What is great about dinner parties is that they’re as casual or as complex as you wish you make it. A small touch can totally transform an entire experience; a new recipe provides a challenge and a new skill.
We do a monthly(ish) dinner club with only two basic rules:
- Host provides the meal of choice
- Guests provide the beverages
Four years later we’re still going strong. We take turns hosting and try to find a night when everyone can make it. There are currently four members but at one time we had six of us. We have different backgrounds and professions that help keep the conversation interesting and we’ve become closer because of it. I think, most importantly, is just the understanding of having fun and knowing I can always order take out 30 minutes if the cooking all goes wrong.
Dinner Party Tips and Inspiration
- Decorate the table! Use your imagination! This can range from cloth napkins and tablecloths, to flowers, candles, fresh flowers or other seasonal vegetables, wine bottles, vases, pitchers– be creative!
- Make a “fancy”, passable appetizer. Or a casual one. The idea here is just to have a single bite that’s appealing to the eye.
- Don’t over do it. You want to be able to enjoy the evening. Want to try a fancy dessert? Great, keep your first course simple and the entree something you’re familiar with.
- Let people serve themselves. It helps to set the pace of the night, let’s your guests feel comfortable with their portions or taking seconds.
- Find a theme but don’t be constrained by it. I’ve been on an ethnic kick lately (French, Greek, German, Spanish) and have some inspiration to do brunch or everything on kabobs. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t use Ranch dressing for the salad or serve chocolate ice cream after wontons.
- Sharing the menu is one of the most exciting parts! Plan the whole thing out. This will also help you stay organized from shopping through serving.
- If all else fails, you can always order takeout. Dinner party is about food but it’s also about getting together with friends and conversation. You can’t always achieve that when you go out but you can always have something delivered.
Want some ideas? This list will build as we continue to blog. Start your own dinner party group to share your inspirations and adventures.