In case you haven’t noticed, there’s never a wrong time to throw a dinner party. Thus, chaos has taken over the mass majority of the population on the roads and in the stores, and your dinner party is right around the bend. Whether it be your first time throwing a shindig during this time of year or you’re a veteran at party-throwing, there are basic dos and don’ts to abide by, and tricks of the trade that help your guests feel out the party’s vibe prior to arrival.
Here’s how to not only plan the best dinner party, but to make sure you can actually enjoy it, too.
DO: Have a detailed theme.
Not just a theme in event, as this would clearly be a holiday gathering. The kind of theme we’re talking about is a more detailed one. Do you want paper, plastic, or glass cups and plates?
Are you going to require formal attire, or casual? Setting a specific theme will help your party prep, and also helps set precedent for your guests. You know how it feels to lack specifics when attending a party, so make sure your guests don’t feel the same way!
Additionally, calling your gathering a housewarming or open house encourages a more casual vibe if you just want your friends and loved ones to show in sweaters and be cozy. Sometimes even the word ‘party’ can throw off people.
DO: Consider your space.
Yes, you can’t move walls around or change the architectural structure of your home, but you can move tables and chairs around in a manner that is welcoming.
What we’re looking for are spaces that invite guests to mingle with old friends and make new ones. You may even consider borrowing some folding tables from friends or neighbors to enable more counter space for hors d’oeuvres or cinnamon-spiced cocktails.
DO: Decide how to dole out responsibilities.
It’s important to decide early on whether you’re supplying all aspects of the food and alcohol realm, or if your guests are each bringing something. If you’re having a party where guests each bring an appetizer or specialty drink, you need to have the ample space for the placement of these dishes. Also consider back-up serving dishes should guests not bring them!
Don’t: Serve only liquor.
What could possibly be a don’t for throwing a holiday party? Surprisingly, that’s a double-edge sword of a question. Yes, you should have a variety of beverage options for your guests, but high quantities of liquor and liquor alone may not be your best choice of action. While the above photo may look like a Don’t, it’s definitely a Do!
You want to have ample amounts of options for your guests and you definitely don’t want to skimp out on the options, just have options. Hot apple cider or ice cold lemonade are great go-tos for those who aren’t into the alcohol train. A few bottles of white and red wine are a necessity, as well.
Don’t: Forget to consider dietary needs of guests.
Whether you agree or not, not everyone is able or willing to eat anything on the table. Have vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free options for guests that are unable to consume the rich and decadent spinach and artichoke dip you’ve won five awards for.
Don’t: Rush to clean throughout the night.
Yes, you’re the host and quality control is in your realm of responsibilities, but seeing the host frantically wandering around clearing plates and gathering trash sends a “get out of my house” vibe, and that’s probably not your intention.
Be mindful of tidiness, but don’t stress the dishes while guests are there. It’s a party, after all, and you should have fun, too!