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 😉
How to choose an evening gown that suits YOU
KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE: Just because it looked good on Anne Hathaway on the red carpet, does not necessarily mean it will look good on you. You need to know and recognize/accept your body type. What are your best features versus your not so good features?
As women, we are all shaped differently – it’s what makes us unique and genuinely beautiful. Some of us are busty and petite; while others are tall and slender. Some, top heavy and some, bottom heavy. You will want to choose a dress or ensemble that accentuates your BEST features while taking the attention away from areas you do not want others to focus on. I, myself, am a short and petite woman of average size. I wear a lot of smaller cocktail dresses, either strapless or with spaghetti straps. I like to show a lot of legs, as this gives the appearance of longer legs (for me), especially with a pair of heels. I try to stay away from longer dresses or skirts that hang below the knees as this tends to pull me to the ground and give the illusion that I am actually shorter than I really am. I am also very busty for my size. Flowing dresses or shirts also create an illusion that I am pregnant or heavy set. I prefer dresses that are tapered at the waist, that way it also adds a little height to my frame by giving the appearance of a longer torso and longer legs.
The first step in choosing your look is knowing YOUR body type and what looks good on you. Choosing a gown or dress goes far beyond just colour, but material and length. After you have determined your body type, and perhaps gained some insight from some HONEST friends and store personnel, it is time to seek that perfect dress. I don’t suggest you set your sights on the first dress you see. Establish a budget. Think of the occasion. How much are you willing to spend? Once you have established this, visit four or five stores that fit within that budget. Try on a few dresses in each store, if you can. If they will allow you to, take pictures. Bring a friend with you and ask for their opinion. Keep in mind that you want to choose a dress that you can easily match with a pair of shoes.
Once you have spent a day or two trying to find that perfect dress, narrow down your choices by selecting the dresses that compliment you the most. Think of the occasion; what look you want to create; the impression you are trying to achieve and what fits best within your budget (by all means, DO NOT merely select the cheapest dress). Once you have made your decision, it is time to get that dress! (just pray that it’s still there). After dress comes shoes and after shoes comes accessories, including clutch.
Evening wear is generally more elegant. You can never go wrong with black (when in doubt). Sequence are nice, as well as studded dresses (just be careful of any fabric that is over-studded as it can make an outfit lose formality). Try to refrain from wearing all one colour i.e. all black (black dress, black shoes, black clutch). Your shoes should definitely make a statement – perhaps more so than the dress. However if the dress really makes a statement, it may be enough for you shoes to be simply shiny and sophisticated.
Some important tips to remember:
1. Think elegance/classy (if your dress is short, lose the 6 inch heels)
2. Pay attention to your body type
3. Girdles and SPANX can be your best friend (don’t let it all hang out!)
4. Stick within your budget!
5. Wear heels you can walk in – COMFORTABLY
6. If you can’t bend or stoop down in the dress, don’t wear it!
7. Think comfort
8. If your breasts don’t fit in the dress, don’t wear it!
9. If you don’t have enough breasts for the dress, don’t wear it!
10. Make sure the outfit is appropriate for the occasion
11. Do not over accessorize!