Your First Dinner Party (or Fiftieth!):
Planning the Details
When planning your first dinner party (or if you're an experienced host or hostess), just remember: there are as many kinds of dinner
parties as there are kinds of people. No, really! There are. Stiff and formal (Beef Wellington and Champagne potatoes), spicy and
confident (Indian Chicken Jalfrezi), fun and casual (Burger and Fries). See what I mean?
Some of the best dinner parties are casual ones. Long, cozy evenings spent with friends, good food, and great conversation. Planning this
sort of night for a first dinner party is fairly easy. You know who is coming, you know what they like, and you dont have to stress about
getting everything perfect. What's better?
Even for a super casual dinner party, when all your guests are well-known friends, it's still important to spend time thinking about your
guest list. Especially when doing your first dinner party planning, there are some easy-to-miss mistakes that can mess up an otherwise
perfect night of wine, food, and conversation. These dinner party planning tips should help you avoid some common pitfalls.
- Dont over-shoot. For a casual dinner party, easier is always better. Especially for your first dinner party, it's a good idea not
to pick an overly-ambitious menu. And always pick something that you've made before-- unless you're a particularly talented cook, debuting
a dish for company is a pretty risky proposition.
- Ask questions. Make sure you know what your guests like. Have several that hate fish? Make sure to know that ahead of time. Even
more important than picky guests are food-sensitive ones. If you're planning on making your famous Peanut Curry Chicken, make sure none of
your guests has, say, a peanut allergy. It'll be hard to live down sending a friend to the hospital with your cooking.
- Allow help. If a friend offers to bring a dish that goes well with your dinner party menu or theme
let them! Having one less thing
to worry about making or buying simply makes your first dinner party planning easier.
- Make requests. Even better than allowing friends to bring something
ask them to. One of the best requests to make is a wine.
You can request a particular variety, or tell the guest what course it's for, and let them bring what they like. As a bonus, it can also
act as a talking point between guests-- even encouraging lively conversation about whose wine is better!
If possible, get your guests to commit to their item ahead of time, so you can plan accordingly. Make sure to tell them that, if they
forget to bring it, they can forget about eating. :)
Dinner Party Planning Tips: Guest List Planning
To help keep track of your guests --what they like, what they can't have, etc.-- it's a good idea to have your notes about them all in one place.
This will help you not only to plan the dinner menu, but also decide what to buy with regards to wine and other items guests may bring along.
This handy guest list planner should definitely help with your dinner party planning.
Simply click the thumbnail to open the PDF file. File opens in a new page.
Go from Help with Your First Dinner Party to Dinner Party Planning Central for lots more tips, recipes, and ideas.
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