10 Rules for Hosting a Dinner Party

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!

Dinner Tablescape

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.

Dinner Party Jungle Invitation
Dinner Party Name Card
Dinner Party Place Setting
Dinner Party Tablescape
Dinner Party Table

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.)

Dinner Party Grocery List
Cooking in the Kitchen
Dinner Party Menu Stationery

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.

Dinner Party Mingling
Carmelized Onion Crostini Appetizer
Cashew Dip Appetizer
Dinner Party Cooking

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.

Dinner Family Style
Dinner Party Conversation
Dinner Party Dessert
Dinner Party Eating

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)!

Dinner Party Cocktail Bar
Dinner Party Mixing Drink
Dinner Party Appetizers
Dinner Party Cocktails
Dinner Party Toast

Thank you so much for having us, Corin and Jeremy!

Photography | Gabrielle Touchette Photography
Florals | Stonehouse Creative
Stationery | Jessica Alcantara
Design and Styling | Feast & Festivities

5 Tips for Planning a Winter Wedding

Winter weddings in Manitoba are so romantic with many beautiful, warm and inviting venues to choose from. And, because they are unique, it's a great opportunity to splurge on a small budget as some of the best vendors offer discounts during this off season. Today I am sharing 5 tips for planning a winter wedding.

1. Send Save the Date cards well in advanceEspecially if it is around a main holiday. Let your guests know of your big day before they plan their out of town vacations or schedule get-togethers. Guests should receive their Save the Date 6 to 9 months in advance of your wedding day. Just make sure your stationery still sets the tone for a winter wedding.

2. Hold your ceremony and reception at one location. It's cold outside! Save your guests the trouble of chilly and slippery travels between venues and use the time between your ceremony and dinner for a cocktail hour. Your guests will appreciate staying warm and not having to find something to do between scheduled events.

A spacious foyer connects The Fort Garry Hotel Crystal and Concert Ballrooms on the 7th floor. These three spaces allow for an elegant flow from ceremony, to cocktail hour to reception. Image by  Sugar & Soul Photography .

A spacious foyer connects The Fort Garry Hotel Crystal and Concert Ballrooms on the 7th floor. These three spaces allow for an elegant flow from ceremony, to cocktail hour to reception. Image by Sugar & Soul Photography.

3. Serve a warm beverage. Consider offering a signature tea after dinner. Though your signature beverage doesn't necessarily need to be warm, such as tea or coffee. Red wine, whisky, spiced rum, and apple cider are all examples of rich beverages that put a fire in your belly.

Styling by Feast & Festivities, Image by  Sugar & Soul Photography

Styling by Feast & Festivities, Image by Sugar & Soul Photography

4. Oh the weather outside is frightful...embrace it! A Manitoba winter provides so many opportunities for great photos outside. Depending on the weather that day, you may be so lucky to get beautiful snowflakes falling, glistening fields of snow, or crisp foggy breath captured oh so perfectly in your wedding photos. It's also a great excuse to add some beautiful accessories to your attire, such as a scarf or mittens to match your colour palette.

5. Step outside the box for a colour palette. Winter doesn't mean white and you don't have to stick to deep or soft colour palettes. A red and pink colour theme or even so far as a neon winter wedding can be beautiful, and very unique.

We love winter weddings here at Feast & Festivities, and so do guests! Such a romantic and celebratory event is something to truly look forward to over the coldest, darkest season of the year. If you're thinking of choosing a winter wedding, give us a shout! We would love to help out.

Receive 10% off our Fullest Feast Planning and Design package for your winter wedding between December 2016 and February 2017!

Simply mention this blog post and book with us before February 29th, 2016.*

* Some restrictions may apply. Offer subject to change. Contact us for more details.