‘Tis the season for entertainment! If you’re up next to host a themed dinner party for the festive season, we’ve got you covered with a few handy tips to host an event which will have your guests talking well into the New Year!
Forgo the rigid formalities and ensure three key items are always taken care of: plenty of drinks, good food and great conversation! These are the fundamentals your guests will remember and the memories they will take home with them for the festive season.
Host a modern dinner party without the fussiness with these simple tips:
Create a Reminder
Whether you’ve created a Facebook event, sent out email invites or created a WhatsApp group for your dinner party, a reminder with all the essential information is a must! Make sure to send out your reminder a day before, and include date, time, address, dress code / theme and what to bring.
Settle on a Theme & Share Your Idea
A theme for a simple dinner party may seem OTT, but it’s actually a great way to narrow down what you’re going to cook, the types of drink you’ll serve, entertainment, décor and what your guests need to bring. Once you have settled on a theme which suits the occasion e.g. a casual, summer braai, a Christmas-inspired Mexican feast, or a gold inspired New Year’s Eve dinner, share your idea with your guests so that they know what to expect, how to dress and what they may need to bring.
Invest in Efficient Décor
Efficient décor probably doesn’t sound very fun or festive, but it’s basically décor pieces which can be re-used from one occasion to the next. Efficient décor would include basic décor pieces which can blend in with other ritzy, fancy, sparkly or quirky items.
Basic tableware such as neutral-coloured white, grey or light-coloured crockery and cutlery are a good idea to invest in. You can then add character to your table with other items such as ornate glassware, wreaths, candles, centre-pieces, flowers and more.
Make Things Interactive
Have you ever been to a dinner party where everyone just sits around and stares at each other, waiting to be fed? Bet that’s not on your list of ‘top dinner parties’ to remember is it?
Creating an interactive atmosphere can really change the energy of your get together. Try incorporating a ‘welcome’ or DIY activity, such as a make your own cocktail station, build your own tapas board, or invest in a few simple lawn games which can be played while you are preparing your food courses.
Never Let a Glass Go Empty
Dinner parties are largely about the drinks, this is an important element for any get together, whether your drinks are alcoholic or not. Ensure you have a dedicated drinks station available upon arrival, where guests can help themselves to wine, water or build their own cocktail. Have plenty of ice on hand, and make sure your guests drinks are always kept cold if they are bringing their own! Having a drink in-hand will help your guests feel fully welcomed and at ease.
Catering to the Masses
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party for 5 or 15, cooking for a group has its challenges. If you know some of your guests may be fussy eaters, make sure you have made provision for them. Be subtle about your attention to detail so they do not feel overly fussed over – which some people can find embarrassing.
Some sort of pre-dinner snack, such as a round of canapes or tapas to tide your guests over will give you a little leeway if things go awry in the kitchen! Make sure to announce at least 10-minutes before each course is served so guests know to charge their glasses and find their seats!
Entertaining for a large group of people has its fair share of stresses. With the informal habits of new generations, things are far more relaxed than dinner parties hosted just a mere 20-years ago. Just remember to have fun with your entertaining and not take things too seriously – there is nothing worse than an overworked, uptight host who doesn’t appear to enjoy entertaining! After all, your guests are there for the company, not the food (or so they say!).