Hosting your first Dinner Party as a Couple
December 8, 2015
Place Setting featuring ‘Dressed and Mediterreano’ by Alessi, Candles and Candlesticks by Lene Bjerre Design and Stemware by Mario Cioni
Hosting your first dinner party is a major milestone as a newly married couple, it is also a terrific way to show off your new home, spend time with friends and meet new people. The key to a successful dinner party is planning. You can plan with these simple guidelines:-
Keep your guest list manageable: Stick to six to eight people, that’s a nice number for a dinner party. Not only is it less stressful to host a smaller group, but it’s more budget-friendly as well. Invite a mix of couples and single people and call each guest to officially invite them. Don’t email your invitations. It’s a lot nicer and more personal to call each person directly, and one or two weeks ahead of the time. Keep a list of alternates in case someone cancels.
Consider hosting on a weeknight or a Friday: While it’s tempting to choose a Saturday as you’ll have more time to shop, prepare, and clean your house, a weeknight dinner party (or even Friday) comes with lower expectations and therefore less pressure. Plus, you won’t eat up your entire weekend getting things ready. With some advance planning and outsourcing, a Wednesday or Thursday is totally manageable, plus it’ll be a fun break from your (and your guests’) weeknight routine.
Choose your menu: Setting up an elegant, appealing and mouth watering choice of buffet recipes can be a lot of work, but with the right choices, a little planning, and a touch of creativity, you can put together a buffet that your guests will rave over. Also keep in mind to ask if any of your guests have special dietary requirements and plan accordingly. Get two types of wine – one red and one white to complement your meal, along with other non- alcoholic beverages.
Set the scene:
- Decide on a broad theme or ‘feel’ and follow through in detail. Let it inform your use of colour, whether or not to add a bit of sparkle etc. Simplicity is key in choosing colours. A sure formula is to pick one key colour and a backdrop colour like white or black. If you must use a third colour, use sparingly as an accent and don’t forget silver/gold/sparkle are ‘colours’ too. Apart from the static décor, elements like the choice of lighting and entertainment help to set the mood. Large statement-piece-type candles work well in lanterns or on candlesticks with small pieces and votives in holders working well as accents. If you must use scented ones, make sure the scents are coordinated and not overpowering and reflect the mood/ theme you are trying to create.
- Music should be used as a backdrop: not a complete conversation stopper, blaring indiscriminately all the way through the evening. Sequence the music with tempo of the party- for example, when the party is in full swing the music could perhaps become more upbeat, but not necessarily deafening.
- Table setting: Balance is everything here and always avoid clutter. Think of the set table as a series of layers, coordinate colour/pattern per layer. Choice of elements should be well considered- for drama, contrast elements; for subtlety, complement the elements. Use the dinner plate as the starting point of ideas as the main course is the heart of the menu. Opt for plain stemware with ornate dinnerware unless going for the opulent look. Coordinate and avoid overcrowding. A nice personal touch would be to accommodate a left handed guest by placing their stemware to the left. Coordinate flatware.
With the best looking party set up it is important ensure that ancillary/flow spaces are looked after too. Place some flowers or light some scented candles in the hallway. Keep the bathroom clean and smelling fresh.
Don’t forget to enjoy your night, after all, that’s what dinner parties are about: good times!!! Last but not least don’t forget to give your guests a warm goodbye and a thank you for attending!