November is the official start to dinner party season.
Friends and loved ones will gather for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year feasts in just a matter of weeks. It’s never too early to start planning your holiday gathering. In fact, the earlier you start planning, the more likely it is that your event will go off without a hitch!
You should begin your planning by selecting a theme and complimentary menu. Pinterest is my go-to app for finding unique recipes and decorations (my imagination only extends so far!). Once you’ve determined the essentials, you can move on to the details. Take a moment and think about your favorite restaurant or one of the best dinner parties you’ve been to. What made it so special? How can you incorporate some of the same concepts to create a pleasant and enjoyable atmosphere at home?
You don’t have to invest in expensive upholstered seating or seek out live entertainment; hosting an above-average dinner party doesn’t have to be complicated. Just pay attention to these four details:
1. Dinnerware & Linens
A simple linen tablecloth can completely transform any worn out dinner table. Not to mention it also will boost the elegance of an event in an instant. Invest in a neutral, well-made tablecloth and matching linens. You’ll be able to use them for any and every occasion and they’ll last you for years!
Plastic and paper dinnerware has become such a no-brainer. No dishes, no problem, right? I know using actual plates, glassware, and utensils creates a lot of more cleanup for the host, but this simple factor is crucial to creating a pleasant dinner experience. Do any of the upscale restaurants you’ve been to use paper and plastic products? My guess is no. If you’re hosting 10+ guests you may want to consider Chinet or something similar but if you’re just hosting a handful of guests, take the plunge and use real dinnerware!
This factor can be so easily overlooked but it makes a huge difference in atmosphere. Dim the lights to create an intimate and cozy ambience or amp them up for a cheerful and vibrant feel. If overhead lighting is limited, place small lamps or candles in the center of the dinner table to create more lighting and double as décor.
Sometimes the combination of multiple food items cooking at once can create a rather odd or unpleasant smell. Burn a candle for a couple of hours before your event or even give the dining room a good spritz with air freshener just before guests are expected. The scent will be a pleasant and welcoming touch.
This is probably the most cost effective but important aspect of an event. Avoid all instances of awkward silence by finding a Christmas album for a few bucks at the store or rent one from the local library to play lightly in the background. Spotify and Pandora also offer instrumental and holiday streams that will add the perfect finishing touch to your dinner party.
Hosting a memorable dinner party does not require extensive hours of prep and planning. Simply pay attention to the details and everything will fall into place!