Dinner parties are a wonderful opportunity to get to know new friends or catch up with loved ones. They give you a chance to show off your favourite recipe, sip on some great wine late into the evening, and chat about all of the latest news without having to splash out on an expensive restaurant. If you’re new to the world of dinner parties but want to invite your friends over this year, follow these simple steps.
- Make your space inviting. If you’re inviting new friends over, it’s natural to want your home to be welcoming and warm. This doesn’t mean that your dining room needs to be spectacular in terms of your décor, but putting some thought into your interior design could make a major difference to the experience of your guests. You can find cheap dining chairs that still look sophisticated and elegant, and a classic wooden dining room table always hits the right notes. Spruce the space up with some flowers before they arrive and you’re bound to make a good impression.
- Choose a recipe you know well. A dinner party isn’t the best moment to cook something for the first time. When deciding what to cook for your guests, pick something you feel confident cooking. A new recipe is fine, particularly if you’re already comfortable in the kitchen, but take the time to practice it once or twice before the day arrives so you don’t panic on the night.
- Pick your guests wisely. Many an awkward dinner party has been had over the years by hosts who invite the wrong group of people. Certain friends just don’t mix well together, so choose your group sensibly. While some variety is always exciting, it’s best to choose your group from friends who have similar interests or at least have something in common.
- Check requirements ahead of time. Before you get started on your menu, do a quick check-in with your guests to be sure that there are no allergies or specific requirements you need to know about. If you’re inviting one vegetarian out of a group of carnivores, make sure you make something veggie-friendly or offer an alternative entrée to keep them comfortable.
- Be prepared. Don’t wait until the day of the party to check that you have all of the right ingredients for your menu. Go shopping a few days in advance so you know that your kitchen is fully stocked. If you spend your day rushing around the supermarket instead of cooking, your food will certainly suffer.
- Consider the recipe timing. When deciding what to cook for your dinner party, consider the timing involved in each dish. For example, an entrée that requires an hour of prep before it can be served probably won’t work when you want to be socialising, while a dessert that can be prepared in the morning and left to cool in the fridge may be ideal. Keep the timing in mind so you’re free to relax and enjoy your evening.
- Don’t panic. Unless you’ve over-hyped your own party, there’s no reason to believe that anyone will be expecting perfection. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and remember that your guests are there to enjoy your company, not to stress you out.