Delysia Chocolatier is pleased to have been the guest of honor at many dinner parties. But chocolate confections are just one part of putting together a dinner people will remember. After helping so many customers create memorable experiences with their friends and family, we thought we’d share a few of our top tips for hosting a dinner party.
9 Steps to Hosting a Dinner Party at Home
Step 1. Pick a Theme
What kind of dinner party do you want to have? The possibilities are only confined by your imagination. Having a theme will help tie everything together from the food to the invitations.
The theme also helps guests get a better idea of what to expect during the dinner party. For example, a luau automatically brings up visions of Hawaiian shirts and roast pig, whereas a French wine tasting party is more formal and reserved.
Step 2. Make the Guest List
Now that the theme is set, it’s time to decide who you want to invite to the dinner party. One of the most important decisions is whether it’s going to be kid-friendly. If not, you’ll need to let guests with children know so they have time to line up a babysitter.
Step 3. Send Out Invitations
People are so busy these days their calendars get full well in advance. If guests need to find a babysitter, they’ll need even more time to make arrangements.
It’s best to send invitations at least 2-4 weeks before the dinner party. If the event coincides with a holiday, you may need to send them out even sooner. Today there are three primary invitation options:
- Social media invites on Facebook, etc. – Good option if you’re just having a backyard BBQ or informal get together.
- Email invites with online tools like Evite – Great if you prefer not to waste paper or go through the hassle of mailing invites. You can also have fun with the design process and can easily manage your RSVPs.
- Traditional invitations sent through the mail – If you’re having a formal dinner party or want to make a real impression with your invites, this is the recommended option.
Ask whether anyone has food allergies, and don’t forget RSVPs! Having an accurate head count for a dinner party is crucial. Make it clear on the invitations when you need an RSVP and how guests can respond. If you use an email invitation there is often an option for guests to accept or decline the invite.
Step 4. Carve Out the Entertainment Spaces
Once you have a better idea of exactly how many guests you’ll have it’s time to establish the entertainment spaces. Most important is the dining area and dinner table. During the spring and summer months you have the option of eating al fresco, which could be a good idea if your dining room space is limited.
Note whether furniture needs to be removed, rearranged or added so there’s enough seating and space to walk around.
Step 5. Put Together the Menu
Now for our favorite part – the menu! A cardinal rule of dinner parties is to always have something for guests to nibble on right when they arrive. As far as the dinner is concerned, that will largely depend on your theme and how you want to serve up the plates.
As far as beverages are concerned, the most popular options are:
- Water (add cucumber or fruit for a little flavor)
Once your menu is finalized you can then create a supply list with everything you need from serving utensils to napkins. This insightful party article from Rachel Ray Magazine notes that for 15 guests you’ll need about 200 napkins.
Step 6. Decide If You Need to Hire Help
Now that all the essentials have been decided you’ll have a better idea of just how much work your dinner party will require. If you think it’s more than you can handle on your own, start contacting caterers and cleaning services ASAP.
Step 7. Start Cleaning Ahead of Time
Cleaning always seems to take much longer than expected. In order to avoid a lot of stress, begin the process a week or so ahead of time. Focus on the entry way and bathroom in addition to the entertainment areas. Start by clearing out any clutter and rearranging furniture so that there’s plenty of space to move around.
Step 8. Send Out a Dinner Party Reminder
Because people are so busy, it’s a good idea to send out a party reminder to guests that RSVP’d yes about a week before the event. This will give people enough time to let you know if they can no longer make it so you can make adjustments as needed.
Step 9. End the Night on a Sweet Note
Instead of party favors, today’s dinner parties are ending with a decadent dessert. At Delysia Chocolatier, we can help you make your dinner party an event to remember with artisanal hand molded chocolates and personalized pieces of chocolate.