A great dinner party requires a more than simply inviting guests and serving food. Here's 10 rules to follow for your next get together, along with some photos from a recent Industrial Jungle Home Dinner Party we had the pleasure of designing for Corin and Jeremy!
1 | Keep the guest list manageable
Consider the size of your dining table, and how much you are willing to spend on food, table settings, and decor. If you're new to hosting, start with inviting 2-4 guests.
2 | Make it special
Invest in creating a theme, such as a colour scheme, story, or element to incorporate throughout the decor, food, and drink. A fresh floral centrepiece and personal place card at each setting makes a big impact.
3 | Use recipes you are familiar with
Whether you make a kick-ass Beef Wellington or pizza, serve what you know, and save the experimenting for another time. Your guests will appreciate a tasty meal over something out of your league. (Note: Be mindful of dietary restrictions. We all have our reasons for eating the way we do: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. Support one another and offer variety.)
4 | Introduce guests to one another as they arrive
If you're hosting a large group and guests are not much familiar with one another, ask your closest friend or couple to join half an hour earlier to get the party started, and ease any nerves you may have before everyone arrives.
5 | Serve appetizers within 20 minutes of guests' arrival
Most come hungry. A general rule of thumb is to count on serving 2-3 appetizer bites per person.
6 | Serve family style
No need to serve each guest a plated meal. Guests make instant connections through passing dishes around the table. After all, food brings us together. Just make sure you have enough room on the dining table or a buffet near by to place the dishes on after they are passed around.
7 | Spark good conversation
My husband once shared with me a quote from Henry Thomas Buckle, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people". Although we must, at some point discuss each of these topics, I generally believe this thought to be true.
8 | Wait until everyone is finished eating before clearing the table
It's classic service etiquette and protects a shared dining experience between slow and fast eaters. And, if you really want follow classic etiquette, serve from the right and clear from the right.
9 | Accept help
If a guest offers (often insisting) to join in cleaning, take them up on it. They are most likely offering because they want to, and it's not a burden. It's an opportunity to spend time together (and move along to enjoying dessert sooner)!
10 | Be mindful of alcohol consumption
If a guest has had one too many, call for a cab on their behalf so everyone gets home safely. (Or do like Corin and Jeremy and invite your neighbors)!