Entertaining Made Accessible: Tips for a Memorable Dinner Party

Dinner parties are more than just simple gatherings of people. They’re an opportunity to create a unique experience for your loved ones, old friends, and new acquaintances.

As the host, you can create a memorable ambiance with the choices you make around entertaining, from food, to conversation to décor choices.

Whether it is a special occasion or a casual get-together, hosting a dinner party requires thought and intention but does not need to be overwhelming or difficult to be wonderful.

Here are some ideas to help you host a dinner party that will leave a lasting impression:

Create a Guest List and Send Invites

As much as you may envision a grand, Gatsby-like event, remember that a large guest list isn’t necessary. In fact, planning a small, intimate dinner party with people close to you or those you want to get to know better can be an incomparably delightful experience. We are focused in this piece on smaller dinner parties where you can devote more thought to the details and avoid the burden of planning a large event, creating a personal and memorable evening.

Once you have your guest list, send out invitations. While printed or handwritten invitations are less typical than they used to be, they make a lovely statement in their scarcity. In today’s busy bustle, a direct email or text message works just as well, as does an invitation app like paperless post, evite or greenvelope.

Choose a Theme or Topic

While not at all required for a successful dinner party, as Priya Parker details in her wonderful book, The Art of Gathering, the pre-planning and pre-communicating part of any gathering can make the gathering itself a stand-out event for you and your guests. Here are a few things we’ve tried with success: let your guests know in advance that you plan to play an interactive game after dinner or ask a specific question during dinner. These are highly personal and subjective choices and there are no right or wrong choices. The most uncomfortable part will be reaching out to your guests before your gathering. We urge you to try it as the gatherings that start taking these chances are the ones that everyone remembers after the fact.

Themes can also be a very fun way to throw a dinner party. You can go for something elaborate, like the classic ‘80s or French cuisine. Integrating your food menu and decor with your theme ties things together nicely. We always lean towards using premium, intentional, well-made glassware, serveware, and cutlery for smaller gatherings.

Be Present

The most important part of any gathering is how you engage with your guests. Greet them at the door and welcome them into your home. This sounds easy but is often overlooked when you plan an overwhelming menu that requires you to be at the stove or you have not given yourself time to set the table before guests arrive. Be pragmatic in your planning so that whatever kind of event you choose to throw you can be present and with your guests when they arrive.

Add music in the background. You don’t need to make a playlist with so many channels at your fingertips today, but make sure whatever music you choose in the background suits your theme or group of guests. Nice touches include thinking about lighting, flowers, non-toxic candles with mild scents, and making sure the powder room has fresh towels and toilet paper. Don’t stress about the details, they are bonus items, but do make sure your guests will be comfortable in your home.

Take Charge and Don’t Forget the Little Details

Guests will look at their host for cues throughout the evening. Take the lead and plan ahead, so you know when it’s time for drinks, games, or dinner.

We’ll cover gift-giving etiquette in a future post; many guests will bring a bottle of wine or small gift and it can be extremely memorable to return the favor with something small and simple. A package of lovely cocktail napkins, a beautiful chocolate bar or unique glass jar with caper sea salt are all excellent gifts as small items your guests can try and use in their everyday lives. Another fun memento is Polaroid taken during the party or a small hand written thank you note.

Final Thoughts

A dinner party is one of the best ways to reconnect with those close to you or get to know people who are acquaintances. Bringing people together and enjoying delicious food ensures a memorable evening for all. Make the most of it by integrating thoughtful additions to your event.

Visit Âme Atendre and shop for high-quality, elegant dinnerware and serveware and learn more about intentional living.