How To Host the Perfect Dinner Party

A successful dinner party is one of the greatest achievements the host of the home can claim. But where do you start? Read our guide for dinner party tips.

Dinner party table setting

How to Host a Dinner Party Perfectly

Having guests over for dinner and not sure where to start? An unforgettable dinner party is one of the greatest achievements the host of a home can claim. Whether you’re an expert at hosting get-togethers or you’re just starting out in the home hospitality game, organising a formal dinner party can be a little overwhelming.

You’ve got to make sure the house is spick-and-span, think carefully about menu choices for each tasty dinner course and master a delicious meal to present to your guests – all while keeping the festivities alive and the drinks flowing throughout the evening. But truthfully, hosting a dinner party doesn’t have to be a challenge. Once you’ve succeeded in setting a picture-perfect table and have planned your menu out to the finest detail, there’s very little room for error.

So if you’re wondering how to host a dinner party flawlessly, we’ve stripped it right down to the basics to make it as seamless and stress-free as possible – all while maintaining a touch of lavish luxury, of course.

Choosing your dinner party table settings

Before the first drop of bubbly is poured and the first bite of food is tasted, you’ve got to think about the ambience, setting and overall aesthetic of your dinner party. Will it be a laidback, casual affair? A relaxed get together for cheese and wine tasting? Or perhaps a formal dinner party with a five course menu of delectable dishes and accompanying champagne?

Whatever vibe you’re aiming for, it’s important to radiate it in your table setting. If you’re going down the buffet route - full of flavoursome canapés and picky treats - you should serve the food to your guests on platters, trays and boards that are positioned proportionately over the table. This is often an easier way to host, as all you need to do before the food is served is lay out your plates, cutlery and glassware.

If you’re hosting a dinner party where there are several courses, side dishes and beverage pairings, your hosting prowess is put to the test in a much bigger way. But there’s no need to overcomplicate things. First, you’ll need a crisp tablecloth, place settings and your fanciest crockery. You should also add a bread plate to the left of the dinner plate with a butter knife placed horizontally across it.

Next, it’s all about the cutlery placement. The dinner fork and salad fork go on the left, while the knife goes on the right-hand side with a spoon to its right. Prepping dessert, too? Simply place the dessert spoon horizontally above the dinner plate.

But what about glasses? Water and wine glasses are best placed in the upper right corner of the place setting. The water glass should be closest to the guest – unless it’s strictly a wine-only event! If a celebratory toast is expected, you’ll want to add a separate glass for champagne.

Finally, fold the napkin or use a sleek napkin ring, and place it on top of each dinner plate. You can even take the festivities up a notch by adding place cards above the dessert spoons. If you’re also offering your guests a nightcap of caffeine at the end of your dinner party, you should add a coffee cup and saucer to the upper right-hand side of each place setting.

Dinner party table settings with Nambé
Dinner party table settings with Nambé

Picking the right food for your dinner party

When thinking about what food to serve up at your dinner party, you firstly need to decide how much food you’ll have to prepare. Cheese and wine soirée? Simple. You just need to carefully select your cheese and wine pairings and decorate your cheeseboard to make it look as appetising as it tastes. Sunday roast? The meat is the biggest challenge here, as all the trimmings can be prepped early, cooked and set out on sharing platters and serveware bowls.

The easiest way to prep the most delicious meal is to decide on a theme and stick to it. That way, you don’t run the risk of having to cook several different meals for different guests. Maybe Mexican tapas? Or a one-pot wonder meal with a tasty side dish of rustic bread? Perhaps a steak and red wine night? Whatever you choose, it’s best to keep it sophisticated, elegant and classic. For bigger, more celebratory dinner parties, you could always push the boat out and bring in a professional to help out in the kitchen – leaving you free to pour the drinks, greet guests and focus on your hosting.

Accompanying your dinner party food with complementary drinks

Serving the right drinks at a dinner party is more important than you might think. They’re the first port of call when inviting guests through the front door, and they’re your best defense against impatient or judgemental guests. It’s much less likely that you’ll get criticised on your food if you keep the libations flowing. And in this case, less is definitely not more.

So, ahead of the dinner party, be sure to stock up on wine, liquor and cocktail mixers. After all, while guests are generally grateful and happy to accept any meal presented to them (out of chivalry and politeness), they’re likely to make more of a fuss if their favourite tipple is out of the question.

Deciding on your dinner party table décor

A few simple spruces make the world of difference when it comes to a formal dinner party. You may want to decorate your dinner table with fresh flowers, or set a subtle mood with fragranced candles or tealights. The secret to making candles classy? A chic candle holder.

When hosting a dinner party, it’s generally best to keep it traditional, classy and understated with dinner party table décor, as it’s a style that suits everyone’s taste. After all, you want your guests to leave full of affirmation and long-lasting good impressions. The best way to achieve that is by letting your tableware do all the schmoozing for you. With the right serveware, glassware and cutlery, you’ll be onto a winner before your first course is even served. However, if there is one unique spin you can put on your table, it’s a decorative centrepiece. From acacia wood or luxury glass bowls to illustrious vases, our collection of homeware promises to make your dinner party table setting a roaring success.

Still wondering how to host a dinner party? Our collection of tableware, serveware and kitchenware might just be the inspiration you need.

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