HOW TO HOST THE PERFECT DINNER PARTY


Wednesday July 1, 2020


ENTERTAINMENT & STYLE
by JOANNE MATSCHUCK

I’m one of those people who gets very excited at the prospect of making a new To Do list. In this instance, I’m tackling “How to throw the perfect party”; making it feel homey, the surroundings cozy, and with a certain sweetness. The difference between whether you’re hosting a casual gettogether or formal occasion lies in what essentials will be used in creating and planning the party. The layout, the shape of table, and the style used to enhance the experience depending on what type of theme I want to project. So with that, here are some of my tips and tricks for planning a grand dinner.

1. Guest List. This is the first thing that I consider during the preplanning stages of the event: what type of people or friend groups to invite. Is it going to be formal and fancy, or laid back as you would entertain your classmates or neighbors? The atmosphere can become tense or uncomfortable when one group of acquaintances don’t necessarily jive with another. Identify who you would want to invite.

2. Entertainment. While knowing who to invite is at the forefront on planning your evening, your table topics of discussion – whether it is political in nature or a church conversation – will set the tone for the soiree. Planning a fun evening with perhaps some games, singing and dancing (depending on your group of guests) could certainly liven up the place. Pick a fun few activities to make your evening a pleasant one.

3. Menu. Be mindful of food allergies like seafood, garlic, onion, peanuts, etc. as this can ruin the night if not taken into account. Will there be cocktails served? Finger foods that require a fork, toothpick, and/or napkin? Any bowls for soup or small plates for salad? Additional small plates for appetizer? Nowadays there are several ways to serve your soup or salad. There is an equal amount of way to prepare your dishes as well; ordering-out, potluck-style, or you as the host taking the time to prepare from scratch. Think of all of this ahead of time in order to prepare beforehand.

4. Ambiance. Fresh flowers offer a multicolored method to enhance the table setting, while candles (lit or battery-operated, weather & indoor/outdoor setting permitting) offer a softer, more intimate feel. Around the house, your bathroom will require some fragrance, and temperature-wise anticipate whether your guests will be hot or cold. You may need to prepare appliances for their comfort like air conditioning or and additional fan for when it’s warm, or a heater when the temperature is low. Additionally, jackets or shawls for outdoor dining are mindful and beneficial. Prepare music that is also appropriate for the occasion; classic or pop – depending on your type of guests – and plan ahead of time to prepare the playlist. This can now be facilitated through downloading from Spotify. If this is a birthday celebration, wedding anniversary, or graduation, you can add some staple decorations like a birthday sign, streamers, or something extra super special and fun.

5. Seating. Move your tables and chairs to different places around the house. As an example, you can also place an extra chair in the living room to provide more seating, or make extra cushions available for guests to make themselves more comfortable.

6. Seating arrangement. If this is formal setting you would usually assign their seats based on who sits with whom, or where in the room to locate them, in order to balance the Yin and Yan. If casual or more intimate, it can be free seating which leaves it up to them to just sit wherever they please.

7. Table Setting. Is the meal buffet-style or sit-down? Buffet-style you can use trays of various colors and textures on the table on which dishes can be presented. Cake stands of different heights and width also offer a striking eye piece, as do wood platters and cheese boards of different sizes. Books to lift the plates or trays can scale up the food you had prepared by adding a sophisticated flair. Food cards also allow guests to know what they are eating. Table runners range from plain to print, flowers can be added at either the center of a buffet table or every few feet depending on table length and amount of pieces. Drinks like wine, beer, and other cold beverages served elsewhere at a bar tucked in a corner can and should be set up in advance. Dressing up drinks by adding garnishes like rosemary sprigs, mint or basil leaves can highlight the taste and make it look more refined.

8. Lighting. You only ever make a first impression once, so lighting is very valuable. It should fit within the ambiance, accent special focal points, and enhance the beauty of the fixture from which it’s shone. Having a dimmer switch to shift moods is essential.

What all of these tips allow me to personally do is challenge myself to make each gathering unique. Moreover, I like using décor I already have around my home, and recycle it depending on the event by mixing in a new twist. I can transform my house into any elegant design, experimenting with every detail. Being flexible in your design ideas based on what you have gathered can be the difference between plain & simple to classic. I encourage you to highlight your versatility to make any old design elegant.



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