How to host a great dinner party
After a full week at work or school, a dinner party over the weekend is always a nice way to unwind. But wait, how old are you? It’s sometimes difficult to leave those glorious college days of beer pong and keg stands behind, but contrary to belief you can’t stay 21 forever. So put that beer-bong away and if you want to elevate your taste for parties, invite a few friends and acquaintances over for a dinner party.
Here are some helpful tips to throwing an awesome yet respectable get together.
Growing Into Responsibilities
Taking on more responsibilities is an important part of becoming an adult. But in addition to boring necessary tasks like finance management, laundry, and car maintenance, there are some fun activities like party hosting.
Being responsible while having fun is very much possible. It’s just up to you to find ways of integrating the two together. And although the type of fun has changed (no more beer shot-gunning), “mundane” adulthood can be adequately entertaining without being chaotically raucous. One thing you’ll find when growing older is that everything is relative.
What Are The Non-Edible Supplies That I Need For The Dinner Party?
First, make sure your house is stocked with all of the necessary “wedding gift” items. These include cutlery, plates (maybe china), serving plates, wine glasses, table cloth and napkins. Unscented candles are also a nice touch to help build appropriate atmosphere and ensure that the room is not excessively bright. Dim lighting always helps keep a relaxed and intimate tone. A bouquet of flowers for the table could also freshen up the décor and add nice fragrance.
Shifting furniture around is sometimes necessary due to space constraints. Due to some heavy lifting that may be required, it would be wise to get a head-count before the event to make sure you have room for everyone.
And what’s a party without music! Pick out some solid tunes to provide a soundtrack for the evening. Make a playlist or two and work out any sound system details before guests arrive, but try not to muddle with it too much during the party. Keep in mind that you are trying to entertain, so choose music that fits the vibe of the guests attending.
Don’t go overboard, but make sure that there is more than simply crackers for snacks.
Here are a few culinary suggestions:
1. Avoid cheese for appetizers. Although it’s yummy, cheese is both expensive and filling, so it’s best to leave it off the menu.
2. Good appetizer options: Stuffed mushrooms, precooked shrimp, and crusty bread with a light spread are some good, elegant options.
3. Drink options: Wine and beer are usually both good to have on hand, especially wine for the table. Moderately priced bottles of red and white wine will do fine.
4. Allergy concerns: Make sure that before you put out any food that everyone can eat it. If there is a dish that some guests can’t eat, be sure to provide other options, especially if guests have celiac disease, are lactose intolerant or have some other dietary restriction.
5. Main dishes: It’s good to cook things you know. Getting overly ambitious has its downsides and it’s safer to stay with the “tried and true” plates. For lighter fare: spiced red lentil soup, minestrone soup, chicken quinoa soup and corn chowder will do the job. For heartier dishes try pesto primavera, chicken jambalaya, vegetable chickpea curry, lemon baked salmon with roast potatoes and braised chicken with tomatoes and garlic.
6. Dessert: It doesn’t have to be anything major, but cake, pudding or frozen yogurt always work. And always offer tea or coffee as well.
People And Intangibles
Probably the most essential element of any party is the company. Here are a few things to remember about various odds and ends of the guest list.
Timing. Give guests’ ample time to RSVP to your event (3-4 weeks in advance).
Plus one. Tell everyone to keep additional guests to a plus one to keep things tidy and to let you know in advance who they are bringing.
Who’s coming? Make sure that you invite the “right” guests, namely anyone who is appropriate for the event. And obviously different events call for different people whether it be a house-warming, birthday, graduation, or holiday.
No place cards. It’s good to have a set seating arrangement, but place cards make it feel too formal like a wedding or a wake. So it’s best just to inform people where to sit or let it play out accordingly.
Themed Parties. Let people know ahead of time if the party has a particular theme. If it’s roaring 20’s night, opera night, or a civil war reenactment, your guests will want to prep their costumes.
Hosting a dinner party is a great way to feel like an adult and celebrate your growth. If it doesn’t go too well, who cares? You’re learning and next time you’ll do better. No matter the outcome, always be kind and courteous to guests and make sure everyone has a way to get home safely. You might have had some good “ragers” back in the day, but now it’s time for the next level. Bon appetite!
Andrew is a graduate of McDaniel College (’13). He is also an aspiring writer and stand-up comedian. He believes that if you are passionate about something, you should go for it! Life is too short for question marks, live life to the fullest while exploring your dreams and see what happens! Andrew presently lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.