Entertaining at home has become a lost art. We're too busy, or too distracted to even consider the prospect of having a dinner party nowadays, but we definitely should do so more often. An enjoyable evening with friends in the privacy of our homes is something we should be celebrating. Here are six secrets on how to give the dinner party the charm it once had:
Many of us are probably familiar with the old Japanese tea ceremony. This ritual is famous, not because of the tea, per se, but because of the elaborate process and preparation that revolve around it. Hosts would ensure that the backdrop was in perfect harmony with the event, to look and feel as if in a traditional Japanese woodblock print. Now, we're not saying that you should apply the same minute attention to detail, but a stylish dining room will create the perfect background for the party.
Modern-day dinner parties are not as formal or stuffy as they used to be. The general ambiance of your event should reflect that. Lighting plays an important role here. The brighter the light, the more formal and professional the occasion is, and vice versa. You wouldn't have dim lights during a board meeting, nor would you have fluorescent lighting at a nightclub. The way you light your environment should reflect the vibe and atmosphere that you wish to create.
Music plays another vital part in building and maintaining the atmosphere. If the conversation is not following as you would have hoped, some background tunes can make even the most uncomfortable silence somewhat less awkward. Select a playlist, put it on shuffle using Spotify or another tool, and enjoy. Start the party with at a comfortable volume and then progressively tone it down as more people arrive. If you do the opposite, you run the risk of people shouting at each other over the din.
The timing of the meal should also be carefully considered. You don't want people to feel pressured into eating as soon as they enter the door. Allow them to "make themselves feel at home," mingle with the other guests a little, have a glass of wine, pet the cat, and admire your excellent taste in music and stylish decor. Only then have them eat something. As a rule of thumb, about one hour after the first guests arrive should be about right to start serving.
Setting the Table
Knowing the order in which to place the forks, spoons, and knives is no longer a must. Place cards, on the other hand, will come in handy. Not only will they be something fun to see at a dinner party, but they will also spare people from that "who sits where" phase. It's also a good idea to use these cards and spread your chatty friends around so that everybody can be engaged in conversation around the table.
So many people are put off by the idea of having to clean their house that they never host a dinner party. However, this pre-party chore doesn’t need to be overly-complicated or time-consuming. Sweep the floors, dust at eye level and over the visible surfaces and you’re pretty much done. People won't notice any mess unless you say something like "Sorry for the mess," in which case they will actively look for it. The one place you should clean more thoroughly, however, is the bathroom. Peopl pay more attention to their surroundings when they are alone.
Hosting dinner parties is fun and entertaining. Don't overthink it, follow these steps here and you'll hit it out of the park.
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