1. Consider your guest list
2. Make a detailed plan for your dinner party
3. Choose a well-balanced and achievable menu
- Choose a menu that is well balanced so the dishes go nicely together and, most importantly, suit your cooking ability
- If you’re unsure, ask your guests if they have any dietary requirements so there are no surprises on the day
- Never, ever cook a dish you haven’t tried at least once before
- Keep your menu seasonal and suited to the weather
- Work out if you’re capable of plating a dish for each guest or go with the easier option and serve platters-to-share at the table
- Prepare as much as you can in advance so that you’re relatively relaxed when guests arrive
- If you don’t usually serve dessert, a fruit platter and chocolate, or a board of cheeses and dried fruit, is easily prepared ahead
- For a special occasion, print or hand-write a simple menu
4. Set the scene
5. Set the table
6. Create a dedicated drinks area
7. Bring out some nice tableware - or borrow some!
8. Create ambiance with lighting
9. Set the playlist
10. Some dinner-party etiquette
- Make sure every guest is greeted and receives a drink of their choosing on arrival.
- Don’t force food or drink on your guests; their reasons for not partaking may be a secret they don’t want to share with the crowd.
- If someone offers to help in the kitchen or with clearing up and you need it, let them.
- Don’t apologise for the food unless you have real reason to – be proud of your efforts and own it!