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6 Rules to Remember For Your Next Dinner Party

In other words, how to be the "hostess with the mostess."

Photography by: Lennart Weibull

Dinner parties provide an opportunity to chat over wine, a delicious meal, and soft music while really catching up on the busy lives of your friends and family. So much goes into planning the perfect dinner party that it can be easy to forget that you, the host, are a part of the evening as well. Make your next dinner party a memorable hit for yourself and your guests by following these six rules for an enjoyable evening.


1. DO make sure to have a variety of options on your menu.

You want your friend's vegetarian friend to be able to eat more than salad. Be aware of any food allergies and plan your menu to reflect your guests' needs. However, don't feel obligated to make more than one menu to satisfy each individual guest. The important thing is to have several options so that no one goes hungry. Try the herbed spaghetti with tomatoes and white beans at your next dinner party. Pair the vegetarian dish with a stuffed pepper option for your guests who eat meat.


2. DON'T assume your guests will bring anything, even if they said they would.

While it would be great if guests remembered to bring the ice, you should make sure that you're already fully stocked on the essential items you'll need for the dinner party. Have enough wine and dessert on hand. If a guest brings more, then you'll just have an additional bottle of wine that you can serve for your guests tonight or save for your next dinner party.


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3. DO have all of your final preparations done before the first guest arrives.

If your party is set to start at 7:00 P.M., you should have everything ready an hour before that. Start preparing at least a week in advance for your menu, cooking and freezing ahead of time what you can, so that you can just heat your dishes in the oven on the morning of your planned dinner party. By getting everything prepared ahead of time, you can focus on the actual dinner party and not that you forgot to get more oregano.


4. DO smooth over any awkward moments.

Even if you'd made the best preparations to ensure that the dinner party would be perfect, something could still not go as planned. Maybe you forgot to take down an embarrassing family photo or the friendly conversation among your guests is suddenly taking a turn for the political (and it's getting ugly). As the host, it is your duty to step in and gracefully redirect the conversation and help your guests move on with the party.


5. DO make sure to sit down with your guests.

Yes, you're the host of the evening, but that doesn't mean that you aren't invited to your own dinner party! Pour a glass of wine and sit down with your friends. Join in the conversation and have as much fun as you had planned for your guests. Dinner parties can be a great opportunity to unwind and re-connect with your friends, so find time to just sit back and enjoy the evening.


6. DON'T forget music.

Music helps to set the atmosphere, so choose relaxing favorites that won't drown out your conversation. Choose a few songs that you know your guests will love, as well as a few of your own favorites, and create a playlist that celebrates the evening. If your dinner party has a theme, you can choose songs to represent your theme. A good playlist can also include instrumental or classical music that provides a beautiful auditory backdrop to conversation.


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