Hosting your first ever dinner party can, and probably will, be a nerve wracking experience, but by planning ahead, it can also be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. Below are some top tips to ensure that your dinner party is a roaring success and that your guests have a night they won’t soon forget.
Pick a Good Group of People
Whether the people you invite are old friends or acquaintances you’d like to get to know better, you should pick people who you’re confident will get along with one another and work together as a group. There’s nothing worse than palpable tension when trying to enjoy a meal as a group and if you’re uncertain about how your guests will get along, it will only add to your worries. If you’re planning to invite close friends you might consider recruiting them to help cook the food. This will give you an opportunity to interact with them in a way you might not have before and adds a whole new dimension to the experience for your guests.
Plan Your Menu Well in Advance
Once you’ve settled on an appropriate guest list, it’s time to put together the main event; your menu. Some hosts like their menu to be a surprise and if you are a confident chef this is a good way to go, but remember to ask your prospective guests about any allergies or other food intolerances. If you don’t feel as confident, you should talk to your guests beforehand about the menu you’re planning, you don’t have to give everything away, but worrying about whether the meal you’re planning will be suitable will make it harder to focus on making it delicious. If you really want to push the boat out, you might want to offer your guests a few choices, and perhaps even a professional looking menu produced with a menu maker.
Go with Dishes You Know
While it’s good to be adventurous, it can also be a gamble. Pick food for your menu that you’ve cooked before and serve it in combinations that you already know work well together. In the run up to your dinner party, practice as much as you can and share with people you feel comfortable taking constructive criticism from. If you’re used to only cooking for a few people, or even just one, then practice cooking multiple portions; sometimes cooking a larger volume affects the cooking time. If you’re determined to cook a brand new dish, give yourself a few weeks to practice until you know the recipe inside out. You should feel confident in cooking any food you plan to serve without needing to check the instructions.
As long as you prepare adequately and take the time beforehand to carefully prepare for the big night, you will be fine. Some nerves beforehand are perfectly normal and knowing afterwards that you have overcome these is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Before you know it, hosting dinner parties will be a regular occurrence for you, and your skills will be the envy of all.