How to Throw a Dinner Party

Over a decaf flat white this morning I was chatting to a friend and we were discussing yesterday’s post about “The People You Spend Time With” where I happened to mention the dinner party. She told me she loves throwing a dinner party and most of her most memorable evenings have come about as a result of a dinner party.

Of late I’ve noticed an increasing and welcome trend especially amongst my more sophisticated friends towards the dinner party which provides a much more intimate experience than a night out at one of Sydney’s overrated, overpriced, and overcrowded venues.

These invite only affairs are a formidable weapon in your social event arsenal and a great way to bring people together, cultivate connections, and spend time with the people in your life that matter.

Hosting a dinner party should ideally be accomplished with style, flamboyance and grace.

Here are my guidelines for hosting a successful dinner party:

  • The best dinner parties bring together a mix of characters from all walks of life and include people that know each other and people that don’t. Choose your guests carefully and seat appropriately.
  • Preparation and planning is the key to ensuring the evening runs smoothly. Prepare and cook as much of the meal as you can ahead of time and be sure to cater for people with specific dietary requirements.
  • Embrace your role as the host and be present. Don’t spend the night in the kitchen. Your guests are there to see you.
  • Facilitate introductions and connections. Spark compelling conversation.
  • You can never have enough booze. Pair your food with appropriate wine.  A “house cocktail” is also a nice touch at the start of the night.
  • Put together your music playlist in advance. Try and accommodate everyone’s tastes and also plan the music for the time of night. Consider also introducing some new music to your guests.
  • Candles and flowers on the table are a great way to create some ambience. Also consider a chalk board and coloured chalk so people can leave personal messages or comments.
  • Board games like Balderdash, Monopoly or Scrabble can be fun after dinner if your guests aren’t dancing on the coffee table…
  • Remember that the conversation, intimacy and connections people make at a dinner party trump the food and will be what people are talking about long after the night is over.
  • If you’re not having a good time hosting your dinner party then chances are neither are your guests so relax and even if you burn the crème brulee keep calm and carry on.

If you’re invited to a dinner party be on time, bring your conversation A game, dress appropriately, and bring a nice bottle of wine, flowers or chocolates. Good manners are essential.

Have a good weekend and why not consider hosting a dinner party this Saturday night?

For more on “The Art of the Dinner Party” you should check out this excellent piece by @amandajhooton which was featured in The Sydney Morning Herald recently.