8 Helpful Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party for the First Time

by Staff

It seems like hosting a dinner party is something that would be easy, but in reality, it’s not as simple as you might think. There are many things to consider before hosting your first dinner party, and the following tips will help make hosting a dinner easier than ever.

Our tips guarantee success for years to come. Keep reading to learn how to host the best dinners in town!

Choose Your Guests Thoughtfully

Starting small is a good idea for your first dinner party. After all, you do need to feed everyone. Also, if you’re not used to cooking for a large number of people, starting with four to six people is a wise idea.

Since this is your first dinner party, be sure to invite people you are already close to. Why? Well, if you burnt your best friend’s entree just a tad, they probably wouldn’t mind as much as your spouse’s boss, for example.

Also, try to keep your guest list to a common friend group. It might be tempting to invite all your friends to a dinner party together, but if the only thing that they have in common is you, it might simply feel more like a mixer.

Create an Affordable Yet Elegant Dinner Party Menu

Get creative by leveling up your tried and true recipes. For example, if you make a fantastic brisket, try out a brisket injection recipe to wow your guests.

You can also go for dishes that are elegant but are surprisingly easy to make. One of our favorite party dinner ideas is serving guests individual juicy roasted cornish game hens.

Another one of our favorite dinner group ideas is a self-serve taco bar! And our last important dinner party menu tip: Always ask if anyone has any dietary restrictions and keep them in mind when creating the menu for your party.

Prepare in Advance

Hosting a dinner and cooking for a group can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time! However, prepping in advance significantly cuts down the amount you’ll have to do on the day of your dinner party.

Go over your menu and see what you can prepare in advance. You can start by chopping your ingredients or whipping together your sauces and dressings. Many desserts can even be made the night before!

Prepping in advance is one of our most essential tips because this is YOUR dinner party, after all. How can you enjoy it if you’re stuck in the kitchen the entire time?

Make Sure You Have Plenty of Drinks Available

Dinner served without drinks? You wouldn’t dare! A great host always keeps their guests refreshed throughout the evening, but don’t break the bank on booze.

One of the first questions guests will ask you after being invited is, “What can I bring?” Make it easy on yourself and say, “alcohol.” Guests will bring exactly what they like, so you don’t have to worry about pleasing everyone. Also, make sure you have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options available.

Ambiance is Everything

What’s the difference between going over to someone’s house for dinner versus a dinner party? The answer is the ambiance. Set the mood for the night with some of our party dinner ideas:

  • Dim down your harsh lights and light some candles for a nice glow
  • Play some music in the background, so people feel comfortable talking as they eat
  • You can never go wrong with fresh flowers; a few stems in multiple vases is better than one large bouquet

Set a Simple Yet Beautiful Table

Setting your table doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. The tablescape doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it should be eye-catching. A classic white dinner cloth is a fantastic and inexpensive way to begin. You can add a decorative table runner for a pop of color.

Add in more color by opting for colorful plates and dinner napkins in complimentary colors. Set out all necessary utensils on either end of your dinner table before guests arrive so you will have less to worry about once they are seated.

Be sure to add flowers in a vase or spring greenery for extra color and beauty. Also, place all drinks on the table so guests can help themselves; it will save you from running back and forth between hosting duties and pouring drinks.

Large Crowd? Consider a Seating Arrangement!

If you’re serving a large crowd, consider having a seating arrangement. Seat your most friendly and talkative guests at the center of the table because they’re going to make even the most introverted guests feel included. As the host, seat yourself where you will have quick and easy access to your kitchen without disrupting everyone else.

Keep Guests Entertained

Set up an activity before the party starts. This could be Jenga, cards, or some board games like Scrabble or Monopoly! Guests will feel more welcome and entertained as they wait for people to arrive and the food to cook.

Start by serving a few appetizers in categories that are different than what you’ll serve later on during dinner so guests can mingle while eating them. Think of dishes such as chips and salsa, hummus with veggies (or pita bread), mini quiches, deviled eggs – anything easy to grab and eat is perfect!

If some of your guests don’t know each other, introduce your guests one at a time when it’s their turn: “This is my friend Alex!”

How to Survive Hosting a Dinner Party for the First Time: Our No-Fail Tips

If you’re hosting a dinner party, chances are you’ve been freaking out about what to do first. This article should have helped ease some of those worries and hopefully inspired some new ideas too.

We hope these tips were helpful, and we also invite you to check out more from our blog if there’s anything else on your mind related to cooking or entertaining at home!

Photo by Expect Best

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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