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Tips for Creating the Perfect Dinner Party
Choose a Theme and Send Out Invitations
There’s an important three-week span of time before the date of your dinner party that must be used wisely. During this time, you’ll need to plan out the theme of your party (if you choose to have one), write out the guest list, pick a date and time, and then send out your invitations to ensure guests have enough time to RSVP. Getting this all done ahead of time will save you from being a harried host or hostess the night before, and will help things run smoothly in the weeks leading up to the dinner party.
If you are choosing a theme, a good rule of thumb is to make it simple, seasonal, and visually appealing. Don’t overdo it but do design your invites,whether paper or paperless, with your theme in mind. It will make the night all that much more fun and enjoyable when your guests can see the thoughtful effort put in.
Get a head count and make sure that you know of any dietary restrictions. Don’t drive yourself crazy and make a separate meal, just provide options. Most likely, people will ask if they can bring something with them. Be prepared to make suggestions and always have back-ups.
Dinner Décor and Setting the Table
Following the same three-week schedule, in the week or so before, you’ll want to prepare or at least start to think about what you will need for the dinner party’s décor. A few important questions you should ask yourself are whether or not you have a theme and what you have on hand. It’s silly to go and buy new things for one night, so make it easy on yourself by using what you already have. Will you be using fine china? Have you got the right linen cloth for the table? What about the right number of napkins, glasses, and silverware for your guests? Check all these things off your list for smooth sailing.
If you have invited more than eight people—non-family members, to be specific—use coordinating place holders and seating arrangements that invite guests to talk and get to know each other. Do make sure the table decorations or flowers are low enough so that people can see over them, and always rely on candles and good background music for the perfect ambiance.
Dinner party menus have a few short and sweet rules: keep it simple, nourishing, and crowd-pleasing. If you regularly make vegetarian meals, it’s best not to push your favorite tofurky dish on them—instead, show them how delicious this kind of cooking can be! Something like sweet potato patties with sliced avocado, or a hearty and flavorful mix of grains and greens can be a great way to share your passion without being pushy.
For drinks, encourage guests to bring their favorites, but also be prepared with wine and, if you like, a signature cocktail to make it more personal. This is a great conversation starter and a wonderful way to get to know your guests, too.
In the spirit of eating mindful meals, serve your dessert somewhere away from the dinner table to encourage guests to get up, move around, and talk. If you are not big on sweets, serving some after-dinner spirits, coffee or tea, or even a fruit bowl is a great bookend to the night. As always, remember the sole purpose of a dinner party is to enjoy each other’s company. At Modernize, we know that so many wonderful memories are created in your home. And a pinnacle of healthy living is a soul-nourishing night spent with old and new friends, so make sure you prepare ahead of time so that you won’t miss out on these great moments.
The goal at Modernize is to create a fresh experience to help homeowners looking to upgrade their home by providing educational content and ideas for inspiration. The website has articles, ideaboards and photos for many projects. Thank you Katherine Oates and Kelsey Martin for the inspiration!