So often clients will say they would love to throw a dinner party but don’t know where to begin. Dinner parties have always been a common occurrence in my life as far back as I can remember. Whether celebrating a birthday, Thanksgiving, or just a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the Wolfe and Rizor families love to gather with friends around a beautiful table to enjoy a delicious meal.
Once you know these tricks , you will be the “hostess with the mostest “.
1. Chemistry: You may have a lot of friends, but it’s having the right combination of people at a party that leads to a fun night. Think about bringing friends with common interests together or common personalities. It’s almost like match making. You want people to bring out the best in each other. Also, keep people together. People are often worried it will be too crowded. Tight spaces make for better parties because it forces your guests to mingle, especially if you have people who don’t know one another. Just keep the air conditioner low.
2. Seating: similar to chemistry is where you seat your guests. If one of your friends is quiet put them next to one of your guests who is talkative. My mom is a good person at making people talk. Lol. Another tip is to break up couples so they interact with new people and don’t just talk amongst themselves. And finally, use place cards so you can make the “chemistry” happen.
3. Alcohol: always start the evening off with drinks. A good tip is to have a signature cocktail already made on a tray so you can hand your guests a drink as soon as they arrive. Or have someone working the bar so it’s easy to get served. And finally, keep the libations flowing. Have extra wine on the table so people can fill their glass as the conversation and the night gets going.
4. Food: I think people feel they have to cook a gourmet meal in order to host a dinner party. The meal is important, but not as important as getting people together. I always think the best dinner to serve at a party is a one pot meal. A great stew like Cioppino or jambalaya served with a fresh salad and hearty bread is all you need to fill everyone up and allows the hostess to be part of the event instead of spending the night in the kitchen. Or go the big way and have it catered. We always like Arthur’s or Cuisiniers.
5. Music: Silence can be deafening . Music is a great way to fill in the quiet gaps until more people arrive and the conversation gets going. It’s also a great way to create energy and set the mood. If you are serving Mexican food, choose something like Luis Miguel, or pair some Diana Krall with a robust stew. Just make sure your guests can talk over the soundtrack.
6. Ambiance: Last but not least is the mood. Setting a beautiful table for your guests always makes people feel special. Beautiful flowers down the center of the table with coordinating cloth napkins or something creative that goes with the origin of the meal you are serving for a centerpiece looks great. And always have candles around the house and on the table.
Making it look easy and above all making your guests feel welcome will lead to a great night with friends and family.