Christmas is upon us, that means lots of gatherings, BBQs, drinks, work functions, basically parties. Some of us will attend, others will host.
I always thought hosting parties were fairly simple. Serve food and don’t let the alcohol stop was the general rule of thumb. Well, not really. Just the other day I was thinking to myself how many utterly disastrous parties I’ve been to. The worst thing is, the host will never know. Well, unless it’s REALLY bad. Regardless of the success of the party, guests will leave with a modest and standard compliments like “Thanks for hosting!”. Even if you didn’t do anything.
One thing is, I really want people to have a great time. Since I am clearly not the Martha Stewart of Sydney, I looked to various reputable websites and blogs for advices on tips and tricks to pull of a successful dinner party. Since there are various types of overlaps of advices, I’ve shrunk them, deleted some and made a concise list of all that I’ve read. While some of them may be totally obvious, you would be surprised how often people forget or simply dismiss.
Then, at the bottom of it all, I’ve included a few sources and inspirations that are too good not to share. So, enjoy!
Hosting a Dinner Party – Do’s & Don’ts
Do: Plan ahead.
What would need planning? From the number of guests attending, to where you will be placing the large bags of trash. Even if you don’t have a detailed solution, at least make a mental note.
Do: Prepare before hand.
Once the party starts, it’s socialise time. So prepare as much as possible before the party starts so you get to enjoy the party like everyone else.
Do: Answer the door yourself.
Unless it’s a very close group of friends who can answer the door for each other, you should always be the first person to welcome a guest into your house.
Do: Introduce the guests to each other with something interesting about them.
It could be a recent achievement, hobby, family holiday trip. It’s a great idea to introduce with a compliment like: “Hey guys, meet Paul & Sally. They just started their own restaurant, and you should ask them about their Spaghetti Bolognese recipe, it is THE best in the world.”
Don’t: Invite everyone you know.
Unless you can count all your friends with two hands, or you intend to throw a surprise wedding party instead, don’t invite everyone you know. There are many down sides like you have to cook more, limited seats, people don’t mingle as much etc.
Don’t: Serve only chips and crackers at a dinner party.
People don’t mind cocktail parties, they also don’t mind finger food; however they will mind if your invite says “Dinner Party” and proper dinner is not served.
Don’t: Starve or stuff your guests.
While some guests may arrive famished, others arrive expecting at least ONE vegetarian dish to be available. Whatever state your guests comes in, make sure there is an option for them.
Do: Let people know when the party is over.
Not all great parties have to end at 3am in the morning. There is nothing wrong telling your guests before hand that the party ends at 10.45pm. Don’t make it 11pm, no one takes a number like that seriously. That party ends precisely at 10.45am, and if you don’t have the heart to tell everyone to get lost, subtly remind your guests by turning off your music or turning on a few extra lights. Don’t turn on ALL the lights, you’re home not a bar after all.
2. GQ Host