Great food, drinks, and good conversation are the main ingredients of a wonderful dinner party. But what happens when you want to entertain your guests with a formal evening event?
There are several steps to consider if you want to plan for an elegant dining experience that your guests will remember.
Check out these tips that will make sure your night turns out perfect.
Create a Workable Timeline
It is way easier to organize an elegant dinner party when you make comprehensive plans. Give yourself enough time to coordinate each task. This will avoid any last-minute rush and give you adequate time to take care of any glitches that may occur along the way.
If you are outsourcing certain services such as catering, ensure that you make your booking early enough.
There's nothing as frustrating as looking for a service provider on short notice.
If there are tasks that you must do in person, such as picking up wine, make sure it is scheduled and completed within a specified timeframe.
Write down all these duties and attach a time frame to each. If you like to write things down, have everything in one notebook. If you're more tech-savvy, you can use an online planner.
Go for formal card invitations with a handwritten greeting which is always a great touch that will make your guests feel special. Remember to include an RSVP date that allows you and the guests to preempt scheduling conflicts.
Perfect Table Setting
Choose elegant flatware and table linens to show your guests that you've taken the time to create the right ambiance. Dress the dinner table in lavish fabric and add some cloth napkins with decorative twine. (For an elegant party you will want to stay away from paper.)
A fresh flower centerpiece adds beauty and sophistication to your dinner table. You can add votive candles to the centerpiece for some visual elegance. Crown off the whole look with customized name cards to direct each guest where to sit.
Good lighting is essential in setting the mood within a space. Candles are the perfect lighting accessories to give your dining set up a cozy and sophisticated look. Scatter some more votive candles around the dining area --the candles shouldn't be too tall because they may obstruct your guests' view.
It's a good idea to tone down the electrical lighting. If your lighting fixtures have mood settings, turn on the ambient mode or use a dimmer switch if available.
Soft music helps set the mood, too, and you can create a playlist that will complement the dinner setting. Set the right volume so that you can keep a conversation going but have background music.
Be Strategic About the Menu
Do you want to impress people with your stellar cooking skills? If so, come up with a menu that you're already accustomed to. Any surprises may not go down well. It's better to choose sophisticated recipes that are still relatively simple to cook.
If you are hosting a catered event, discuss the menu options and settle on something simple yet elegant. Don't be too adventurous, especially if you're not too familiar with your guests' palate.
Have a range of drinks available. You can't go wrong with wine but always have other liquor and soft drinks on deck to cater to different preferences.
This chart should offer an exhaustive guide if you're not too familiar with wine and food pairing.
When serving dinner, some appetizers and cocktails are always a good idea. Finger food gets the conversations going. Some elegant and straightforward appetizers include:
- Fig and Brie Crostini
- Air-Fryer Arancini
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Manchego
- Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta
- Caprese on a Stick
Hosting an elegant party is not only about the dining area. Ensure that your bathroom is freshened up because it will be open to guests. Stick to the formal standards by ensuring that you have linen or cloth towels on hand for visitors and add fancy soap, lotion, and other toiletries as well.
A fresh-scented candle or fragrance diffuser will go a long way in keeping the room inviting throughout the evening.
There are a few other tips for party hosts who want to ensure their guests are cared for.
- Confirm dietary requirements - Ask your visitors if they have any dietary concerns or preferences beforehand. You don't want to be the one serving allergenic food at your party.
- Alternative drinks - Sometimes party hosts are too preoccupied with serving wine that they forget about non-alcoholic beverages. Some guests may want non-alcoholic drink choices.
- Veg option - Ensure that the menu has vegetarian and vegan options for those who don't consume meat or animal products.
- Checking on guests - Always ask your guests if they are comfortable and if there is something they need. For instance, some visitors may be too shy to ask for a blanket even if they are freezing. Remember to read the room and put people at ease to not feel too inhibited to ask if they need something.
- Don't rely on gifts – Don’t expect guests to bring gifts of wine or food to the part.
- Bathroom direction - It is courteous to let the guests know where the bathroom is beforehand so they can freshen up at their leisure.
- Keep it down - An elegant dinner party is supposed to be calm and sophisticated. Avoid any scenario where the occasion turns into a loud, unruly gathering.
- Don't stress - Even if you feel pressured to have everything perfect, remember to relax. If you are openly anxious during your interactions, your friends will pick up on this and may get stressed too.
- Have fun - This elegant dinner party is a social event, so remember to enjoy and make memories with your guests. They won’t be enjoying themselves if you’re not!