Whenever I see pictures of people throwing dinner parties, I get so jealous because I don’t know the first thing on how to throw a one and it seems so overwhelming! All the planning, cooking, and decorating makes my head spin and I would just keep fantasizing about throwing my own little dinner party but not anymore! As luck would have it, I found 10 easy peasy tips on how to throw a dinner party and will be planning what might be the most epic dinner party ever!
1. Theme or No Theme?
The first step one must take on learning how to throw a dinner party is to determine whether you want a theme or not. Sure, themed parties are fun and it can help you narrow down options for food, décor, and drinks but if this is your first dinner party, leave the themes for another time. For your first party you want to focus on the guests and food and not whether your coconut bra is going to cause you to have a wardrobe malfunction or not. If you have your heart set on a theme and you have the time, resources, and help, go for it!
2. Guest List
The next dinner party tip is to decide who’ll be lucky enough to get invited to your shindig! A good number of people to invite is anywhere between 8-10 people, but it’s totally up to you if you want a smaller, more intimate party. Make sure you invite a good mix of people; couples, singles, men, women, and you could even ask your friends to invite a friend as well so you get to meet someone new. Make sure you have a list of reserves in case your original guests can’t all make it!
3. Main Dish
Planning the menu is probably the most frustrating yet fun part of how to throw a dinner party. It can be difficult to find a main dish that everyone can eat and will like while not spending a fortune on it. Make sure you know beforehand if any of your guests has any special diets and ensure that you have a variety of foods that will appeal to all sorts of palates. You’ll probably end up spending the majority of your budget here, but that’s okay you want to make an unforgettable meal! Plan for the dinner to be ready about a half hour before everyone arrives.
4. Starters and Drinks
The next one of the easy dinner party tips is to make sure you don’t forget to budget enough money for appetizers, drinks (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic), and dessert. As far as the appetizers go, plan for around two or three different appetizers for your party of 8-10 people. You can always place nice bowls with snacks like nuts, olives, or cheese in addition to appetizers if you’re worried there won’t be enough variety. For drinks, do some research beforehand to see what places offer the best prices on wine or liquor and don’t forget to offer some alternatives for the non-drinkers!
The next one of the simple tips on throwing a dinner party is to plan your dessert! Just like the starters and main dish, you will want to make sure you serve a dessert that everyone can enjoy but one that you don’t have to spend hours making. Unless you enjoy baking and want to make something from scratch, grab something from a bakery and add a few of your own special touches to it like drizzling caramel or chocolate sauce and adding fruit.
Music can really set the mood and help make people feel more at ease when there happens to be a lull in the conversation, so this next dinner tip is to play some upbeat tunes. You’ll want to play something that isn’t too hard or soft where people will feel hurried or like they’re in an elevator. Using internet radio should give you a good mix of artists and genres that your guests will all like. You could also plan a dinner party mix on your iPod so that you won’t have to play DJ all night long.
This how to throw a dinner party checklist wouldn’t be complete without planning the décor! Depending on what your place is like, a super easy but classy way to jazz up your house is to dim the lights and light some candles. Get some flowers and place small bouquets on the table and around your place to warm up the room and add some color to an otherwise plain room. If your party has a theme, by all means incorporate elements of it into your party décor! Don’t forget to clean your living room and bathroom, and make sure the bathroom is stocked with paper towels and toilet paper!
You’re probably rolling your eyes right now at this obvious dinner party tip, but if you're a first-timer like me you'll want to make sure you have enough dishes and cutlery for everyone because I usually barely have enough for myself! If you don’t have enough of everything for all of your guests, borrow from a friend or family member unless you have the money to buy some new dinnerware and plan on throwing more dinner parties in the future.
9. Table Decorations
Decorating your table can be just as important as decorating your house, so this next dinner party tip is to ensure you don’t forget to use a nice linen tablecloth, cloth napkins, and wine glasses. Your guests will spend the majority of their time at the table so pay special attention to your table settings and centerpiece. You’ll also want to think about whether you want assigned seating or not so you can make name cards for everyone.
10. Have Fun
The last step on how to throw a dinner party is to have fun! You’ve spent a lot of time planning and cooking so make sure you let loose and have fun the night of the dinner party. Plan on wearing something stylish but comfortable like a wrap dress. You'll also want to wear your hair in a style that you won’t have to keep fussing with like a loose bun or low pony tail. Take your time enjoying your food and guests and leave all the cleaning up until after everyone leaves so your guests don’t feel rushed to leave or help clean up.
I hope all of the budding dinner party hostesses found this guide on how to throw a dinner party helpful and easy to understand! Dinner parties can require a lot of work but they’re a lot of fun and worth the time and energy you put into them. Even if things don’t go perfect your first time, focus on your guests and what did go right!
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