You’re attending a dinner party. The host provided a superb meal and now he’s floating around with a charming smile on his face, replenishing everyone’s drinks, casually chatting with the various guests. Chances are you think, I want to throw a party too. How hard can it be? If he can do it, I can do it. Little do you know that to throw a successful party there are a few things to keep in mind.
For your meal and drinks, shop with time to spare. If you leave it to the last minute and you realize that you’ve forgotten something, you’re in a pickle. If you shop ahead of time and you see that you’ve forgotten lemons or olives, you can just go and pick some up.
Unless you’re an experienced cook, you might want to steer clear of complicated dishes such as cordon blue or duck a la orange. Cook something you know. It’s better to serve a simple meal that’s a success than something fancy that’s a flop.
Choose a dinner that you can prepare ahead of time and that requires only finishing touches before serving. If you choose a high maintenance meal, it will have you running to the kitchen every five minutes, which won’t be nice for you or your guests.
Accept help if you need it. Rather than getting frazzled over the meat that might burn, or the sauce that won’t thicken, if someone wants to lend a helping hand, don’t send them packing. Even though you’re the host, nobody expects you to fly solo.
If you expect a delay, prepare something for your guests to snack on while they wait for the meal. Pieces of bruschetta are a perfect choice. They’re tasty, present beautifully, and are not very filling.
Don’t forget the dessert. Whether you serve cake, ice cream, cheese or fruit, dessert is a staple of every good dinner party.
Set the table before your guests arrive. The perfect setting should include plates, cutlery, glasses, napkins, name cards, and a centrepiece. Candles are optional but make for a great atmosphere.
When serving drinks, cater to everyone’s taste. Not everyone likes beer or wine, so it’s best to stock a selection of both, along with non-alcoholic drinks. If you’re planning on serving champagne, look at the various champagne offers and familiarize yourself with the popular brands. If you don’t know what to choose, talk to someone who knows about good champagne.
Provide music for your guests. Everyone is more relaxed and in a good mood when music is playing. Selecting rock ‘n roll, heavy metal or rap might not be the best choice though. Rather go for something easy on the ear and don’t turn up the volume too loud.
While you may want to be a 10/10 party host, people won’t really care if you fall a little short. Nobody expects perfection. Whether your guests are family or friends, they’ve come to your party to be with you, not to be impressed.
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