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Hosting the perfect dinner party

hosting a dinner party

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How to plan a dinner party

Television shows such as Come Dine With Me have raised the bar when it comes to dinner parties, so organising one in your own home can seem a little intimidating.  Not only does the food have to be appetising and ready at the same time, you also want to create a warm atmosphere and have some fun yourself.  Our tips for hosting the perfect dinner party will help you host an evening that your guests will remember for all the right reasons.

Who to invite

This will depend on the size of your dining table as much as the company you enjoy.  If it’s your first time then keep the guest list small and make sure the people you plan to invite get along well and have things in common to talk about.  Check with your guests that they don’t have any food allergies or intolerances and remember to give them plenty of time to RSVP.  Who you invite will inevitably influence the party’s atmosphere so plan your evening around their personalities.

Don’t be overambitious

Yes, that tutorial on YouTube may have made that fancy dish look easy, but if you’re not renowned for your culinary skills then stick to what you know.  Cooking a new dish for the first time at a dinner party rarely turns out well so choose a meal you’re already good at making or have a trial run.  You’ll get much less stressed and produce a far tastier meal if you take your cooking skills (or lack of) into account.  You don’t have to be a master chef to host a dinner party if you keep things simple.

Plan your menu

Once you’ve decided what to cook make a list.  Ensure all the ingredients are readily available and work out how much prep you can do beforehand and how much time you’re willing to spend in the kitchen after your guests arrive.  It’s not much fun listening to your guests having fun in the next room while you slave over the cooker so prepare as much as possible in advance.

dinner party

Keep it clean

In the days running up to your dinner party give your house a deep clean and make sure all your cutlery and crockery are sparkling.  Nobody wants to arrive at a dinner party and see a manky kitchen, so pay particular attention to this area on the day, clearing up as you go as much as possible.

Make a playlist

As well as adding to the atmosphere, background music is great for filling any lulls in conversation and can be a talking point in itself.  Steer clear of anything too heavy or loud and try to include bands or music genres you know your guests enjoy.  Make sure your playlist is long enough to last the duration of the meal and arrange the songs to flow well into one another; abrupt changes in tempo are a definite no-no.

On the day

Write out a schedule for the day of the party incorporating the time it will take to clean and cook as well as setting the table and getting yourself ready for your guests arriving.  Estimate how long each task will take and try to stick to your timetable to keep you from getting stressed.


Your guests are much more likely to enjoy themselves if they see that you’re having fun too.  A stressed out host will make guests feel awkward so even if things aren’t going quite to plan try to chill out and get involved in conversation as much as possible.



About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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