Dinner parties are the perfect way to gather an intimate group of friends for an evening of frivolity and fun, or bring together acquaintances that you’d like to get to know better. Instead of scrambling to make the rounds and forgetting to talk to people before they leave, you’re able to have one-on-one conversations with people who matter to you. What’s better than that?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I’m not Martha Stewart, the goddess of hosting dinner parties and folding napkins; how am I supposed to pull this off?” That’s why we’ve compiled a list of #8 tips to help you put together a fabulous dinner party (with minimal stress).
Come up with a theme
We want you to say that in your Martha Stewart voice, and it should probably become your inner mantra. We’re not over-exaggerating how important a theme is to this event. The theme you choose will inform all of the choices you make, from decor to food to attire.
Create a Budget
We all wish we could throw parties with absolutely no thought for cost, but that’s just not the case for most of us. So you really need to set a budget first thing. Then you’ll know what you’re working with and can make informed choices.
We wrote a great blog post about creating a budget here. It’s got 5 great tips and an actual budget from one of our real clients. We know it’ll be useful to you, so check that out after you’re done with this post.
Create your guest list
You’ll need to decide who will attend your event. If you’re hosting an event for family and friends, try to keep the list small and rotate who gets invites (so no one feels left out or forgotten).
If you’re hosting a business event, try to keep your guest list under 15, that way you’re able to get to know everyone, you can make real connections with people, and you can still keep business in mind.
Figure out the food
Your chosen theme will help inform this choice, but you’ll still need to make sure you’re picking appropriate food for the party. What’s great about food is you can make this bit as formal or casual as you’d like. Just consider how food choices and eating arrangements will affect the guests and the rest of the event.
Tip: Remember, presentation matters.
Make menu choices a real experience for your guests
This helps your guest feel included and makes the event more personal (see tip number 7 for adding more personal touches). You don’t need to have an animated candelabra offering dancing dishes of food to your guests, but you should think about how to give your guests choices.
Select the decor
This is where the theme and budget will come in super handy. Brainstorm what kind of decor you can use for your chosen theme, and decide how much you can spend. The decor is going to set the mood and ambiance, so make sure to take the time to plan and gather what you need. This includes anything from tableware to floral arrangements to colors for linens and accents.
Take a look at this picture to see a gorgeous table we put together for an event.
Personalize the event
Make your guests feel special with personal touches. It’s simple to create place cards, menus, favors, and other items, and it lets your guests know that they matter to you and that you’re thinking about them as an individual.
There’s nothing worse than a room full of silent, awkward drinking at a dinner party. Wait, maybe there is something worse; small chit-chat that dies out quickly. We shudder to think about it.
If your guests don’t already know each other, introduce some ice-breaker activities and get them talking. For influencer events, photo booths are a great way to get people loosened up and getting to know others. You can also consider other interactive activities, like small dinner party games.
These 8 tips should help you get a jump start on your dinner party planning. Dinner parties can vary widely, depending on who you’re inviting, what your theme is, and what your purpose is. Consider your overall goals. Do you want to get to know your neighbors? Are you looking for a night of nostalgia with your friends from college? Are you hosting an influencer event?
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed at the idea of putting together an awesome dinner party, don’t worry. We’re happy to assist you with the planning and execution, so you can spend more time enjoying your flawless event. Just reach out and we’ll get in touch to chat about your upcoming event.