Over the past few years the influence of TV shows like Come Dine With Me and Dinner Party Wars have boosted the popularity of hosting a dinner party. Before you send out your invites here’s a few tips to help you navigate your way to hosting perfection.
Be Welcoming – Greet your guests at the door, take their coat, offer them a beverage, show them where the restroom is, introduce them to other guests and leave them with a talking point to spark their conversation.
A Failure To Plan Is A Plan To Fail – Make sure you plan your menu in advance taking into account any allergies or dietary restrictions of your guests.
Preparation Is Key – Do all your washing and chopping and mixing early. The less you have to do when they arrive the more time you have to socialize with them. Plus this will keep your kitchen tidier which is helpful if you’re entertaining in an open concept space.
Ladies First – When serving a plated meal the female guests should be served first and in order according to age. For example the eldest woman in the room would be served first and the youngest man would be served last.
The Right Way To Serve – Etiquette dictates that plated meals should always be placed in front of guests from the right hand side. The same goes for clearing the plates after the meal is finished.
Set The Mood – If you’re hosting an adults only party make sure that all your kids toys are put away. Have some light music playing in the background. If there is a theme decorate accordingly.
No Phone Zone – The dinner table is no place for texts and tweets and status updates! Be attentive to the people that are in the room.
Treat Your Guests Like Guinea Pigs – A dinner party is not the time to be experimenting with a new recipe even if your Mother swears by it. Stick with something you know is going to turn out well or you might be dialing the local pizza place!
Leave Your Guests In Need – A guest’s glass should never be empty at the dinner table. They should never be in search of salt, pepper, utensils or other meal essentials. Make sure everything they need is nearby.
Bite Off More Than You Can Chew – Know what your cooking abilities are and stay within them. This isn’t a job interview for Gordon Ramsey so a perfect Beef Wellington is not necessary. Stretching far beyond your ability will ultimately make you feel pressured and effect the quality of your hosting.
Do The Dishes – If you grew up watching the women in your family clammer around the sink to do the dishes after a holiday meal this will be a hard lesson to instill in you. Doing the dishes during a dinner party kills the social atmosphere entirely! Now I’m not saying you have to leave your dirty dishes to stare back at you on the table but to clear them and stack them away in the kitchen is perfectly acceptable.