Dinner parties have always been a socially conventional way to bond with family and friends. Sitting down to chat, eat and have a little wine can sound like the perfect Sunday night before having to get back to a busy work week. Whether celebrating a holiday, milestone or simply celebrating life, a dinner party is an intimate setting to create memorable occasions. A tasty menu, fun activities, a cozy setting, nostalgic music and a great host are the keys to having a vibrant occasion. But what if you’re the host? Ensuring that you have set the perfect scene for your dinner party does not always sound as easy as it seems. With our tips on how to set up an amazing atmosphere, create the most magnificent menu and be the hostess with the mostest, it’s sure to make your planning flow.


Start Planning Ahead


When planning for something of this nature, it would be a good idea to start working out your key components early. Saving the stress of having to do things last minute will be a huge part in making sure the event is not only entirely fun for your guests, but also for you.


Party planning should be fun and creative and not stressful or overly time consuming. Deciding if you want to create and send out invitations should be the first decision in your dinner party planning. This can take more time if sent by mail. Consider a virtual option like Paperless Post for expediency, data collection for RSVPs and guests’ dietary needs.


Theme, decor and lighting should be next. What kind of mood are you wanting to set for dinner? Calm, peaceful and quiet would call for dim lighting like candles and a more romantic type of decor while a fun and upbeat theme would lean more towards bright, colorful and loud.


Music and dinner go hand-in-hand while allowing the decor and mood to pick the feel of the music or vice versa. Create a playlist you won’t have to control during dinner if you are planning on incorporating music. You may also consider hiring a live musician or DJ for an added layer of entertainment.


A dinner party would not be complete without a miraculous and memorable menu. Choose a menu that you know you will succeed at making. It’s not completely about impressing your guests, but rather creating a delicious spread. Also account for time; if your dish requires preparations the day before, make sure you will be available to do that. Activities are the last thing you may want to think ahead for and prepare. Will you have different stations? Will you set the food up buffet-style? Do you want to plate and serve the meal? Make sure to account for any disabilities of your guests, as well.


Choosing Your Menu


Deciding the dishes you want to put into the mix of your menu will be determined by how many courses you may want to add. The most standard amount of courses for meals are 3 courses: an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. Though, you could have up to a 12 or16-course meal with the extreme form at 21 courses including: hors d’oeuvres, amuse-bouche, soup, appetizer, salad, fish, first main course, palate cleanser, second main course, cheese course, dessert, mignardise and more. It’s up to you and your abilities, time and effort you are willing to spend.


Be sure you are accounting for guests’ dietary restrictions. Vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free and allergies are all things you should be willing to take into account when preparing your meal. Will you prepare a separate meal for those guests or focus on one main course that is suitable for everybody? You could even ask your guests what kind of dishes they like and dislike. Asking if they prefer Italian, Mediterranean, Japanese or Mexican can give you an idea on what your guests crave most and make sure that each guest will enjoy the dishes. You could opt to make a list of dishes and ask them to choose between them.


To account for everyone’s tastes, setting out multiple appetizers or hors d’oeuvres can ensure that there is a variety for everyone. Dessert is the grand finale when it comes to a multi-course dish. The best ending desserts are unique, tasty and smaller in size. You don’t want to get the guests so full that they are too tired for the rest of the night. Giving something like a tart or mini cake, cream puffs or strawberry cheesecake cups would be the perfect ending to the night.


Incorporate Some Fun


Music, dancing and games are all great ways to keep your guests entertained all night long. Card and board games are the easiest of all activities to add to your dinner party evening. You don’t have to try to explain the rules, have a bunch of set up or create your own game when you pick this option. You could even have your own dinner party murder mystery that could prolong the whole night. Things like best friend or couples quizzes in newlywed-style could make for a hilarious night, as well. If you are hosting people whom you have never hosted before and want to get to know them, games where you have to work together like charades or pictionary can lead to a giggly dinner, too. Moving on from games, everyone loves music. Karaoke will get everyone up dancing and singing sounds like a great time. There are so many activities you could set up when it comes to having a dinner party, as long as everyone is having fun.


Hosting a dinner party can be stressful and chaotic if you don’t know how to prepare. With our tips, you will be able to know exactly what to prepare in the perfect amount of time. With beautiful invitations, an extravagant atmosphere, a delightful dinner menu and fun activities, you are bound to have your guests asking when your next party is! Remember to always plan ahead and account for the guests that you are having over. Make the entire event planning fun to end for you and your guests to create the most memorable party ever. If you are in a pickle and need someone to come and cater for your dinner party, just give Vibrant Occasions Catering a call or fill out our contact form.

Photo used by Vivlio Photography.

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