Planning a dinner party can be a little overwhelming.
Can you get everyone round the table? Are your culinary skills up to scratch? How will you keep conversation flowing?
Whether you’re hosting a small get-together with friends, or a lavish affair to celebrate a big occasion, feeling a little nervous can be par for the course.
But worry no longer! We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to make sure your dinner party will be one to remember – and for all the right reasons!
Make sure you know exactly how many guests are coming – and that you can fit them all comfortably at the table. If you often have dinner parties with large numbers of people, and have found yourself desperately hunting down several tables of the same height to put together, why not upgrade to one that can comfortably hold your clan? We can make tables that seat up to 14 – and our bespoke, reclaimed wood dining tables are bound to be a talking point too.
Make your table sparkle
A centrepiece will draw the attention to the main focal point of the room. The perfect centrepiece will complement both the table and the room. Fresh flowers look beautiful on one of our bespoke dining tables, but you can also branch out and try something new. An artistic arrangement of twigs, candles, fairy lights in vases or a bowl of fruit or seasonal decorations (think brightly coloured baubles for Christmas) can wow the guests.
Lighten the mood
Although this may sound an obvious point, it’s one of the most important ones. Make sure that the lighting suits the event. While dimmed lighting can be an extremely effective mood-setter, you need to make sure that the table is well-lit enough to ensure that the diners won’t need to squint to find the condiments. An evening meal looks lovely lit by candles.
Consider all your furnishings. Comfortable and practical chairs are a good place to start. If you’re going to be inviting more people than you have matching chairs, there are several ways to handle the situation. Hiring an entirely different set so that every chair matches is one option, but not one that would suit everyone. Our Mac+Wood wood benches are the ideal solution to this problem, helping if you are inviting a large number of people. The benches can also be the perfect accompaniment to our tables.
Set your table
Setting the table is a labour of love. Don’t worry if your crockery doesn’t match – just make sure you have enough. Include polished cutlery, glassware and condiments.
Prep to perfection
Most hosts find preparing the meal one of the most stressful elements of the dinner party. If you are a nervous cook, go for simple cuisine – especially if it consists of courses you can prepare in advance. There is nothing more frustrating than spending all night in the kitchen while your guests are mingling without you. Try to plate up starters in advance and have your dessert ready to go. Then if your main course needs a little last minute tinkering, you won’t be abandoning your friends for too long.
Don’t forget to glam up
You are not just the cook – you are the host. When it comes to the hour before your guests are due to arrive, the last thing you will want to be doing is wrestling a bunch of flowers into a vase, or hurriedly hunting for two more dessert spoons. Make sure your prep is done early and then spend a bit of time composing yourself, putting on your favourite outfit and enjoying a glass of wine.
Give your guests time to get to know each other a bit before plonking them all down at the table and making them eat. Offer welcome drinks and nibbles in a relaxed setting. Introduce shy guests to people you think they are likely to get on with. Encourage story sharing and be prepared to fill any awkward silences. Even with a comfortable group, it doesn’t hurt to introduce a new topic of conversation to liven up the party. The history and story behind a reclaimed wood dining table or bench is always a good talking point! Although, as a rule, avoid anything too heavy such as politics and religion!
Dinner parties are a great way to socialise – connecting everyone with a love of food around one big table. Don’t panic if your soufflé collapses, your chicken is burnt or your profiteroles look like pancakes. Most guests are just delighted to be treated to a night out.
So relax. Enjoy an evening of food, drink, and laughter – and let someone else do the dishes! You will have deserved it.