The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Dinner Party

If you have a few party invitations coming up, you may be wondering what would be good to take along as a gesture of thanks. Some people take flowers for the hosts or a box of chocolates. Others like to take a good bottle of wine. It is customary to take something along but picking the right thing for your hosts can be a little bit of a challenge sometimes.

It may be that you are hosting a dinner party or two this season. Knowing what to serve that will suit everyone is always a challenge. If you have any vegetarians coming you feel obliged to create either a separate dish or have everyone eat vegetarian for the evening. Meat lovers may feel a little disappointed by that, but how else can you satisfy all your guests at once?

Picking the right dishes can be a hard thing to do. If you know your guests well, you are in with a chance of picking the right things to serve. If you are having a seasonal meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas, there are usually several choices on the table anyway. A dinner party for a select few guests poses the biggest challenge, so raiding the recipe books may not be enough.

If you are renowned for your specialist cultural delicacies when it comes to cooking, then anyone accepting your invitation should be ready to accept that. Cooking for vegetarians if you are not one can be really hard. Most people admit to cheating a little, and picking something from the Gourmet Vegetarian cabinet in the supermarket. Some vegetarians are very keen not to come into contact with any meat products. You may have to be extra careful not to cross contaminate through the use of utensils or pans in the kitchen.

Other people are not keen on spicy foods while some can’t get enough of the heated flavors. Catering for lots of people at the same time will never be easy if you only want to prepare one main dish. Going completely vegetarian for everyone may be one solution, but how do you cater for the different palates?

Drinks with the meal can also be a challenge. Have a look for the best wine site by browsing online to find out which of their bottles accompanies your meal well. Flavors and finishes from wine will either complement or throw off a meal, so you need to pick your bottle carefully. Some guests will prefer a white over red, even with a meat dish, so you need to be able to pick each well. If you are offering soft options for drinks, there are many non-alcoholic wines to choose from.

Coffee is essential to any dinner party. Cognac may also be served after a meal. Some people like it warmed a little. After dinner mints or dark chocolates are also a firm favorite to round off a good meal. Some hosts like to offer dessert coffees, which are sweetened with flavored syrups to create lovely warm hints of cherry, vanilla or raspberry. Any of these after-dinner favorites can be helpful in aiding digestion, and work well to round off a lovely meal.

For some parties, alcohol continues to be consumed after the hosts have retired everyone from the table. Usually situated in a comfortable sitting or living room, whiskeys and wines can continue to flow. Some dinner parties at this time of the year feature rustic games like charades or trivial pursuits.

If you are hosting a dinner party, you may be thinking about decorations and presentation. Candles are lovely at any dinner party, and most hosts like to bring out their best china to serve the meal on. Crystal glasses are popular too, and if you have one, a crystal decanter for your wine or whiskey. Coffees are often served in the petite espresso cup sets and tend to be specialty coffees from a machine. Serviettes or napkins are provided, and the table will be dressed in good linen with a runner and place mats.

For a special touch, decant sauces, sugars, and other extras into dishes rather than serving straight from the branded packaging. Fresh flowers in a delicate arrangement dress the table well. Don’t forget a good sized jug of iced water with a slice of lemon. This should be on the table, and each place setting should have a water glass available.

Leave some bottles or jugs of wine on the table so people can help themselves as they eat. Also, leave extra portions of everything within easy reach so people can choose to have more than they were served. Meals taken over the festive periods tend to lead people to overindulge, so try to prepare more food than you would normally eat.


For a final finishing touch at the table, you may want to make little name cards and menus to make it all extra special. Sometimes this can be considered overkill, but for a very formal dinner party, this is a lovely little touch. Try to enjoy yourself at the table, even if you are clock watching for the next course.

Music over dinner isn’t often required but somehow helps put people in the mood for conversation. Something quiet and in the background is usually good. It should just about be audible, and nobody should have to shout to be heard over it. There are lots of good compilations out there if you are stuck for ideas on the best music to play at dinner. Some families even invite their musical children to perform a short recital for the guests. Soft piano music is particularly popular to hear while you are eating or enjoying a drink with friends. Classical or easy jazz works particularly well. Think about what you might hear in a classy restaurant and see if you have anything like it. Some hosts prepare little gift bags for guests as they depart. This is primarily a celebrity fad, but some dinner parties offer little perfume samples or trinkets. If you have invited business associates, branded keepsakes can work well too.

1 comment

Thank you so much for visiting. God bless you and your family always.

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