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Hosting your first dinner party – basic advice on how to hold a successful dinner party.

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Hosting Your First Dinner

Hosting your very first
dinner party is a nerve-wracking prospect. Whether you are young, old, a
fantastic chef or not, inviting close friends and family over for food and
entertainment is a big responsibility.

If you have given it any
thought you will be aware that hosting a successful one depends on a
variety of different elements: a delicious menu, a convivial atmosphere
and enough entertainment to keep the evening going. All in all, there is a
lot to remember. This short guide is designed to give you an insight into
how to plan your very first and hopefully, very successful dinner party.



Your first task is to sit
down and seriously plan your forthcoming party. There are a series of
questions that you should ask yourself. What type of party do you want to
hold? Is it going to be themed and if you, will you be imposing a dress
code? How much time do you want to spend in the kitchen preparing the
food? How many guests do you want to invite? What will the menu be? How
many courses do you want to make? How formal do you want it to be? What,
if any, is your key culinary skill that you want to show off?

Get the answers to these
questions and prepare the RSVP’s. Whether you are going to invite people
via email, letter or text message you need to give your prospective guests
at least a couple of weeks notice. Inviting them on Wednesday for a party
on Friday is too last minute.

man thinking


Once your guests have
confirmed attendance its time to go to work! 
Draw up a list of action points. You might not be a natural
list-maker but do trust us, this is a wise move. The action list should
detail what you need to buy, when you need to buy it and how you are going
to fit everything in on the day itself. Do it as a timeline if you find
this helpful. This is a good way of avoiding unnecessary suffering in the
kitchen on the night and it will make you feel in control.


The menu can make or
break a dinner party. This is part of the reason why the prospect of the
night is so nerve-wracking. The best piece of advice is to be realistic:
if you are not a culinary genius don’t pick out a cookery book by aimed
at Michelin starred chefs.

Keep the menu
uncomplicated and don’t be afraid of doing so. A dish compiled of
simple, fresh flavours gives the impression of culinary confidence and
skill. It’s possible that your guests may be fooled into thinking that
you are in fact a natural in the kitchen. A simple starter of salmon and
rocket salad with a marinated chicken breast and fresh vegetables for the
main course is one menu idea that will keep costs relatively low,
preparation time to the minimum and even the fussiest of guests, happy.


Try and do as much as you
can the night before. If you have to go to work on the day itself, you
don’t want to be rushing around in the few hours you have before the
guests start arriving. Marinating and vegetable chopping can be done in
advance. This is also a good opportunity to prepare a cold dessert that
can be stored in the fridge until it comes time to serve. Make something
like tiramisu or a cheesecake: they are easy, delicious and store well.

Get the table ready.
Doing this the night before is a great way to save time. Get the vase
ready for the flowers, put the CD in the stereo, choose your lighting
arrangement and get your outfit laid out so that you can spend the minimum
amount of time running around.


When your guests start
arriving, welcome them. Even if they are your nearest and dearest, greet
them at the door with a smile and have a drink ready to serve. This will
help set the mood for the evening and ensure that absolutely everyone is
relaxed, including you.

If the dinner party is
quite informal and you have quite a lot of cooking to do, don’t be
afraid of inviting your guests into the kitchen and getting them to help.
Believe it or not, this can be fun and it will take the stress and
pressure off of you, allowing you to interact with your guests and keep to
your schedule.


man holding two pints of beer

Hosting your very first
dinner party is a big deal. The important part is the planning. Do as much
of this as you can but don’t be alarmed if things go wrong. Dinner
parties are meant to be enjoyable so keep smiling and if all else fails
call out for a takeaway!

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