The first time you throw a dinner party, you’re most likely going to ask for a bit of help. It depends on the number of guests, of course, and how complicated you’d like it – if you only invite your closest circle, they’re probably not going to mind it if you mess up a bit. Step it up a notch and host a dinner party for your in-laws, however, and the kitchen seems awfully hot all of a sudden.
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Don’t sweat it; here is a handful of the best advice on the dinner menu, drinks, and entertainment, to wow your guests for good.
Make it as easy on yourself as possible since it’s your first time. Start with inviting the guests you’d like to dazzle – and make sure it’s a group that will get along. A quick phone call is enough, or you can make the event on Facebook if you’re inviting a lot of guests. That way, they get the chance to RSVP, and you can update them all at once if you have a message.
This is also the chance you get to ask about any food allergies and vegetarian preferences. Hopefully, your guests will offer to bring something with during this conversation. Accept it immediately, unless you’re excited about showing off your culinary skills. Besides, an extra side dish or two is hardly going to overshadow your centerpiece cooking.
Preparations: Dinner Menu
Planning the dinner menu is also a part of the preparations, and you’d want to put your cards on the dishes you’ve cooked the most. You might have found inspiration for this party from a particular dish you’ve never cooked before; go ahead and serve it, but make sure you’ve cooked it once or twice before to practice. Half an hour before dinner is no time to realize how easy it is to burn a mushroom risotto.
Focus on dishes you know well and make sure it’s something on the table that everyone can enjoy. Do as much as the preparations in advance as possible, so that you avoid all the chopping and pre-cooking on the day of the party.
Two or three varieties of drinks should be offered to your guests. It’s a good idea to ask people what they like; if most of the group only drinks grain alcohol or standard beer with every meal, there is no point in stocking up on different wines. If you’d like to keep it formal – for the fun of it, try to serve drinks as they should be served according to table etiquette. Here is a comprehensive guide to formal dinner parties if you’re interested.
Hosting: Greeting and Socializing
You’re the one who sets the atmosphere at the party, so prepare to be fun and cheerful. Greet the guests in a casual and relaxed way; it’s nothing wrong with welcoming them in your slippers or even barefoot to put them all at ease.
When you manage to stay stress-free, focus on having fun and socialize with your guests, there’s nothing that can go wrong. Even if a few of the dishes are less than what you hoped or the kitchen is full of smoke, you can just laugh it off and make sure the rest are enjoying themselves.
Good music, drinks, something to eat and a lively host is everything they need to have a good time; you only need to ensure the conversation flows smoothly and that people have what they need. It’s your duty, so to speak, so pour yourself a glass and look forward to a fun evening.
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