Now’s the time of year to start thinking about having people over for dinner parties, and we have a few ideas how to make your occasion one that your guests will love you for!
Have them at hello!
The way you introduce your dinner party determines how much people enjoy it. Even before the night itself, you might want to draw up special invitations or menus, to lend it that extra bit of sophistication. If you want your guests to dress in a particular way, or to subtly nudge them into bringing along a decent bottle of wine, this is the ideal opportunity. Invitations by post, rather than email or text, are touch of class. On the night itself, be ready at the door with a glass of bubbly or a cocktail (mocktail for the drivers). Create an ambience with background music, and make sure people are comfortable before you disappear to check on the food.
Know what your guests like
We’ve seen it all too often on shows like Come Dine With Me; the host slaves away in the kitchen all day making the ultimate fish pie, only to find out too late that the majority of the guests are allergic to cod! Admittedly, you’re probably going to know your guests and some of their habits and hates anyway, but if you do have veggies, vegans, allergy sufferers, and general fussy eaters in your midst, be sure to cater for them. You don’t have to make a separate dish for each individual (that would be sheer chaos) but you can at least make little tweaks here and there to ensure people are at least savouring their food.
Keep glasses topped up
As long as they’re not driving, guests like to be kept topped up so make sure the wine, beer, or whatever else is available if people want it (it can be embarrassing if they have to ask for more). As for the designated drivers – don’t desert them! Make sure the soft drinks are flowing all night too.
Don’t dominate conversation
It’s your house, and people are probably going to be paying you compliments about it (especially if you used our autumnal paradise tips from last week!) as well as the food. Although it’s absolutely within your rights to mop up any praise that comes your way, be sure to show an interest in your guests as well. Ask them plenty of questions and don’t go scrabbling for compliments (you shouldn’t have to). The more easy-going a host you are, the more likely it is you’ll be invited over to someone else’s next time!
Have a post-dinner plan
Sometimes when the food’s polished off, people just want to sit around and chat, which is fair enough. But it’s also not a bad idea to have a few back-up plans. Board games, or other silly party japes go down well (especially if people have had a few drinks!) and other possibilities are reminiscing over old photo albums (if your guests are in them), playing old records or putting on a movie you all love.