Preparing for a dinner party, you want to make the best impression on your guests. Otherwise, it’ll be difficult to show your face again and you’ll never hear the end of it! Doing this on a budget raises the stakes even more. Adding a touch of elegance while not overspending is almost an artwork and something it takes time to learn. Accordingly, here are some tips on how to create a dinner party that pleases everyone.
Plan Your Menu in Advance
The menu can make or break the occasion. There is nothing worse than preparing a delicious Beef Wellington, only to discover one of your guests is coeliac or vegetarian. To avoid this issue, check with guests beforehand to find out if they have any dietary restrictions.
Once you have this information to hand, start planning your menu. Try and use seasonal ingredients, as these tend to be cheaper. Make the most of locally-sourced fresh veggies, meat, and fish. Keep your dishes relatively simple, so no expensive ingredients are required – which you may not have and therefore, need to buy.
If possible, prepare food in advance and freeze it. This works well with desserts. In fact, homemade ice cream always goes down a treat, especially if you serve it with hot chocolate brownies!
Choose Snacks and Starters That Are Indulgent, But Not Difficult to Prepare
The idea of a dinner party is not to get stuck in the kitchen all night. It becomes the bane of the host who is cooking up a storm. That takes the fun right out of it.
What you want to aim for are simple snacks and starters that look delicious but take very little time to prepare. That might be beef sliders, little smoked salmon crepes or dips that can be prepared without too much fuss but still look stylish.
Finally, you’re worried about your guests not enjoying certain dishes, then consider a buffet style where there’s enough choice to please everyone. It keeps it unassuming and avoids the food being costly.
The trick is picking individual recipes where they pack a punch even if the ingredients are basic.
Food Prep Done Right
Have the right tools for the job. Every chef needs high-quality knives as an absolute minimum.
When you’re using a cheap cutting board that’s made from plastic, it gets deformed easily and won’t allow for clean cuts. Creating a pretty cheese board or completing other preparations to add some class to the proceedings without the right tools is an uphill struggle. However, when you have the proper kitchen and dining equipment, it becomes more doable. Walnut wood is darker and richer; it’s used in high-quality kitchen tools like cutting boards and serving trays. They’ll like spark conversation about where you got them from when bringing food out on a serving tray too.
Serve Select Cocktails
While you don’t necessarily have to start serving Martinis as your guests arrive, it’s not a bad idea to learn how to make a few different cocktails. There are some cocktails that are very popular, break the ice, and get the party going. A Manhattan, a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, the Gimlet, and the Margarita are ones that quickly come to mind. Why not draw up a mini cocktail menu and get it printed on some classy, cream-colored parchment paper with real texture to it? Handing this out to guests to let them choose a cocktail from a list of drinks you can make shows you’ve put the planning into it. Alternatively, if no one is a cocktail drinker and they prefer beer, then there’s no need to dress it up. Get the six-packs in and redirect your focus elsewhere.
We’ll all so used to getting emails that receiving an invite through the mail is new again. While it’s a good idea to follow-up via email a few days after the card should have been received, make the extra effort of printed invites. Create a presentable invite to mail out. Use an online tool like Canva.com to spruce it up and see what the final version will look like. It’s not difficult to do and you don’t need to be a graphics designer to produce something up to your standards. If you don’t have a printer at home, then you can email or upload the digital file to a print shop or online printing site that can run off the copies on attractive paper and send them to you.
You don’t need crystal chandeliers and damask tablecloths to create an elegant setting for your dinner party. Dress up the table with a plain white tablecloth, add pretty napkins, fresh flowers, and light some candles. It’ll look perfect on the night.
Putting together an elegant party isn’t as hard as you think. Make a list of tasks, follow them step-by-step, and party day will be upon you soon enough.