to call up Grandma and Grandpa for him to have a visit for the night. Having your child in his/her pajamas, around a bunch of adults in the wee hours of the morning is not a good look. Neither is the disappearing act you will have to pull just about every ten minutes trying to put the kid back to bed.
9. Keep the Party Drama Freeee
If you know you have two friends who do not get along anywhere at anytime, then why invite both of them? Sorry, but you’re going to have to choose. For the sake of everyone else and for the time you invested in putting this lovely evening together, why put yourself through it? You don’t want to have to be playing referee at any point during the evening.
10. Clean House – A MUST
Do not invite anyone to an untidy house or apartment. Your house should be spic and span. Powder room stocked with toilet paper, tissue, soap, lotion, hand towel and whatever else you deem necessary.
11. Serving Alcohol
Whether you choose to serve alcohol, ask others to bring and what you decide to serve as alcohol is entirely up to you. Just remember you will want to monitor your guests’ consumption to some degree, and not have anyone driving home while under the influence.
If you have taken the time to plan this evening properly, everything will go smoothly. If you’ve become a pro at this, you may find some of these hints useful or you may already be taking heed to all of them 😉