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How to host the perfect dinner party

By Victoria

Whether you’re planning an evening that’s ‘casual and comfortable’ or ‘worthy of Royalty’ there are 3 key elements to hosting the perfect dinner party – chic, welcoming and effortless. Aside from ensuring that you suffer no guilt or stress, you want your guests to be relaxed and having fun; not feeling flustered for you. We have put together some of our top tips on how to host the perfect dinner party:

Plan the space wisely
The perfect space is open plan, then you don’t have to leave your guests when you’re needed in the kitchen. When open plan isn’t possible, focus on space for your guests to sit down and relax. Consider welcoming them into the living area, then moving to the dining area for the meal. That way they’re not immediately sitting down at the table and can ease themselves into the evening. We like to think of a happy guest as one who is sat relaxed on the sofa, glass of wine in hand – well, that’s our happy place anyway.

Wear something you feel relaxed in
Whichever theme you’ve gone with, make sure you feel comfortable enough to cook in it and don’t mind if you spill something on it.

A little styling goes a long way
Bring out the best china, cutlery, table cloth / place mats and centre piece (if you have one). Use lighting and candles to add ambience to the room. When the room is made to look special, the evening instantly feels more important.

Preparation creates an effortless evening
A successful dinner is all about timing. Create a plan about how you’re going to make everything. Write down each recipe and then working backwards (with the final dish), create a schedule of the evening. That way you can see when you’ll need to be in the kitchen and when you’ll have some time to prepare everything else. Lay out the ingredients for each dish before you start cooking, then you can see if there’s anything you’ve forgotten (we’ve all done it at least once).

Use seasonal produce
If you’re unsure how to create tantalizing food combinations follow the age old saying “if it grows together it goes together”. Choosing recipes which use seasonal ingredients mean you’re more likely to create a taste sensation rather than an edible flop.

Minimal effort, maximum effect
Choose your menu carefully and pre-prepare where you can. First make sure you pick recipes that you’re well versed in – it’s not a good idea to try something for the first time. Start with either a salad or soup as these can be prepared in the morning or even the day before. Then all you need to do is heat it up (or take it out of the fridge), plate and serve. Desserts are also something that can usually be made before hand and chilled overnight. With your main, you want something that can be cooking throughout the start of the evening and only needs a short amount of attention at the point it’s ready to be served. You don’t want to be flustered in the kitchen for hours whilst your guests wait at the dinner table.

Pick your playlist carefully
Music plays a crucial role in setting the tone but you don’t want it to overpower the evening. Choose a playlist that will carry the evening where you want to go, relaxing and playful are a great start. Of course, depending on where the evening goes, once the dinner’s been eaten and the wine’s been drunk you can either turn it up or down a notch. Depends if you want your guests to go home or kick off their shoes and party on…

Create a cosy evening
We have learned there is the perfect amount of guests for the perfect dinner party. Between four and eight is a great size and allows for all the guests to interact nicely with each other and as a whole group. Once you start getting into double digits it can start to feel like there are two parties happening.