Hosting a dinner party is a great way to enjoy an intimate evening with friends and family. But it can feel like the pressure is on: the menu, the music, and the atmosphere all come into play. We’ve collected a few top tips to hosting a successful dinner party. Get cooking!
Plan ahead. You’ll want to give your guests plenty of notice about when you’re hosting your party, and you’ll also want to ask about any food allergies in advance. Remember to choose friends who get along together (or whom you think will get along), and aim to keep the group at about six people.
Failsafe food. Your dinner party should include menu items that can largely be prepped in advance and simply need to cook through in the oven. No made-to-order entrees or desserts here (souffles? Just say no). Instead, opt for family-style preparations when possible. Take a look at our sample dinner party menu below, featuring a Mexican flair:
Set the table the night before. Trust us: even with the most careful planning in place, chances are you’ll have your hands full the night of the dinner party. Do what you can in advance, including setting the table the night before. Make sure you have enough chairs plus proper utensils, extra napkins, and a bit of design elements — candles or flowers (or both!) are usually a nice touch.
Buy ice. Whether your dinner party includes a signature drink or not, no beverage is quite as palatable when it’s warm. Even if you have an ice maker in your apartment, have at least one bag of ice on hand if the drinks really start to flow!
Make a playlist. Or rely on someone else’s! Music is an integral part of a dinner party, and streaming services like Spotify and Pandora offer pre-made lists based on artists you enjoy or a particular mood you’re after.
Lighting, lighting, lighting! Both you and your guests will likely appreciate soft lighting. Dim the lights a bit and use lamps where possible to strike a mood that feels fancy and fun, but not too formal.