How to plan a dinner party

Hosting a dinner party

Entertaining at home is a lot more casual than it used to be, dinner parties are not so formal and having guests for dinner doesn’t have to be a formal affair. Check out our top tips for hosting a dinner party. 

Inviting your Guests

If its your first dinner party don’t invite too many guests keep it to 4 to 6 guests

Check if your guest have any dietary requirements so you can pick your menu to suit everyone and keep it simple for yourself. Our advice is to try and keep as many course the same as possible for you guests. For vegetarians we usually cook a starter and dessert suitable for both meat eaters and vegetarians and then swap out the main course for something different, so our meat eating guests still get to enjoy their main but it keeps it simple for your preparation.

Choosing your menu

With so many recipes available on the internet trying to choose what to cook for your dinner party can become overwhelming, themed menus help you focus reducing choices and guaranteeing that the flavours of your courses will go together well. Theming a menu helps you to decide, what to cook, drink and even how to decorate the table.

Don’t choose complex recipes, or if you do choose a complex recipe make sure you can do most of the cooking the day before so you are less stressed on the day. Simple recipes taste great, and the party is as much about socialising as it is about the food so keep it simple so you enjoy it

Ideally use recipes you have cooked before, or plan in advance and cook the recipes the week before so you have tried them and know how to cook them. Cooking a recipe you have never cooked before for a dinner party is stressful again keep it simple cook something you feel confident in.

Balance the menu, balancing a menu is just looking at each course and making sure you have the right amount of freshness, fat, sweetness, sourness etc. If you have a rich main course, choose a light starter and a fresh dessert, don’t over face your guests make each course a different experience for the taste buds.

Pick your recipes carefully make it easy on yourself, hosting your dinner party should be a pleasure.

Plan your time

Planning your time might sound obvious but little things can take up a lot of time here is our list of things to think about so you don’t have a last minute panic

·        Everything in your meal doesn’t have to be homemade the supermarkets have loads of helpful shortcut products use them.

·        Once you have chosen your recipes write a plan of what you are going to do and when so you don’t forget anything.

·        Scan and print your recipes or copy them into a spreadsheet if you use a device for cooking. Alter amounts on your recipe as if you get busy you may forget to multiply up your ingredients.

·        Do your shopping list so you don’t forget anything

Presenting your food

Think about how you are going to present the food,

·        what plate are you going to use to serve the food, if you don’t have the right plate, borrow one or pop to the charity shop as they often have loads of large plates and bowls.

·        Think about the colour of the food and the colour of the plate make sure they compliment each other

·        Adding a sprinkle of fresh herbs or a dollop of crème fresh, or a dusting of icing sugar can finish the dish beautifully.

Party Atmosphere

You will always have less time than you think so sort out as much as possible before the day

·        set the table the day before

·        Think about playlist as you will need background music

·        Think about drinks and if you are doing a themed party, theme the drinks and ensure you have something for the non drinkers.

·        Think about lighting, most people like to see what they are eating, but you also want to have a good atmosphere. A combination of fairy lights and candles can work well avoid scented candles.  

·        Seating plan, if you have a lot of guests do a seating plan its save time and confusion for your guests

Our top five dinner party menus

If your not sure what to cook, try some of our dinner party menus. We have some great themed menus to choose from, and we have created a prep order list for you too. Here is our top five dinner party menus for both meat eaters and veggies. Most of our starters and desserts are perfect for vegetarians, so in the majority of cases we simply swap out the main course for a veggie one  check out our menus

·        Summer Italian dinner party menu or veggie summer Italian menu

·        American menu dinner party or our vegetarian American dinner party menu

·       Indian dinner party menu or veggie Indian dinner party

·        Greek dinner party menu or veggie Greek dinner party menu

 M  Middle Eastern dinner party menu or vegetarian Middle Eastern dinner party men

For more dinner party ideas check out our

dinner party menus

veggie dinner party menus

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