Dinner parties are often fun, entertaining and a great way to spend an evening for the guests.
For the hosts, however the entire process can be close to torture.
You host a dinner party because you want to expand your circle of friends, reconnect with existing ones. It’s a way of being social. However, the price you pay for it is that you can turn into a stress volcano. Tension builds up in the lead-up to the party, with a liability to go off on the night.
The more dinner parties you host, the more you get the process down, of course. By the time you’ve hosted about half a dozen, you’ve ironed out a lot of the kinks. But the only way you’re getting to that half-dozen mark is if you enjoy the first one enough to be ready to do it again. That can be hard, so it is well worth thinking about how to make your dinner party a success without being stressful.
Problem One: What Are You Going To Serve?
A dinner party is many things, two of which are right there in the name. It’s a party, and who doesn’t love parties? It’s also a dinner, and this is where a lot of the awkwardness comes in.
Say you have twelve guests – chances are that some will be vegetarians. More than likely, at least one will be on a gluten-free diet. And there will be various other dietary concerns to take account of. It’s essential to ask your guests about this well in advance, so you can buy and cook to those needs.
Show off your baking skills with a show-stopping dessert, but make sure everyone can eat it.
Problem Two: The Politics Of Friendship
If you are managing to host a dinner party with any more than about six people, and two of them don’t dislike one another, you’re doing well. It’s not that humans are inherently hateful, simply that personality clashes occur.
This does mean that picking the guests for your party has to be done with care. Not that you need to blacklist someone because another friend isn’t a fan of theirs, but you may need to invite a “buffer”. Someone who gets on with everyone and can keep things light may smooth the path of the evening considerably.
Problem Three: Making The Evening Flow
You can have made all the right choices food-wise and guest-wise, and the evening can still go unsteadily. It’s important to have a “hook” that keeps conversation going. Let the food be this for you.
It’s become popular to have food that you prepare at the table – fondue parties used to be a huge thing. In the present day, a good option might be a French raclette or to use a SteakStones hot stone set. This allows guests to cook their food, their way. Whether it’s steak, seafood or halloumi, there are plenty of options to cook on a sizzling surface.
Hosting a successful dinner party is about many things. Friends and even acquaintances will put up with food that isn’t great if the hosts are gracious and the evening is fun. So with some forward planning you can keep the stress down – and be your brilliant best as a host.