11 Easy Tips for Throwing the Ultimate Dinner Party

Throwing a dinner party is one of the hardest things you can do as a host. It’s up to you to make sure everything is completely organized from the get-go. Our list of eleven essentials will help you plan an exciting event to remember.

11 Easy Tips for Throwing the Ultimate Dinner Party

Having a Successful Dinner Party

From invites and guests to menu planning and wine, you need to ensure all the little details are taken care of. It also goes without saying that you need to ensure your guests have a great time.

Plus, you can throw a dinner party for just about any occasion. Birthdays, anniversaries, and wedding-centric events all lend themselves to evenings of celebration.

There’s a whole host of reasons why you may decide to host a dinner party, but how do you go about it and succeed? Let’s be honest. We have all been to a dinner party that didn’t go according to plan.

As a guest, you notice the little things that could have been done better, even if you had a great time. But how do you give your dinner party the wow factor? How do you ensure nothing goes wrong on your night?

Our tips will help you throw the ultimate dinner party. Whatever the occasion, you will undoubtedly be ready to perform. 

Outdoor Backyard Boho Party

11 Tips for Throwing the Ultimate Dinner Party

1. Select an occasion for your dinner party.

Although having an occasion isn’t necessarily a must — you could host a dinner party just because — you do need to decide the “why” behind your event.

Are you celebrating an event or a person? Or is the reason for gathering simply to get together for an evening of fun. Either way, specifying an occasion (or lack thereof) can help anchor your plans.

2. Formulate your guest list for the event.

The first thing you need to know is who is coming and how many people will be there. These two things will help you plan for every other detail for your dinner party.

It is also essential to know who is coming so you can accommodate vegetarians, lifestyle choices, and allergies. Knowing your guest list enables you to plan a menu and the evening’s proceedings in advance. The more you plan, the better prepared you are.

Prepping your guest list means that you’ll also be able to enjoy the evening without stressing over relationships or whether or not folks will get along.

Also, send out invitations and let people know as soon as possible about your event. You could send something formal or simply set up a group email or text message. How you decide to do, just make sure everyone has plenty of notice. 

Another great thing about an advanced guest list is that you can also determine your seating plan way ahead of time. You may have to invite guests like family or friends who perhaps don’t get along. If so, you can strategically position certain guests around your table, enabling a drama-free evening.

Backyard Fall Picnic

3. Plan your dinner party menu.

Once your guest list is set, the fun can (and should) begin with planning your menu. It’s an essential part of your preparation. Planning ahead will allow you to source the best ingredients, make things in advance, and even try out new recipes before your guests arrive.

Giving your menu a test run means you can relax a little knowing everything is on hand for the big night. Or you can always opt to have a catered meal so that you can truly have a stress-free evening. 

Not only should you curate a delectable menu, but also choose the drinks you want to serve. Ensure that any wine you select works well with any meat or protein that is on your menu.

You may even want to consider other spirits options or dessert wine to finish off the evening. It’s details like this that can enhance your evening.

As mentioned previously, take into consideration any lifestyle choices like veganism or vegetarianism. Doing so will also help you recognize any allergies or dietary restrictions you need to consider.

4. Have a menu focal point — or surprise — for the evening.

Give your event an extra edge by serving up something special. This might be a unique ingredient or aperitif-like caviar. Doing so will make your dinner party that little bit different from the norm. Consider offering your guest something unexpected to experience. It will certainly be a talking point.

Pouring Alcohol from a Crystal Decanter

5. Figure out where you’ll host your dinner party.

Once you have your guest list and potential numbers, another crucial thing to decide on is a location for your dinner party. Do you plan on doing it at home or somewhere else?

Of course, if it is a small party then being at home would be the obvious choice. However, you may prefer a grander location for a larger amount of guests.

Your occasion may also determine where you’re hosting. For example, an event for your dad may be best done at a park by the lake. A milestone birthday or anniversary could be held in a more formal place.

6. Decide on a theme for your event.

Of course, knowing the occasion for the dinner party — such as retirement or engagement — may help you come up with a theme. Your theme will impact your decor. Consider a color scheme or even have something a little different to coincide with your menu choices. The options are endless.

7. Choose the decor for your dinner.

From the tablescape and dinnerware to decorations and the invitations, your decor can build on your themeA decorated room can set the tone for the evening and add ambiance. So if it’s a celebration, make sure that’s evident in the decor. Pinterest is a great resource for decoration ideas!

Dinner Party Tablescape Farm Table

8. Take inventory of your dinnerware and flatware.

Not much is worse than finding out you don’t have enough dishes or silverware in the hour or two before your event. Yikes! Just make sure you consider this ahead of time in case you need to make any new purchases before the big day.

Additionally, think about the glassware you serve your drinks in. Many colorful and intricate glasses are available nowadays, or you could purchase mismatched ones from a vintage store.

How you serve your drinks and food is just as important as the food itself, so also consider your serving dishes. Often we eat with our eyes, and if something looks well presented, then it just tantalizes the taste buds even more.

9. Consider whether or not you’ll have favors.

It seems that there is a growing trend where a host will give a gift to their guests for attending their evening. It’s similar to receiving a wedding favor when attending the big day. Whether or not you have favors is up to you. If you do decide to have them, it’s a nice detail. 

You may also want to consider letting people take food away with them. Perhaps a piece of cake from dessert or even anything leftover. It’s an excellent way to not waste any food, especially if the food you served was super tasty.

Food on Dinner Table

10. Collect RSVPs well in advance.

It’s not always possible to get a reply back right away about somebody’s attendance. However, it’s important to know who will or will not be attending within ample time. This helps you plan your whole evening. It might be worth including a deadline response along with your invitation to the event.

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11. Relax and enjoy the time.

Having a good time at your own event is something many hosts forget to do. Planning way ahead of time presents you with the perfect opportunity to enjoy the evening’s festivities yourself. 

You will still need to play the host or hostess and mingle with your guests at the event. So, sit back and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work so that you can socialize and truly enjoy the ultimate dinner party you’ve created.

Toast at Dinner Party

Having a dinner party? Save it!

Throwing the Ultimate Dinner Party

Photos: Annie Spratt, Tabitha Turner, Julia Larson, Shayna Douglas, Brooke Lark, Flo Dahm, Askar Abayev


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